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Since 1914, The Explorers Club has recognized the world’s greatest explorers with exploration’s highest honors.
Greeley, Amundsen, Nansen – Piccard, Armstrong, Heyerdahl – Goodall, Leakey, Hillary – Roosevelt, Sullivan, Walsh – the history of this Club is written in the legacy of the giants whom we celebrate.
We are proud to announce that, for the first time in the history of The Explorers Club, all five of our major Annual Awards have been won or shared by women.
Join us as we write this newest class of awardees into the history of human exploration, and honor them at our 119th Annual Dinner – April 22, 2023 in New York City.
Nicknamed the “real-life Lorax” by National Geographic and “Einstein of the treetops” by Wall Street Journal, Meg Lowman aka “Canopymeg” pioneered the science and exploration of the 8th continent, aka forest canopies. For over 45 years, she designed the toolkit for arbornauts: slingshots, ropes, hot-air balloons, walkways, and construction cranes for whole-tree exploration, not just the forest floor.
Meg is affectionately called the Mother of Canopy Research, Her Highness, and Her Leafiness. Her international network and tree-love have led her into leadership roles where she seeks best practices to solve environmental challenges and serves as a role model to women and minorities in science.
Meg is currently Director of TREE Foundation – her recent successes include creation of a UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve surrounding a Malaysian canopy walkway, and partnership with Coptic priests in Ethiopia to save the country’s last remaining forests.
She was a Fulbright scholar to India and Ethiopia, and authored 150+ peer-reviewed scientific publications, and 10 books. Her book “Life in the Treetops” received a cover review in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. Her recent book “The Arbornaut,” chronicles her adventures plus passion for mentoring girls in science and inclusivity in field exploration.
Her mantra is “no child left indoors” and she is the proud mother of two boys who climbed trees at a very young age!
Dr. Jane Rigby is an Astrophysicist in the Observational Cosmology Lab at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md, and serves as the Project Scientist for Operations for the James Webb Space Telescope.
Dr. Rigby was previously an active researcher and user of the Hubble, Spitzer, Chandra, Herschel, and NuSTAR space telescopes, the Keck telescopes in Hawaii, and the Magellan telescopes in Chile. She has published more than 100 refereed scientific papers, and is also a member of the science team for NASA’s NuSTAR mission.
Dr. John C. Mather is a Senior Astrophysicist in the Observational Cosmology Laboratory located at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. He is also the Senior Project Scientist on the James Webb Space Telescope.
Mather previously led the proposal efforts for the Cosmic Background Explorer mission (1974-76), and later became the Study Scientist (1976-88), Project Scientist (1988-98), and also the Principal Investigator for the Far Infrared Absolute Spectrophotometer (FIRAS) on the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE).
Dr. Mather and the COBE team showed that the cosmic microwave background radiation has a blackbody spectrum within 50 parts per million (ppm), confirming the Big Bang theory to extraordinary accuracy – a discovery which won him the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Lhakpa Sherpa is a record-setting icon in the world of mountaineering. She is not only the first Nepali woman to successfully summit Mount Everest, but the first woman to successfully summit the world’s highest mountain ten times, beating her own world record again in 2022 for most Everest summits by any woman in the world. She has also climbed numerous other peaks throughout the Himalayas and around the world. Lhakpa also has her own guiding service, Cloudscape Climbing, where she operates in the New England area as well as the Himalayas.
This year’s Sweeney Medalist, Kristin Larson, embodies the spirit of the award’s namesake. Like Sweeney, Larson has approached service to the Club with dedication and zeal for more than 20 years. Her exemplary record includes 6 years on the Board of Directors, ongoing leadership appointments in key Club committees (Legal, Grants, Governance, Nominations, and Headquarters Maintenance) and officer positions at both the national and chapter levels. Kristin has Co-chaired ECADs, LTADs, and events in DC and Santa Barbara. Through her pro bono resources, Kristin has strengthened the Club’s institutional framework and helped launch hundreds of young Explorer Club grantees worldwide.
Dominique Gonçalves is a Mozambican ecologist focused on elephant conservation working in Gorongosa National Park. She currently manages Gorongosa’s Elephant Ecology Project, investigating elephant movement and range expansion in relation to habitat use and human-elephant conflict. Working with communities, law enforcement and sustainable development colleagues, Gonçalves hopes to help build coexistence between communities and wildlife throughout Gorongosa National Park’s buffer zone. A passionate advocate of girls’ education to prevent early marriage, Gonçalves also supports the park’s Girls’ Club program through the role models initiative. She has an M.Sc. in conservation biology and is a Ph.D. candidate in biodiversity management at the University of Kent’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology.
Greg Carr received a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard in 1986. That same year he co-founded Boston Technology, an international telecommunications firm.
In 1998, Carr resigned from his for-profit boards and dedicated himself to philanthropy. In 1999 he co-founded the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University. The Carr Center seeks to make human rights principles central to the formulation of public policy in the United States and the world.
Carr is active in educational projects in his home state of Idaho. He co-founded the Museum of Idaho in 2000, a cultural and natural history museum in Idaho Falls.
In January of 2008, Carr signed a 20-year agreement (extended to 35 years) with the Government of Mozambique to restore and co-manage the country’s flagship national park, Gorongosa. The Gorongosa management team has reintroduced buffaloes, zebras, wildebeests, painted wolves, leopards, hyenas and other species to the ecosystem, planted more than two million trees in the Mt. Gorongosa rainforest, and created an international Restoration Ecology Science Research Center named the “EO Wilson Laboratory”. National Geographic called Gorongosa one of Africa’s greatest wildlife restoration stories.
The Gorongosa team re-established eco-tourism in the Park, creating local employment. The Human Development Department provides health care, education and agricultural assistance to local communities. Gorongosa conducts after-school programs in ninety primary schools that help keep teen girls in school and out of child marriage.