Month: November 2013

ECWG elects Board members, Board names 2014 officers

ECWG elects Board members, Board names 2014 officers

Members of the ECWG elected the following directors of the Class of 2016 and to vacant seats for other classes at the ECWG’s December 7, 2013 annual dinner.

Those elected to the Board were:

The Class of 2016: Donald J. Gerson FE ’78, Joyce M. Johnson FN ’03, Cynthia J. “Cindy” Steuart MN ’13, Polly A. Penhale FN ’91, Arnella Trent MN ’10

The Class of 2015: Ingrid Kohlstadt FN ’00

The Class of 2014: Linda Perry FN ’13, Elizabeth D. “Betsy” Stewart MN ’05

At its December 9 meeting the Board elected  the following officers:

Chairman:   Robert C. “Craig” Cook MN ’01

Vice Chairman:  John C. “Jack” Williams FN ’03

Secretary:  Bill Runyon MN ’01

Treasurer:  Bruce Blanchard MN ’78

Program Director:  Frank R. Power MN ’93

Membership Director:  Robert “Bob” Tallent FN ’07

Update: Dec 2013 speaker’s major find in the news.

Update: Dec 2013 speaker’s major find in the news.

 ECWG speaker in 2013 gave dinner attendees a heads up on a big science story: New species homo naledi.
NOVA Dawn of Humanity
Courtesy NOVA
Courtesy NOVA
This NYT story has a video

Professor Lee Berger, an Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society gave the first public lecture on his latest findings about early hominins at the ECWG’s annual black tie dinner at the Cosmos Club on Saturday, Dec. 7. 2013.

Berger talked about the results of the recent Rising Star Expedition, which was rapidly assembled during October 2013 to recover ancient hominid fossils discovered deep in a South African cave. With remains from multiple individuals already identified, the find could add significantly to our understanding of human evolution, the scientists said. His report is expected to receive extensive news coverage when it is released.

Rising Star was the first open access, “live” palaeoanthropological expedition, followed by nearly 1 million people on the web. It has resulted in the discovery and recovery of one of the most extensive fossil hominin assemblages in history and promises to add significantly to our understanding of the origins of humankind, the researchers said.The past half-decade has witnessed perhaps the most remarkable period of discovery in the history of the search for human origins. A field known for evidence largely based upon fragments, has now seen the recovery of more complete remains including a number of partial skeletons added to the fossil record.

Berger is a Research Professor in Human Evolution and the Public Understanding of Science at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and Fellow of the Explorers Club. He is the recipient of the National Geographic Society’s first Prize for Research and Exploration and the Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award.  His work has brought him recognition as a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa and membership in the Academy of Sciences of South Africa His explorations into human origins on the African continent, Asia and Micronesia for the past two and a half decades have resulted in many new discoveries, including the most complete early hominin fossils ever discovered that belong to a new species of early human ancestor –Australopithecus sediba.


Private space travel topic of November talk

Private space travel topic of November talk

Brienna Henwood, who has trained trained hundreds of future commercial astronauts for space flight spoke on “Getting ready for private commercial space travel” at the ECWG’s Saturday, Nov. 23 Cosmos Club dinner.

The dinner was a joint event with the Circumnavigators Club.

Brienna Henwood

Henwood is Director of Space Training and Research for The National AeroSpace Training and Research Center (NASTAR) in Southampton, Pa.

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved NASTAR, which is a world leader in the design and delivery of civilian spaceflight training. Henwood will discuss what has been learned about how to safely prepare members of the public for commercial spaceflights.

Those NASTAR has trained include passengers for Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo, and Space Expedition Corporation’s XCor Lynx.

Henwood is a leading industry spokeswoman, who has been featured at events such as the National Suborbital Researcher Conference, International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight, and Sea Space Symposium.

She has a multi-cultural background with family located on four continents, and is fluent in French and English and is currently studying Italian and Spanish. Henwood has a degree in Marine Biology from the University of California Santa Cruz.

Emergence of commercial human spaceflight enterprises introduces a host of new tourism, research, and educational opportunities. Ways to inform, protect, and train future space travelers for their personal and professional mission objectives in extreme environments are critical.

National AeroSpace Training and Research Center Web site

Forthcoming ECWG Events:

December 7, 2013: ECWG Annual Meeting and Black Tie Dinner meeting at the Cosmos Club with the Antarctican Society and the Society of Woman Geographers.

January 18, 2013: Dinner meeting at the Cosmos Club

February 22, 2014: Dinner meeting at the Cosmos Club

April 12, 2014: Dinner meeting at the Cosmos Club

May 17, 2014: Dinner meeting at the Cosmos Club

ECWG hosts Lowell Thomas Dinner weekend

ECWG hosts Lowell Thomas Dinner weekend

The Explorers Club Washington Group hosted The Explorers Club 2013 Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner and related events on Oct. 25, 26, and 27, 2013.

It “was the most widely attended LTAD. Ever. With nearly 300 guests from across the U.S., breaking the last record by almost 80 people,” says Kristin Larson, FN ’02, who was a co-chair of the event along with Jay Kaplan, MN ’01, and Bill Runyon, MN ’01.

The Portuguese Ambassador's residence

The weekend began Friday evening, October 25th, with an elegant VIP dinner at the beautiful residence of the Portuguese Ambassador in Washington’s Kalorama neighborhood. The dinner featured Portuguese cuisine and carefully selected wines. An after-dinner talk focused on the history of exploration, including Portugal’s key role in that history. The evening concluded with a tasting of some of Portugal’s finest wines under the guidance a renowned wine expert from Portugal.

The Willard Hotel ballroom

The Saturday evening black tie dinner, at which the awards were presented, was at the historic Willard Hotel in Washington. The evening began with a reception that included a silent auction. Many attendees had their photos taken with a live cheetah courtesy of the Cheetah Conservation Fund. The reception and dinner included a display of the wild life sculptures of ECWG member Bart Walter, FN ’08. The dinner concluded with a live auction.

On Saturday morning, each recipient of the 2013 Lowell Thomas Award told the stories of his or her award winning explorations at a symposium.

Other events included:

  • An opportunity to visit the National Geographic 125th Anniversary Exhibit: A New Age of Exploration,
  • A private guided tour of the historic Cosmos club  and brunch in the John Wesley Powell Room.
  • Tours of the Cheetah Facility at the National Zoo and at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
EC honors Marty Talbot with Lowell Thomas Award

EC honors Marty Talbot with Lowell Thomas Award

ECWG member Martha Hayne “Marty” Talbot, FN ’04 was among those The Explorers Club honored at the annual Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner at the Willard Hotel in Washington on Saturday, Oct. 26.

Marty Talbot

She was recognized as a pioneering conservationist for her 56-year dedication to ecological research in more than 60 countries on four continents.

Others  honored at the dinner were:

Neurophysiologist S. Allen Counter, FN ’89…for his research leading to the discovery of African-descended people living in the rainforest of Suriname and the Andean mountains, and for his work to ensure proper recognition of African-American Matthew Henson’s contributions to Arctic exploration.

Kara tribal member Lale Labuko and world-renowned photographer John Rowe. for their establishment of Omo Child, a foundation that rescues and cares for children located in the Omo River Valley region of Southwest Ethiopia.

Marine ecologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala for his work to protect the last pristine marine ecosystems worldwide and to develop new business models for marine conservation.

Visionary businessman, media mogul, and conservationist Ted Turner for his contributions to creating an optimal future for us all, through philanthropic initiatives to produce a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world.