July 2003 – Volume Ten, Number Seven
EXPEDITION NEWS is the monthly review of
significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is
distributed online and by mail to media representatives, corporate sponsors,
educators, research librarians, explorers, environmentalists, and outdoor
enthusiasts. This forum on exploration covers projects that stimulate,
motivate and educate.
Here are highlights of our July issue. Want a free sample copy of our complete issue? Just e-mail us at email@example.com
HEYERDAHL'S GRANDSON TO PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
In 1937, newlyweds Thor and Liv Heyerdahl embarked on a life's dream: to move to a remote, unspoiled island and live off the land as our distant ancestors had. The couple moved to Fatu Hiva, a small atoll in the remote South Pacific, and thus began a lifelong quest to create a sustainable lifestyle that avoided anything unnatural.
More than 65 years later, Heyerdahl's grandson, Bjorn Heyerdahl of the U.K., is organizing an expedition to extend his grandfather's dream of spreading the lessons of sustainability to countries around the world.
The Midgard Expedition team will travel to 26 communities that are currently demonstrating sustainable habitation. The project will address many issues including humankind's ability to coexist with complete eco-systems, the ability to feed itself, and sustainable use of water, farming, hunting, fishing and gathering, without dominion or exploitation.
SEARCHING FOR SHACKLETON'S ENDURANCE
Two separate syndicates from the U.K. are proposing to search for Sir Ernest Shackleton's famous expedition ship Endurance on the floor of the Weddell Sea in January 2005.
According to the Antarctic Non-Government Activity News (ANAN), underwater expert and commercial explorer David Mearnes announced plans to film and photograph the Endurance and recover artifacts from the wreck for display in the U.K.
The second and newest group to enter the hunt for Endurance is led by adventurer Jock Wishart, although few details are available on Wishart's plans.
Counting Crows – Dr. William Miller, assistant professor of biology at Philadelphia's Chestnut Hill College, was thrilled. There in his Nikon microscope, magnified 20 times, was the little known tardigrade, an aquatic caterpillar-like invertebrate almost too small to see by the naked eye, but found lodged in tree lichen in the northern end of New York's Central Park.
Dressed in jeans, sneakers, a blue button-down over his t-shirt, the bearded Dr. Miller, known as Randy, was one of 369 volunteers (including 58 scientists and other experts) at the Explorers Club's BioBlitz, a two-day, 24-hour survey of all the living organisms lying within the 843 acres of Central Park. It was the largest such inventory of creatures in the Park's 150-year-old history (See EN, April 2003).
The June 27-28 event, sponsored in part by Microsoft's Tablet PC's, started with a press conference that identified Species No. 1 - a human named Adrian Benepe, who just so happened to be the parks commissioner.
At press time, over 850 species had been identified during an event that Club president Richard Wiese called the most highly visible Explorers Club event in recent memory. Jim Fowler talked about the BioBlitz on the NBC Today Show; USA Today, the New York Post, New York Times, and the Associated Press wrote about it; and at press time, it was scheduled to appear on CBS Sunday Morning on July 13.
What made the BioBlitz remarkable was the wide range of species found within a few short blocks of the tony Gucci, Ralph Lauren, and Vera Wang stores on Madison Avenue.
Dr. Miller, one of the world's dozen or so tardigrade experts, said the most exciting thing about these so-called "bears of the moss" is their ability to practice cryptobiosis - the reversible suspension of metabolism, which is akin to a state of suspended animation. "Let them dry out, then 10-15 years from now if you add water, in a few hours the animals will reconstitute and start walking around. Many scientists have studied them to try and find the solution to extending human life," said Dr. Miller as an associate nearby was counting the 24 different varieties of bees found in the park.
Parker Gambino, a biology teacher from Greenwich, Conn., had them all pinned in a specimen box so that 100 years from now, future scientists can determine the comparative environmental health of Central Park following their own BioBlitz.
"This is something people in any city can do," Sylvia A. Earle, Ph.D., tells USA Today (June 30). "Exploration doesn't have to be about going to the Amazon or the North Pole. We can find amazing things in our own backyard."
Hillary Honored by Life Magazine – Sir Edmund Hillary was honored by Life magazine for 50 years of achievement during a June 5 dinner in New York benefiting the American Himalayan Foundation (See EN, June 2003).
During his introduction, filmmaker David Breashears asked rhetorically, "We know how to measure the height of a mountain, but how do we measure a man like you?"
Prior to Hillary's 30-minute talk, Life magazine editor Robert Sullivan told of the day in 1982 when he visited Hillary in New Zealand. "I left my hotel, took a cab to his house, and went to pay the fare with a $5 New Zealand note. There on the bill was a photo of the man I was about to interview. I thought to myself, 'Geez. I'm going to interview Abraham Lincoln.'"
Hillary then proceeded to keep the audience of 250 in rapt attention as he recounted his life's story, referring to himself in an endearing, self-deprecating sort of way, "I'm just a rough old beekeeper, but a very fit beekeeper."
The Perfect Expedition for Couch Potatoes – The thought of an expedition seem too daunting? Well, armchair explorers take note: you can rent an expedition armchair, or more precisely a 95 lb. couch bike from Brent Curry, 30, of Waterloo, Ontario.
Last August, he and a Norwegian teammate traveled in the couch bike 300 miles from Miramichi, New Brunswick, to East Point, Prince Edward Island.
CLIMBING FOR DOLLARS
Shipton/Tilman Winners Announced – W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., inventor of Gore-Tex fabric, announced the recipients of the 2003 Shipton/Tilman Grant.
Now in its 13th year, the Shipton/Tilman Grant celebrates the contributions of the award's namesakes to the world of exploration. The grant awards a total of $30,000 to expeditions that embody the philosophies of Eric Shipton and Bill Tilman, world-class explorers who were huge advocates of small expeditions.
AAC Fellowship Fund Grants Announced – The AAC's Mountaineering Fellowship Fund Grants aid American climbers age 25 years and younger to gain experience in mountain areas that would otherwise be out of their reach.
Awarded twice annually (grant submission deadlines are April 1 and November 1), this round of Fellowship Fund grants totals $3,900 and supports six team's climbing objectives.
Expedition Public Relations – Alex Foley & Associates specializes in expedition PR. Alex Foley is honorary secretary of the Explorers Club British Chapter and has executed PR programs for many ventures including the 1996 Titanic Expedition, Ice Challenger across the Bering Strait, and David Hempleman-Adams' Atlantic balloon crossings and first solo and unsupported expedition to the Geomagnetic North Pole.
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