Meenakshi Wadhwa on her Career, Women in Science and Spending Four Months in a Wheelchair

Planetary scientist Meenakshi Wadhwa won the WINGS WorldQuest Air & Space Award in 2003. In the 16 years since then, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, became the Director of the Center for Meteorite Studies and Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration in Arizona – and survived a near-fatal car accident while on expedition in Iceland. We spoke with Meenakshi about her career, her recovery, and the challenges that still lie ahead for women in science.

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Addressing Plastic Pollution in the the Aldabra Atoll

Aldabra, located in the Seychelles archipelago off the coast of East Africa, is the second largest coral atoll in the world. The World UNESCO World Heritage site is home to rare biodiversity – including two-thirds of the world’s giant tortoise population.

Although Aldabra is fairly remote – 265 miles from the nearest shore – large amounts of plastic pollution have accumulated along the shore of the atoll, carried by currents of wind. The giant tortoises have been seen ingesting plastic, birds have been entangled in fishing line, and nesting endangered green turtles are facing the plastic as a barrier to their nesting sites.

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2018 Holiday Gift Guide

If you’re on a quest to find the perfect, unique gift for a loved one (or for yourself!), we’ve got you covered with the 2018 WINGS WorldQuest Holiday Gift Guide.

From our Fellows' latest books to social-impact fashion, home products and coffee, there’s something on the list for everyone. 

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How Saving Seeds Might Save the World

Seeds are a powerful part of conservation. The plants they produce are used in cultural ceremonies, medicine and food preparation, and they feed local fauna. If you preserve seeds, you are preserving cultural heritage, according to Sefra Alexandra, also known as the “Seed Huntress.”

“Seeds, tiny, living embryos, are kind of the most boiled-down, salient aspect of conservation if you’re looking at specific ecosystems wherever you are,” she explained.

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Trekking Across Oman Offers an Opportunity to Challenge Cultural Stereotypes

Janey McGill, along with a group of Anglo-Omani women, will carry the WINGS flag across 1,000 km of Oman’s Rub’ Al Khali, a desert in the Arabian Peninsula that spans four countries.

McGill, who spent four years as a soldier in the British Army’s Honourable Artillery Company, sees the trek is a physical journey, but also an opportunity to address stereotypes. Her goal is to encourage understanding, acceptance and respect for cultural and gender differences and identities.

We spoke to Janey to learn more about her plans for the expedition and how she anticipates her military training will help her.

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