As we settle back into our fall routines, those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are hard-pressed to forget a summer where record-high temperatures threatened ecosystems and economies worldwide. In the Southern Hemisphere, ozone depletion pulled weather zones further south, affecting rainfall patterns, ocean currents, sea-surface temperatures and public health.
Climate change is a critical challenge for our century, and WINGS Fellows and Flag Carriers are at the leading edge of climate science and discovery. High-achieving botanists, biochemists, astrobiologists, forest ecologists, glaciologists - they represent many fields because it will take many remarkable minds to find sustainable solutions. Their work is revolutionizing our understanding of our magnificent yet endangered world, paving the way for women and girls in science, and giving us hope and heroes.
Our Flag Carrier program, which supports expeditions focused on scientific results, has helped place multiple climate pioneers in the field this past year. This month alone we have two Flag Carriers studying climate change in the Arctic. Terrie Williams, a comparative ecophysiologist investigating “how animals survive” in a changing world, is in Greenland researching the effects of warming oceans and retreating ice on the iconic narwhal. Sunniva Sorby, a member of the first all-female expedition to the South Pole in 1993, embarks next week on her 9-month overwintering project in Svalbard, Norway, to record extreme climate change events. You can sign up here to receive her weekly updates.
Back in New York City, the adventures continue – with a book club and author Q&A hosted by the WINGS Junior Council; an Explorer Talk and new film on ocean plastic pollution; and a webinar customized for our Fellows and Flag Carriers on intellectual property rights and bridging the gap in the number of patents awarded to women. WINGS advances the work of women overcoming insurmountable obstacles to blaze new trails in their fields. Thank you for supporting our mission and amplifying their voices. They deserve to be heard.
Yours in discovery,
Chair, Board of Directors
Last week I shipped WINGS Flag #14 to Sunniva Sorby so she can carry it with her to Svalbard, Norway. Sunniva and her expedition partner, Hilde Fålun Strøm, will spend 9-months in living in a trapper's hut with no running water or electricity, and in complete darkness for 90 days. They plan to record and broadcast extreme climate change events as they happen, in real time. Stay tuned for an invitation to our live-stream broadcast from Svalbard.
Flag #14 started its life in 2007 in North Africa, and has since been to the Ganges in India, the Arctic waters of Canada, and Antarctica with the Homeward Bound women’s leadership initiative. All of these expeditions were spearheaded by teams of women studying issues affecting global sustainability, such as climate change, access to safe water, and how women will be key stakeholders in the solutions.
Each WINGS Flag has a story, and each Flag Carrier chooses which flag they will take on their expedition, whether it’s because of the landscapes that flag has seen, the inspiration of prior carriers, or the issues studied during its journeys. We are proud to share the stories, results and lessons learned with you through the Flag Reports, Explorer Talks, interviews, and other avenues.
Yours in exploration,
In this issue:
Alexandra Morton and the battle over salmon
Save the date for a WINGS Junior Council event with Kate Harris
Kristi Karanth is a 2019 Rolex Award winner
And more from Edie Widder, Jill Tarter, Meenakshi Wadhwa, Vera Rubin and Sylvia Earle
When Allison Hanes was working toward her MSc in Primate Conservation, she studied disease transmission between humans and mountain gorillas in Uganda with WINGS Fellow Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, one of the leading conservationists and scientists working to save the critically endangered mountain gorillas of East Africa. Allison was also inspired and influenced by WINGS Fellow Terrie Williams, a large animal physiologist.
Now Allison is in Indonesia leading her own expedition while carrying the same WINGS flag that Terrie took on a research expedition to Antarctica 10 years ago. Allison will be assessing the relationships between humans and gibbons as well as the impact our changing world and climate have had on these relationships.
I often hear that one of the biggest obstacles to women advancing in science careers is the shortage of women in leadership positions to serve as mentors and role models. We are thrilled to share this story of the power of leadership, mentoring, and mutual support.
In this issue:
The 2019 Women of Discovery Awardees talk mentorship and community for women in science
Relive the 2019 Fellows Forum by watching the videos on YouTube
Below the Skin with Nina Jablonski
Read the expedition report from Janey McGill and the Her Faces of Change team
Allison Hanes heads to Siberut
And news from Krithi Karanth, Jill Tarter, Nathalie Cabrol, Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Diana Beresford-Kroeger, Karen Strier and Edie Widder
On April 23, 2019, WINGS WorldQuest inducted four new Fellows at the Women of Discovery Awards. Mandë Holford, Krithi Karanth, Laly Lichtenfeld, and Darlene Lim awed and inspired us with stories about their research, exploration, conservation and community initiatives, and thoughts on women and leadership. Thank you to all who attended and supported.
You can now check out their virtual trading cards on the WINGS website.
They join an international community of 84 WINGS Fellows, and now this network of womenfield scientists is enriched by their contributions, questions and interjections to the ongoing conversation that WINGS enables and fortifies. They strengthen WINGS’ foundation and outlook for future Women of Discovery.
All the best,
In this issue:
See the photos from the 2019 Women of Discovery Awards
We join Caveat NYC and Sophie Hollingsworth for a night celebrating women explorers
Read Sefra Alexandra’s flag report on the taro tales
Sunniva Sorby will carry the WINGS flag to Norway
Watch Gaelin Rosenwaks’ film, Coral: Glimmer of Hope
Tomorrow, International Women’s Day will raise a call to action to create a better-balancedworld and accelerate gender parity. We approach achieving that balance for women in science and exploration by showcasing their work through awards, lectures, expedition reports, interactive conversations and more. The more we talk about women’s contributions to scientific knowledge and advancements, the more their presence in these fields will be normalized. Our goal is to one day put ourselves out of business. Can you help us spread the word by forwarding this newsletter to at least one other person?
Happy International Women's Day! We'll see you on the trail, at the designation and beyond.
All the best,
In this issue:
Get tickets to the 2019 Women of Discovery Awards
Michele Westmorland screens Headhunt Revisited: With Brush, Canvas and Camera
Meenakshi Wadhwa on her career, women in science and spending four months in a wheelchair
Kate Harris wins the RBC Taylor Prize for her book Lands of Lost Borders
And updates from Mandë Holford, Sefra Alexandra, Krithi Karanth and Nergis Mavalvala
In 2005, Michele Westmorland carried the FIRST WINGS flag to Papua New Guinea to document the incredible journey of artist and explorer Caroline Mytinger. Fourteen years later, we are thrilled to share the result, the award-winning documentary film Headhunt Revisited: With Brush, Canvas & Camera, and see how far the project has come since then. We will build on the film’s examination of Caroline’s legacy in an interactive talkback with Michele.
Since that inaugural WINGS flag expedition, we have been honored to send our flags on more than 50 expeditions and publish the resulting flag reports to share with a broad audience. In 2015 WINGS began to award a grant to every flag carrier. WINGS' unique unrestricted funding to Flag Carriers and Fellows has been invaluable to so many expeditions, projects, and research initiatives. When so many sources of funding do not pay for essentials such as salaries, travel, research, legal fees, childcare, and much more, these grants can either launch a project or provide the missing piece to bring concept to reality.
We are grateful for the world knowledge that the WINGS community of Flag Carriers has shared with us over the past 14 years, and the lessons we have learned from these women who dare to be the trailblazers.
See you on the trail, at the destination, and beyond,
In this issue:
VIP tickets for the 2019 Women of Discovery Awards now available
Get tickets for a screening of Headhunt Revisited: With Brush, Canvas and Camera with filmmaker Michele Westmorland
African People & Wildlife completes its 1,000th Living Wall
How Flag Carrier April Burt will address plastic pollution in the Aldabra Atoll
Win prizes through the Junior Council’s Valentine’s Day raffle
WINGS is accepting auction donations
Apply to intern with WINGS
And updates from Felicity Aston, Jane Goodall, Bolortsetseg Minjin and Rosemarie Keough
One of the most exciting tasks that the WINGS WorldQuest board and I take on is choosing our next group of Women of Discovery Award winners – the extraordinary women scientists and explorers who will ultimately join our international community of 84 Fellows.
We've spent months narrowing the list down to the top candidates. This is no easy feat, given the quality and courage of these women, all of them leaders in their fields doing groundbreaking work. They represent a wide variety of disciplines and countries spanning the globe, dedicating their lives to tackling the critical issues of our time, like climate change, wildlife conservation, space exploration and ocean health.
We are still finalizing our next group of awardees, but I can already tell you that it's going to be an impressive cohort. In the meantime, I hope you'll read on to learn about the most recent updates from current Fellows and Flag Carriers.
In this issue:
Read Gaelin Rosenwak’s flag report
We sit down with Janey McGill to learn about how her upcoming expedition in Oman
Laly Lichtenfeld joins us for a talk in Connecticut
We host our second 1000 Girls, 1000 Future webinar
We announce the winners of the Kate Harris book giveaway
And updates from Rosaly Lopes, Nalini Nadkarni, Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka and Michele Westmorland
This summer, my family and I were citizen scientist crew members of 5 Gyres' 18th expedition to study marine plastic pollution and explore solutions to this expanding international problem. 5 Gyres, co-founded by WINGS WorldQuest Fellow Anna Cummins and her husband Marcus Erikson, has been at the forefront of marine plastic research, education, and activism for the past 10 years.
We spent 9 days sailing along the Indonesian archipelago in the Coral Triangle. We trawled for microplastics in coastal waters, cleaned up 8,738 pieces of plastic debris weighing a total of 500 pounds from 5 beaches, and recorded brands and types of debris to contribute to the BAN (Better Alternatives Now) List 3.0.
5 Gyres’ small and powerful team practices "science to solutions" methodology - collecting and compiling data, training and empowering citizen scientists to participation and action, publishing results, and contributing to positive public practices and policy. This vision and application of education, citizen science, and community involvement embodies what WINGS Fellows represent. They practice their scientific passions and explore to contribute to world knowledge, inspire others to action, advance scientific inquiry, and promote environmental conservation.
The action items I promise to take:
Carry my water bottle with me and stop buying plastic water bottles on the go.
Carry a bamboo utensil pouch with me and keep one in my desk.
Talk to my workplace about replacing plastic water cups with reusable.
Stop using plastic baggies. Use washable containers instead.
Remember to say “no straw” whenever I order a cold drink.
Please read on to see other inspiration from the WINGS international community of explorers and scientists.
In this issue:
Enter to win a copy of Lands of Lost Borders by Kate Harris
Updates from Gaelin Rosenwaks, Susan R. Eaton, Stephanie Dolrenry, Becca Peixotto, Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka
WINGS will partner with the New York Academy of Sciences for a webinar with Meg Lowman and Becca Peixotto
One of the best parts of my work with WINGS WorldQuest is when I get to notify a new Fellow or Flag Carrier of her award. This month I got to award a WINGS flag to a new member of our international community: Janey McGill. She wrote about accepting the award here on her blog.
Janey will walk 1,000 km of Oman's Rub' Al Khali, a desert spanning four countries across the Arabian Peninsula, to explore cultural differences between our lives and relationships within a tribal country which until only 48 years ago had only several schools and no infrastructure. We can’t wait to share with you what she discovers along the journey.
We are also pleased to share the video recording of the Fellows Forum. That link, as well as lots of other news from WINGS Fellows and Flag Carriers, are in this month's newsletter. Enjoy!
We'll see you on the trail, at the destination, and beyond.
All the best,
In this issue:
Janey McGill will take the WINGS flag to Oman
Updates from Kate Harris, Carol Beckwith, Angela Fisher, Anna Cummins, Bolortsetseg Minjin and Susan R. Eaton
Relive the 2018 Fellows Forum
Give a gift to WINGS and get summer schwag
After a long and dreary winter, we're excited that summer has finally arrived. And with it comes the first issue of Field Notes, our special e-newsletter where we'll be sending you updates about WINGS Fellows, upcoming events and event expedition opportunities.
WINGS Junior Council is up and running, advancing our mission and work with young professionals, and raising funds as a collective to sponsor a Women of Discovery Award. See below for more details and to get involved.
I'd also like to introduce a special campaign that we have for the summer: until July 31, when you give a gift to WINGS, you'll get exclusive merch as a thank you. The funds we raise go directly to supporting incredible women scientists and explorers who are on the frontlines of the fight to save our planet.
That includes women like Gaelin Rosenwaks, who recently returned from an expedition to the Republic of Palau where she studied and documented how local coral reefs and their algae have already adapted to conditions that are similar to the predicted global ocean conditions that the entire region is expected to face in the future.
Scroll down to read more about the inspiring women your donations help support, whether they're in India, Tanzania or the North Pole.
I'll see you on the trail, at the destination, and beyond,
Managing Director, WINGS WorldQuest
In this issue:
The latest flag reports: Laly Lichtenfeld, Silvia Schrötter and Felicity Aston and the 2018 Women’s Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition
Rosaly Lopes publishes Antarctica: Earth’s Own Ice World
Aparajita Datta develops adoption program
Vera Rubin is among the women featured at the Peabody Museum
Meet the WINGS WorldQuest Junior Council
Give a gift to WINGS, and get summer schwag