EXPEDITION NEWS, founded in 1994, is the monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online to media representatives, corporate sponsors, educators, research librarians, explorers, environmentalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. This forum on exploration covers projects that stimulate, motivate and educate.
March 2018 - Volume Twenty-Four, Number Three
Celebrating Our 24th Year!
Berua, one of the local guides you might meet along the Papua New Guinea trek. (Photo taken by Philipp Engelhorn in 2006)
Teammates Wanted for Papua New Guinea Trek
Author and television producer James Campbell is looking for six qualified backpackers to join him on a trek across the Papuan Peninsula of Papua New Guinea in June 2018. This will be Campbell's second trip on the trail.
In 2006, Campbell organized a small team of outside adventurers to retrace, for the first time, the 150-mile WWII route of a battalion of American soldiers. Military historians call the 42-day trek "one of the cruelest in military history." Navigating the same swamps, thick jungles, and 9,000-foot mountains, it took Campbell's team 21 days to cover the distance from a village called Gabagaba on the Peninsula's south coast to the village of Buna on the north coast.
This June, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Buna, which U.S. Army historians call the first major land victory of the Southwest Pacific, Campbell will repeat the trek. Inspired by Campbell's 2006 journey, the PNG government is now considering setting aside a portion of the territory along the trail as a national wilderness park to protect the remote Highland villages as well as a mountain ecosystem that includes birds of paradise, tree kangaroos, cassowaries, native possums, and rare butterflies and orchids.
Campbell's hope is that this repeat trek will provide the PNG government with the nudge it needs to establish the park.
Campbell's 2006 trek was unsupported. Since then, an Australian company, Getaway Trekking, has set up an operation on the trail. Getaway is committed to preserving and protecting both the ecosystem and the local cultures. Getaway's operating principle is that much of the money paid by future trekkers will go directly back into the villages for labor, food (from local gardens) and accommodation.
For Campbell's three-week, June 2018 trek, Getaway will provide all logistical support. Costs include all in-country accommodation, transport, food on the trail, internal flights, and a personal carrier. Participants will be responsible for getting to and from PNG.
For more information: www.ghostmountainboys.com. Interested trekkers can contact James Campbell at email@example.com, 608 333 1177.
Adventure Canada Partners with the Sedna Epic Expedition
Adventure Canada is partnering with the Sedna Epic Expedition, an international team of women - ocean explorers, scientists, artists, educators and scuba diving professionals -to scout, document, and record disappearing sea ice in the Arctic. The project will combine indigenous and scientific knowledge to document climate change while it empowers Inuit girls and young women in the Arctic.
Team Sedna will mount a snorkel and dive expedition aboard Adventure Canada's vessel, the Ocean Endeavour, from August 6-17, 2018, during the Arctic Safari expedition to Nunavut and western Greenland. Adventure Canada embraces Inuit culture and traditions, and has successfully operated in the Arctic for more than 30 years.
"Sedna's sea women, Inuit advisors, and young Inuit team members look forward to collaborating with Adventure Canada's resource team, and to deliver our signature, hands-on ocean outreach program in Nunavut's Inuit communities," said Susan R. Eaton, the Calgary-based founder and leader of the Sedna Epic Expedition.
Route of the Ocean Endeavour in August 2018.
The experiential ocean outreach program for Inuit youth and elders will take place in Qausuittuq (Resolute) and Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet) where Sedna's sea women will showcase sea critters in mobile aquariums and lead underwater robot-building workshops and snorkel safaris, bringing the ocean to eye level for Inuit communities and Adventure Canada travelers.
During the Arctic Safari expedition, Sedna's team will engage with passengers aboard the Ocean Endeavour, inviting them to participate in their citizen science ocean programs, including a ship-based marine mammal and seabird survey. The sea women will present lectures on topics ranging from climate change to maritime archaeology and underwater photography and videography.
For information about joining Sedna's team of women explorers during Adventure Canada's Arctic Safari, visit www.sednaepic.com or call Susan R. Eaton at 403 605 0159. Learn more about Adventure Canada at www.adventurecanada.com.
"When you explore, two things happen: you discover things and you have an adventure," says science educator, mechanical engineer, television host, and New York Times bestselling author, William Sanford "Bill" Nye, who closed the 2018 American Library Association conference in Denver last month. He shared the stage with co-author Gregory Mone, a novelist, science journalist, speaker, and children's book author.
Bill Nye (left) and Gregory Mone
As creator of the Emmy award-winning, syndicated television show Bill Nye the Science Guy, Nye first became a household name while introducing the millennial generation to science and engineering. He now appears in his much-anticipated return to the screen, in the Netflix series, Bill Nye Saves the World. Nye is on a mission to help foster a scientifically literate society.
Nicknamed the "Shiny Object Man," Nye seems to be interested in everything. "Three things everyone wants," he tells the librarians, "is clean water, electricity and the internet. Electricity is astonishing. It can process all this information and it can make toast."
Mone has covered artificial intelligence, robots, physics, and biology as a magazine writer. In Jack and the Geniuses, inspired by the 100 volumes of Tom Swift books first published in 1910, Nye and Mone take middle-grade readers on a scientific adventure that features real-world science and scientific facts along with action and a mystery that will leave kids guessing until the end, making the books ideal for STEM education.
"We want Jack and the Geniuses to push back on the anti-science movement," Nye says.
On the subject of alien life, Nye comments, "If we would find evidence of life on Mars or Europa (smallest of the four Galilean moons orbiting Jupiter), it would change the course of human history."
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"Space travel is the best thing we can do to extend the life of humanity. ... I will go if I can be assured that SpaceX would go on without me . . . I've said I want to die on Mars, just not on impact."
- Elon Musk, PayPal founder, Tesla CEO, and SpaceX CEO/CTO (Source: Vanity Fair, March 10, 2013
Adventure Scientists Help Adventurers Add Value
Wherever you travel, there are scientists desperate for data from around the world. You can provide an invaluable service - becoming the eyes and ears of researchers worldwide - by simply collecting data and shipping it back to a non-profit organization based in Bozeman, Montana, called Adventure Scientists.
Since its founding in 2011, Adventure Scientists has sent thousands of explorers and adventurers on missions to collect data from remote, difficult-to-access locations for its conservation partners. These partnerships have led to the discovery of more than three dozen new species, provided key information to guide climate change decision-making, and helped protect threatened wildlife habitat around the world.
Consider Expedition 196, an attempt to visit all the countries of the world. Without a purpose besides setting a Guinness World Record, it would have been merely an expensive stunt. But Cassandra De Pecol, 27, wanted to achieve more. She added legitimacy to her travel adventure by filling 33 separate liter-sized water sample bottles along her route and shipping them all back to Adventure Scientists for its study of the insidious proliferation of microplastics in the world's oceans.
Microplastics - or plastic particles smaller than five millimeters in size - pose a significant environmental risk when they enter waterways, according to the Adventure Scientists website. The sources of these often microscopic particles can be from washing nylon apparel, cosmetics, even toothpaste, and debris such as plastic bottles and bags.
Sadly, Adventure Scientists found evidence of microplastics in an average 74% of samples received worldwide - 89% for saltwater samples, 51% for freshwater. The data is part of one of the largest microplastics studies on earth.
"The numbers are absolutely shocking," Adventure Scientists founder and executive director Gregg Treinish tells the 2017 National Geographic Explorers Festival on June 16, 2017, in Washington, DC.
Treinish, 36, a wildlife biologist and backcountry guide who has hiked the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail and spent nearly two years hiking 7,800 miles along the Andes, wanted his journeys to make a difference, considering the enormous problems the world faces, from coral bleaching, illegal timber harvests, deforestation, and shark finning, to name a few issues. (See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpYsvlYH3aw#t=02h25m11s )
"It's important that this data is used to influence change," Treinish says.
Take roadkill for instance, a sad fact-of-life for millions of animals each year. According to Treinish, researchers need annual data about wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVC) across the U.S. In 2011-2012, there were 1.23 million deer-vehicle collisions in the U.S., costing more than $4 billion in vehicle damage, according to State Farm.
With the necessary data, Treinish says they can identify which species are most at risk, whether any "hot spots" exist that are extraordinarily perilous to animals, and where to place wildlife underpasses and overpasses that in some locations have reduced roadkill deaths 80%.
Treinish, named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2013, said he founded Adventure Scientists in 2011 to link adventurers in hard-to-reach places to scientists who needed data from those locations.
"I started biological and ecological expeditioning, using my outdoor skill sets to make a difference in the world. I was sure that given the proper tools and a similar skill set, there were others like me.
"I have been proven right thousands of times ever since. Explorers come to us to have an adventure with a purpose. We send them on missions worldwide."
In addition to the study of roadkill and microplastics, the organization has collected data about animal feces (scat) to study the antibiotic resistance of Enterococcus bacteria which exists within every animal on the planet, including humans; studied pikas in high alpine environments; researched how butterflies can be biodiversity indicators for ecosystem health; and is creating a genetic reference library of endangered trees along the U.S. West Coast.
Becoming an Adventure Scientist volunteer could possibly help explorers raise funds for their next project, and certainly provide much-needed data for researchers. It all starts by visiting their website and telling them where and when you plan to travel. There is no cost to participate. Adventure Scientists will even pay shipping costs for samples.
For more information: www.adventurescientists.org
Trip Report: Paddling the African Great Lakes
By Tamsin Venn, publisher, Atlantic Coastal Kayaker Magazine
In January, explorer Ross Exler, 31, set out on a quest to paddle the African Great Lakes. The goal was to paddle across the three largest: Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Victoria. Reportedly, the expedition would be the first unsupported, human powered, solo crossing of those lakes.
The total distance is about 1,000 miles of kayaking and 600 miles of biking from lake to lake through remote regions of Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Good news. On Feb. 20, 2018, he started down Lake Tanganyika, having completed Lake Malawi, dubbed the "Lake of the Stars" by David Livingstone where the hundreds of lanterns fishermen use to attract the lake's sardines, usipa, resembles stars in the sky.
He expects to complete the expedition sometime this month.
Exler, a resident of Manhasset, N.Y., notes, "Almost all of the people are dependent on the lake and the land around it for subsistence fishing and agriculture. Unfortunately, their practices are not sustainable. About half of the population is under 14, so the population is growing quickly and problems will just be exacerbated."
Exler is completely self supported with the use of a folding expedition kayak, designed by Mark Eckhart of Long Haul Folding Kayak in Cedaredge, Colo., and a folding bicycle and trailer. The company's goal is to provide a safe and reliable way to reach the most remote locations in the world.
He will work with The Nature Conservancy's Tuungane Project, on Lake Tanganyika, that addresses the extreme poverty that underpins the region's environmental degradation. TNC's efforts are introducing fisheries education and management, terrestrial conservation, healthcare, women's health services and education, agricultural training, and other efforts to increase the quality of life.
Exler plans to visit some of the project villages and team up on social media to try to get TNC's work and general knowledge of the African Great Lakes in front of a larger audience.
For more information:
Will Steger is on the move again.
There's No Stopping Will Steger
There's no stopping peripatetic explorer Will Steger of Ely, Minn. According to a story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (Mar. 1), Steger will take an unprecedented solo trek in Canadian Arctic Barren Lands, a place that, reportedly, no one has considered exploring at this time of year.
Starting March 21, the 73-year-old explorer will travel alone on a 1,000-mile, 70-day journey through the Barren Lands, a remote region in the Canadian Arctic with a nasty reputation for high wind. It will be Steger's longest solo expedition and, he said, it will push him in ways like never before, according to the story by Scott Stowell.
To his knowledge, this trip will be the first time anyone has attempted to cross the Barrens' rivers systems during breakup, that transitional weather period between winter and spring.
"Steger's adventure will begin from the Chipewyan Indian village of Black Lake in northwestern Saskatchewan just east of Lake Athabasca. He plans to reach his final destination at the Caribou Inuit community of Baker Lake in Nunavut near Hudson Bay in early June. It's likely Steger won't encounter other people in the 1,000 miles between the two villages that bookend the expedition. He'll be a minimum of three hours away from the nearest human by bush flight," writes Stowell.
Steger says, "I need these breaks to regenerate. I think every human being should have [them]. Very few people take time out because they're so busy they can't afford it."
Read the story here:
Mae Jemison appears in Boulder. (Photo by Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado)
"Space Isn't Just for Rocket Scientists and Billionaires"
More than 1,200 guests - including bright-eyed elementary schoolers who aspire to be astronauts, inspired mid-career female scientists and fellow Star Trek fans - filed into an auditorium on the University of Colorado Boulder campus last month for a sold-out address by former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison, the first woman of color to go into space.
Her takeaway message: The challenges of space exploration mirror the challenges faced in the world today, and we all have a part to play in its success.
"Space isn't just for rocket scientists and billionaires," Jemison said. "We have to figure out how to make it accessible."
Before flying on the Space Shuttle Endeavor in 1992, Jemison graduated from Stanford and Cornell universities, worked as a physician and served as a Peace Corps medical officer in West Africa. At 61, she is now principal of the 100 Year Starship, a U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) -funded project working to make human travel beyond the solar system a reality in the next century.
Future space exploration will be fundamentally different than the current model, she said, and will require all of the same elements - energy, food, medical care, even clothing - needed to sustain life on Earth. Achieving audacious goals in space demands the intelligence of a diverse array of contributors, not just a chosen few, she said.
She admitted she's afraid of heights and had to determine whether she would rather be afraid of heights or be an astronaut.
Read more here:
Travel With Purpose Book Seeks Stories of Voluntourism
EN editor Jeff Blumenfeld is seeking examples of everyday people who devote a portion of their vacation, business or family travel to volunteer services. The most appropriate case studies will be included in his new book titled, Travel With Purpose (Rowman & Littlefield), expected out this fall. If you or a friend or loved one has given back in some way during travel, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the stand out short documentaries presented during last month's Boulder International Film Festival is Denali's Raven, an intimate look at a female Alaskan bush pilot who was a former alpinist. Leighan Falley spent years as a ski guide and climber on the Alaskan range. But after becoming a mother, she quit guiding and took to the skies as a mountain pilot, bringing her daughter, named Skye, along for the ride. She works with Talkeetna Air Taxi.
"The transition from being an alpinist and going on expeditions and being a pilot is a good one because I could still go into the Alaskan range every single day and come home to my family every single night."
A beautiful film, view it here:
These two Nepalis had their eyesight restored thanks to Dooley Intermed's 2017 Gift of Sight Expedition.
Gorkha Gift of Sight Documentary
A team of leading ophthalmologists traveled last December to a remote region of Nepal to tend to the eye care needs of over 800 remote villagers in the Upper Gorkha region, near the epicenter of the massive earthquakes and aftershocks in 2015. Centered in the roadless town of Machhakola, the region has a population of over 600,000 and is currently without a dedicated eye care facility. Seventy-one sight-restoring surgeries were conducted. Expedition News was proud to be a part of the project.
The new 11-min. documentary was produced by Daniel Byers of Skyship Films. View it here:
ON THE HORIZON
Sailing Stories Return to The Explorers Club HQ, April 14, New York
On Apr. 14, 2018, The Explorers Club will host its annual Sailing Stories, a day focused on sailing-based exploration and conservation at its global headquarters in New York. Speakers include:
Pen Hadow, one of the world's leading explorers of the Arctic Ocean. He led two, 50-ft. yachts into the North Pole's international waters, the first non-icebreaking vessels in history to do so, to demonstrate the increasing accessibility and emerging threat to wildlife by the reduced sea-ice cover.
Richard Wilson, twice the oldest competitor in Vendée Globe, a single-handed (solo) non-stop yacht race around the world without assistance. Wilson will share how he uses sailing as an educational tool teaching and conveying positive values to children.
Sara Hastreiter, Volvo Ocean Race sailor, will discuss how sailing in this relentless 40,000 mile, nine month race around the planet, known as the Mt. Everest of sailing, inspired her monumental goal to sail all seven seas and climb the Seven Summits.
Carson Crain, skipper and team leader for the United States in the 2017 Red Bull Youth America's Cup, will discuss the competitive dynamics in this extreme international sailing competition for under 25-year-old sailors.
Lincoln Paine, a maritime historian and author, will discuss his award-winning book The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World (Vintage, 2015).
Tickets are $75 before Apr. 9. Purchase by emailing email@example.com or calling 212 628 8383.
Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the book from Skyhorse Publishing called: Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers.
Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.
Buy it here:
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