Month: December 2015

DVDs of past ECWG speaker presentations are available

DVDs of past ECWG speaker presentations are available

The ECWG has been making video recordings of speakers at our Cosmos Club dinners since October 1987. DVDs of these videos are available for sale. They may be ordered from Donald Gerson FE 78 at

A list of the DVDs is available on the ECWG Web site at:


ECWG members organizing 2017 research trip to Nikumaroro.

ECWG members organizing 2017 research trip to Nikumaroro.

ECWG member Tom King FN’02 and colleagues including ECWG Vice-Chair Lonnie Schorer MN’98 and Andrew McKenna of the Rocky Mountain Chapter MN ’07 are organizing a research trip to Nikumaroro in the Phoenix Islands of Kiribati for the summer of 2017.

The research, to be carried out under the supervision of 10 to 15 experienced members of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) and other experts will be combined and coordinated with a tour of the island sponsored by Betchart Expeditions of Cupertino, California. Although the tour is firmly scheduled, King and a committee are raising funds to help cover the costs of participating specialists.

Nikumaroro, now part of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), is where TIGHAR hypothesizes that aviation pioneers Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan landed and died after their famous disappearance in 1937. In research to date, TIGHAR has found substantial evidence supporting the hypothesis, but plenty of conflicting data as well. Building on the results of a successful 2015 visit – the first-ever tourist cruise to the island, with a modest research agenda – the Betchart party plans to spend eight days on the island, investigating several specific locations on land and on the submerged coral reef slope. At the same time, the visit will give passengers the opportunity to get to know the remote, uninhabited island, famous not only for its possible Earhart connections but also for its giant coconut crabs (Birgus latro), abundant bird life, and flourishing though endangered coral reef.

While the research may uncover definitive evidence of Earhart’s presence on Nikumaroro, King does not rely on doing so. “I don’t believe that seeking ‘smoking guns’ is usually a good way to do scientific or historical research,” he says. The 2017 work will be focused on close examination of the archaeological site that may be where Earhart died, excavation of a newly discovered rock cairn that might mark Fred Noonan’s grave, and exploration of the deep reef slope using remotely operated vehicles supplied by Open ROV of Berkeley, California ( for possible fragments of Earhart’s Lockheed Electra.

For further information on the research and fundraising, contact Dr. King at

For further information on the tour, contact Betchart Expeditions at

For background:

PIPA and Nikumaroro:


Readings on TIGHAR’s Nikumaroro Hypothesis: Tom King’s Amelia Earhart Archaeology blog at, Tuesday November 10 2015.



Recent ECWG member activities: L. Berger, R. Potts and M. Manyak

Recent ECWG member activities: L. Berger, R. Potts and M. Manyak

Log items, thanks to Michael Manyak, Exporers Club, Washington Group


  • Lee Berger PhD FI’13 announced the discovery in South Africa of a new early human-like species Homo naledi. The treasure trove of fossils from at least 15 skeletons around 2 million years old is the cover story for the October 2015 National Geographic Magazine and will be the subject of a 60 Minutes This exciting discovery and collaboration with many international scientists appeared as a feature story around the world including the front page of the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.
  • Rick Potts MED’95 was featured in the Smithsonian Magazine elaborating on the evolution of lighter pigmented skin as man moved away from Africa and farther from the equator. Dr. Potts also was quoted in the Wall Street Journal regarding Dr. Berger’s new discoveries.
  • Michael Manyak MED’92 conducted the most highly attended course at the National Order of the Arrow national conference with over 15,000 Boy Scouts. The enrollment response to How To Become An Explorer was expanded to three separate days at the largest venue on Michigan State University campus where over 1200 were exposed to exploration and learned about The Explorers Club. Dr. Manyak also was master of ceremonies for an event at TEC headquarters about funding exploration for Eagle Scouts which featured long time National Geographic television journalist Boyd Matson MN ’03 and reality show host Creek Stewart from Fat Guys In The Woods. Dr. Manyak was the keynote speaker and shared his expedition medicine and exploration experiences for the Bluewater Yacht national sales convention in St. Michael’s, MD, and for the Florida Airports Council national meeting in Boca Raton, FL, where he joined airship expert Ron Hochstetler FN’94. Dr. Manyak’s book Lizard Bites and Street Riots was featured at signings at both events. In addition, Mike spent a week with Dr. Berger at the South African dig sites of his spectacular findings.
ECWG Dec. 5th dinner speaker’s new book published.

ECWG Dec. 5th dinner speaker’s new book published.

This late note from our speaker for the Dec. 5,2015 dinner meeting, Chris Palmer:

“I’m excited to announce that my new book will be published this week by Rowman & Littlefield.”

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 9.08.27 AMIt’s called Now What, Grad? Your Path To Success After College, and it’s about what students (and the rest of us) need to do to thrive in the real world, including how to find a job, how to manage time effectively, how to network, and dozens of other life skills that are the keys to success and fulfillment both professionally and personally.
I warmly invite you to the book launch party on Tuesday, December 15 from 6:30 to 8 pm on the American University Main Campus, McKinley Building Media Innovation Laboratory, Room 100.  (Directions below)
If you can’t make it to the book launch on December 15, but are interested in the book either for yourself or as a gift for someone else, here is the link to the book on And here is the video book trailer.
Chris Palmer short clip

Chris Palmer, American University
Chris Palmer, American University
 All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to fund scholarships for AU students.
I hope to see you at the event on December 15, where you can enjoy wine, beer, and hors d’oeuvres. I’ll happily sign books for anyone. To RSVP, please click on this link. Thanks.
For a preview of the book, please check out this 10-part companion video series:  
Best, Chris