In this section, our student members and grant winners share information about their interests, current projects and experiences in the field.
05/13/14 - Les Kreisfeld
Leslie Kriesfeld of Monash University was awarded $2,500 from the Exploration Grant Fund in 2013, to help research for the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP). His work, Nemiana in the Ediacaran, focuses on understanding Pre-Cambrian life. When asked about the meaning of exploration, Les, shared from his individual experience.
“To me exploration is really a personal adventure of discovery, excitement, and involvement in finding or seeing things that are new to me. While I was recently at a paleontology conference in Brazil near the Bolivian border, in addition to my participation in the discovery of fossils not previously identified in Brazil, it was fascinating to observe the Brazilian Condors in flight, see the crocodiles that inhabit the swamps and rivers of the area, as well as study the huge range of indigenous species of flora and insects, such as the Paper Wasps which we don’t get in the southern States of Australia”
05/02/14 - Sara Cannon
Sara Cannon, a member of the Oceanic Society, was awarded $3,000 from the Youth Activity Fund to help conduct summer research during 2012 and 2013. Her report, Creating and Implimenting a Marine Resource Management Plan for the Ulithi Atoll in the Federated States of Micronesia, helped her write two educational booklets on the topic and contributed to her thesis requirements at the University of California Santa Cruz. As a two-time grant winner, we asked her about the future of exploration.
“In the future, I believe that exploration will take on a completely different meaning from its historical definition. The explorers of our past were traveling through uncharted places. To my generation, exploration will mean traveling through the same places physically, but discovering the many aspects of those places that were overlooked during their initial discovery. This requires a lot more knowledge, persistence, and vigilance. Instead of just describing uncharted territory, exploration will mean trying to describe the way this new territory functions and how it is different from that which we already know. I find this so incredibly exciting! We have so much work to do.”
02/11/14 - Natalia A. Rossi
Natalia, a Ph.D. student and Faculty Fellow with the Department of Ecology at Columbia University, recently reported on her 2013 Exploration Fund supported project, American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) in the waters of the Wildlife Refuge Monte Cabaniguán-Ojo de, Agua, Cuba.
“From June 29 to July 16 of 2013 I traveled to the Wildlife Refuge Monte Cabaniguán-Ojo de Agua in the Gulf of Guacanayabo, Eastern Cuba, to conduct a fieldwork to research and monitor the nesting activity of American crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus). With the overall goal of better understanding the reproductive ecology of American crocodiles in the area and its relationship with climate and environmental variables, with the participation of Dr. George Amato from the American Museum of Natural History and the collaboration of a Cuban research team, we: i) located, characterized and registered total number of crocodile nests and number of successful nests among four nesting sites; ii) marked, measured and weighted recently emerged hatchlings, sexing a subsample of 30 nests; iii) collected skin tissue samples of hatchlings and juveniles for further genetic analyses.”
12/13/12 - Jeffrey J. Marlow SM’07
As a geobiologist at the California Institute of Technology, I study the limits of microbial life on Earth and the possibility of life beyond our planet. Life is remarkably adaptable, able to deal with scorching temperatures, crushing pressures, desiccating droughts, and just about any other challenge thrown its way. In pursuit of these “extremophiles,” I have conducted field work in Morocco, Iceland, Spain, and at methane seeps at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Understanding the metabolic and molecular bases for these adaptations can lead to useful new products and reveal potentially habitable regions throughout the universe.
09/25/12 - Elizabeth J. Rosen SM’08
Exploration, at least for me, has always been less a matter of interest, desire, or even passion, than one of absolute necessity. In my junior year of high school, I realized that there must be other people in the world who felt the same way, maybe even enough to form an organization, so I typed “explorers club” into Google, just to see what would come up. Six months, one nerve-wracking application, and a couple of meetings later, I was officially a student member of the Northern California chapter.
08/09/12 - Timothy J. Holland SM’11
I wanted to join The Explorers Club because of the people in it. There have been members who have explored the moon to the deepest trench in the ocean. I was lucky enough to have two family friends that were already deeply involved in The Club and sponsored and guided me through the process. I want to be an astronaut.
07/11/12 - Kamil Chadirji-Martinez SM’10
For as long as I can remember the Arctic has intrigued me. Throughout the years I have read about the Arctic’s tales of exploration and gazed at its stunning pictures. In February 2008 I learned about the award winning organization Students on Ice, which takes high school students to the Arctic and Antarctic. For three years I became obsessed with going, and last summer I realized my dream by securing a full scholarship for the Arctic expedition. Capt. Norman Baker was also on that trip. After hiking a total of 25km through Auyuittuq Park to the Arctic Circle and back, Norman Baker said he considered us legible student members and would sponsor any one of us interested in joining the Explorer’s Club.
06/13/12 - Annie Bourbonnais SM’09
I am currently a Ph. D. student in Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. I joined the Explorers Club as a student member in fall 2009, after hearing about it from a friend. I joined the club because I wanted to broaden my horizons and meet other people that are passionate about travels and exploration.
04/13/12 - Andrew S. Flies SM’11
I was interested in joining the Explorers Club for several years primarily because of the expertise of club members and the network of support that the club can provide. My current research has taken me to a remote area of Kenya and I believe my future research career will involve a substantial amount of travel and exploration. Conducting scientific research in remote locations can be very challenging and I believe the knowledge and resource base available to Explorers Club members will make my research more efficient and allow me to be a more productive member of the conservation community.
02/09/12 - John Roma Skok SM’10
I have dreamed of exploration since my earliest nights staring up at the stars and dreaming of all the worlds to explore. I focused my early efforts in high school and college studying the next world to be explored, Mars. In addition to some independent research projects I worked with the Mars Exploration Rovers and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Missions to explore the Red Planet remotely.