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ECWG Dinner: ECWG Supports Student Science Dinner

September 14 @ 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Explorers Club Members, Associates/Friends, Members’ Guests and Non-Members’ Guest List You are cordially invited to the September 2019 ECWG dinner meeting at the Cosmos Club, w/ after-dinner presentations by two former ECWG grant recipients.

About the Presentation

ECWG encourages scientific research and exploration. A grant fund is used to assist students with their graduate studies. Two of our former ECWG grant recipients, Brandon Semel and Dr. Laurence Dumouchel, will tell us about their fieldwork and findings. A selection of other grantees is featured on posters that will be on show at the Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner on Saturday evening of the Columbus Day weekend at the Mayflower Hotel.

With a view to ensuring that conservation planning is effective in securing long-term species viability, primatologist Brandon Semel addresses gaps in understanding how primates, specifically the golden-crowned sifakas, respond to climate change.

Dr. Laurence Dumouchel, from the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology, focuses on the environmental conditions in which our ancestors evolved. She works with East African animal fossils with the goal of providing insights into preferred paleohabitats of Australopithecus anamensis.

This program initiates the ECWG 2019 Fall Calendar for our Dinner Programs at the Cosmos Club. The Fall schedule consists of the Lowell Thomas Awards weekend featuring an Embassy dinner, awardee presentations, excursions and the annual Black-Tie Gala.

SAVE THE DATE: Lowell Thomas Awards weekend in Washington, DC, 11-13 October 2019
Our Annual Black-Tie Gala will be on 7 December 2019 with speaker Ellen Stofan, Planetary Geologist and Director of the National Air and Space Museum.

About our speakers

Dr. Laurence Dumouchel

Presentation: What the world looked like when we started walking upright: the environments of the earliest Australopithecus

Upright walking is a hallmark of human evolution and appeared in our lineage much earlier than other traits typically associated with hominins, such as tool use and expanded brain size. Australopithecus anamensis, possibly the earliest fully bipedal hominin species, lived in eastern Africa around 4 million years ago. Compared to other hominin species, the environmental conditions in which they lived are poorly known. This presentation will focus on the analysis of fossil antelopes found at 4 million-year-old sites in Kenya and Ethiopia as well as the many ways in which studying these fossils can tell us about past environments and their impact on the evolution of our lineage.

About Laurence

Laurence’s research focuses on reconstructing the environmental conditions in which our ancestors evolved. She specializes in the study of eastern African animal fossils found in the environments of early hominins. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Indiana University, Bloomington where she teaches human evolution and paleoecology. She obtained a Ph.D. in Human Paleobiology in 2018 at The George Washington University and an M.Sc. in Biological Anthropology from the University of Montreal in Canada. She is passionate about science outreach and promoting STEM education in girls.

Brandon Semel

Presentation: Predicting population response of critically endangered lemurs to global change in northern Madagascar

Lemurs are Earth’s most endangered mammals and are found only on the island of Madagascar. Habitat loss and hunting pose the greatest proximate threats to their survival. Climate change adds an extra, more insidious threat to species persistence. Golden-crowned sifakas inhabit a unique biogeographical transition zone in northern Madagascar that includes dry deciduous and humid rainforest, making them an excellent case study for exploring how lemur populations might respond to these combined threats. This presentation will describe ongoing lemur research and conservation efforts, challenges faced on the ground, and some personal anecdotes from the field.

About Brandon

Brandon has spent the last decade conducting research and leading student groups (National Geographic, Operation Wallacea, study abroad courses) across Madagascar. His research has largely focused on the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance (land cover and climate change) on species abundance and behavior. Currently, he is a PhD candidate in Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech and has obtained degrees in environmental science and evolutionary anthropology (BS) from Duke University and in anthropology (MA) from Northern Illinois University. In the US he has been actively engaged in prairie restoration efforts and prescribed and wildfire management.


  • Vichyssoise, Purple Potato Crisps, Mustard Seeds, Arugula
  • Smoked Duck Breast, Caramelized Celery Root, Early Fall Baby Vegetables, Orange Reduction
  • Apricot Tart, Cinnamon Chantilly

Buy Ticket Online

Coming soon

Buy Using a Check

Please include the following information:

  • Number of seats Reserved ($55 each)
  • Guest names(s)
  • Number of vegetarian meals (if any) desired
  • Organization Affiliation if other than ECWG

Mail with check to :

Jason Chang
1340 Fairmont St. NW, Apt. 1
Washington, DC 20009
Mobile & text: 505-241-9652

You can pay at the door or mail a check–but you must RSVP to Jason no later than Close of Business Day Tuesday before the dinner. No changes or cancellations accepted after Tuesday COB, 10 September 2019


September 14
6:00 pm - 9:30 pm


Jason Chang


The Cosmos Club
2121 Massachusetts Ave NW,
Washington DC, 20008 United States
+ Google Map
(202) 387-7783