Flag Carriers

Since 2005, more than 50 women have flown the WINGS WorldQuest flag during expeditions across over 35 countries and all of the world's continents as they pursue groundbreaking discoveries.

The WINGS WorldQuest flag is recognized as a symbol of excellence in discovery and knowledge, and certifies the significance of its carrier's endeavor.


WINGS WorldQuest Flag Carriers are women leading original field research or documentation that focuses on investigating questions about the nature of our world and advancing conservation efforts on land, air and water through science and advocacy. 

As part of their expeditions, all accepted Flag Carriers plan to write reports, make films, or otherwise formally share information about the findings and discoveries with the scientific community and the public. WINGS WorldQuest Flag Carriers are not associated with tourist trips or paying participants on tours. 

WINGS Flag Carriers must submit a formal report, complete with high resolution images, to WINGS so that the expedition findings can be shared with the greater public. These reports are posted on the WINGS website and published elsewhere as appropriate. 

WINGS is not accepting unsolicited applications. If you meet the above criteria and are interested in finding out more about the program, please email us at info@wingsworldquest.org.  



arita baaijens: The Land That Speaks

Arita w camel.jpg

Arita Baaijens, who was inducted as a WINGS Fellow in 2014, recently embarked on an expedition to Mount Bosavi, a volcano in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. This is the second time she is carrying a WINGS Flag. 

For two months she will live with the local indigenous people, the Kaluli Tribe to learn about how their unique environment has impacted their culture. She will sleep like they do, hunt with them and eat the same food. She will conduct a 14-week ethnographic survey and employ the "deep mapping" method, a participatory mapping tool designed for hard-to-reach communities. This will allow the Kaluli people to record their  ecology, geography, mythology and linguistic history in their own terms. The results of the study will be published in National Geographic and other news outlets.


Sophie Hollingsworth: Female Chiefs of Maewo Island

Sophie Hollingsworth and her team are carryied the WINGS World Quest flag on an expedition to Maewo Island, located within the Pacific Island Nation of Vanuatu, during which they observed a multi-day festival featuring the women chiefs of the island.

The women are seeking to gain official status as part of the Vanuatu National Council of Chiefs, which they have previously been denied. 

Hollingsworth met and interviewed these women chiefs to learn about their customs and ceremonies. During the festival, the women demonstrated their practices and powers, undertook grade promotions, engaged in traditional dancing and performed secret ceremonies, including the use of black and white magic. Hollingsworth also visited nearby villages to learn more about both female and male chiefs. 

In performing the first and only ethnographic study on the women, Hollingsworth’s work may help the female chiefs gain official status. 


Becca Peixotto (left) and Emily Duncan in the Great Dismal Swamp

Becca Peixotto (left) and Emily Duncan in the Great Dismal Swamp

Swampscapes: Archaeological Exploration in the Great Dismal Swamp

Becca Peixotto, a PhD candidate at American University, School of Archaeology, led this archaeological expedition to help recover the remarkable story of resistance and resilience of African-Americans who fled enslavement and sought refuge in the harsh environment of the Great Dismal Swamp and to seek to better understand the cultural history of the Swamp landscape. 

Home to thousands of marginalized people between 1660-1860, the Great Dismal Swamp remains today an expansive morass straddling the boundary between Virginia and North Carolina. Enslaved laborers built canals and harvested timber on privately-owned Swamp land. Deep in the Swamp’s interior, maroons, people of African descent fleeing the oppressive conditions of slavery, sought a measure of freedom. By going beyond previous site-focused research in the Dismal to investigate a new, large geographical area, this research examines how maroons made lives for themselves in a place that was viewed by outsiders as wild and forbidding. 

Katujjiqatigii—Working Together, The Sedna Epic Expedition, Baffin Island, Nunavut

Team Sedna is a 12-woman international snorkeling team led by Founder Susan Eaton and Assistant Team Leader Renata Rojas. They are studying the impacts of global warming in the Arctic involving melting glaciers, disappearing sea ice, warming waters and ocean acidification; deliver ocean educational outreach to Inuit communities; empower and educate girls and young women in these matrilineal communities to be future scientists, documentarians and leaders to mitigate global warming and address climate change in the Arctic.

Team Sedna’s sea women will mentor teenage Inuit girls and young women during the expedition, involving them in all aspects of Sedna’s ocean educational activities and introducing them to careers in ocean science and technology, conservation, fisheries management, underwater videography and photography, and polar diving as an emerging form of ecotourism. Through these activities, Team Sedna hopes to inspire and empower women and girls to be the leaders of our future.

Sedna’s professional women started their arctic journey in 2014, carrying the WINGS WorldQuest flag during its proof-of-concept expedition to Labrador and Western Greenland. Team Sedna is dedicated to leading original research and undertaking scientific investigations, education and exploration in the Arctic for the next five years.


saving the world's most peaceful primate: the northern muriqui

Dr. Strier, a professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison, is an international authority on the northern muriqui monkey.  She has been studying the endangered species in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest since 1982.  Dr. Strier and her research team have made significant discoveries about the behavioral ecology, reproductive biology, and life histories of muriquis that have advanced our scientific understanding of primates in general, and contributed directly to the conservation and management of this critically endangered species.

Karen Strier, Ph.D. joined us via webinar from the Atlantic Forest of southeastern Brazil to talk about her WINGS flag expedition, Saving the World's Most Peaceful Primate: Behavior, Ecology, and Population Demography of the Northern Muriqui.

Read the full Flag Carrier Report here.

2015 Expedition Spotlight

Source to Sea following the Mother Ganges Expedition Day 50.  Back row left - Ulfat Haider Liv Arnesen, Krishnaa Patil Marcia Gutierrez Lisa Te Huehue Left front: Jiao Jiao Hu, Kim Smith Ann Bancroft

Source to Sea following the Mother Ganges Expedition Day 50. 
Back row left - Ulfat Haider Liv Arnesen, Krishnaa Patil Marcia Gutierrez Lisa Te Huehue
Left front: Jiao Jiao Hu, Kim Smith Ann Bancroft

Access Water : Ganges

The first part of the multifaceted international Access Water Expedition, launched in India in October of 2015.  Leaders of the 8 woman team WINGS Board Member Ann Bancroft and Fellow Liv Arnesen have recently completed their 2,400 km journey through the Himalayas and the Ganges River.

This extraordinary team of women explorers representing 7 different continents are working together to foster global awareness for the global water crisis.  The team is partnering with classrooms and business to encourage conservation and environmental sustainability. 

Ann Bancroft is an explorer, educator, sought-after speaker and philanthropist.  In 1993 Ann led a team of four women across the South Pole, earning the distinction of being the first known woman in history to cross the ice to both the North and South Poles. 

Expedition: Borderski

WINGS Fellow Kate Harris skied across the Pamir Mountains in Central Asia in Spring 2015 with a all-women expedition team to document the impact of border fences on wildlife.  
A film about her expedition is being made! Check out the teaser
Her flag report has recently become available - click here

Over the course of six weeks, the team skied across the borders of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan to “inspire others to think beyond borders.” The team is producing a documentary film about the Borderski Expedition, highlighting in particular the impact of the border fences on the migratory Marco Polo sheep and the need for conservation that transcends borders. 

Named one of Canada’s top 10 adventurers by Explore magazine, and top 100 modern-day explorers by Canadian Geographic, Kate's journeys edging the limits of science, geopolitics, and the imagination have covered all seven continents, often by ski, bike, or foot. 


Below is a partial listing of expeditions with links to WINGS WorldQuest flag reports. The names of flag carriers who are WINGS Fellows contain profile links.

Reports bY region:


Conserving Ethiopia’s Church ForestsMeg Lowman, 2010

Kenya and Tanzania
No Water No Life takes to the Mara River Basin, Allison Jones, 2009

Namibia and South Africa
Field Study: How African Elephants Use Water, Terrie Williams, 2007

Sahara Desert
Water Supply: Across Borders  Helen Thayer, 2013




Access Water : Ganges River Valley,  Ann Bancroft & Liv Arnesen, 2015

Pamir Mountain Range
Kate Harris : BORDERSKI, Pamir Mountain Range, 2015
A film about this expedition is being made! Check out the teaser

Altai Mountains
Expedition to Paradise, Altai Mountain Range, Arita Baaijens, 2013

Eastern Tibet
Documenting Flora on the Tibetan Plateau, Diane Agaki, 2007

Western China
Cycling the Silk Road: On the Trail of Marco PoloKate Harris, 2007

Studying the Habitat of the Greater One-Horned Rhino in West Bengal, Gitanjali Banerjee, 2006

A film about her expedition is being made! Check out the teaser

atlantic web map.jpg


Northern Bahamas
Tracking Three Generations of Wild Dolphins in the Bahamas: 26 Years in the Field, Denise Herzing, 2010

South Atlantic Ocean
5 Gyres Expedition: The World’s First South Atlantic Ocean Plastic-Pollution StudyAnna Cummins, 2010

Atlantic Ocean
Crossing the Ocean on a Reed Sailing Boat, Sabrina Lorenz, 2007

Atlantic Ocean
Following the Route of Columbus: Crossing the Atlantic by Sailboat, Beryl Bell, 2007

Collecting Geochemical Samples from a Cave on San Salvador Island, Stephanie Schwabe, 2005



Photographing Ancient Sites on the Island of CreteMarilyn Bridges, 2010

Following Endangered White Storks Across Two Continents, Lorie Karnath, 2007

Tracing the Transition from Neanderthal to Cro-Magnon in Western Europe, Anna Pinto, 2005


North/Central America

The Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge, Jeanette Salfeety, 2005

Columbia River Basin
Exploring the Health of North America's Majestic Columbia River, Alison Jones, 2007

Dry Tortugas
Bird Banding in the Dry Tortugas, Dalia Amor-Conde, 2005

Florida/California, US
Deep-Sea Exploration with New Eyes and Ears, Edie Widder, 2007

Roads, Deforestation, and Jaguars, Dalia Amor-Conde, 2006

Wyoming, US
Searching for Cretaceous Dinosaurs, Sue Hendrickson, 2006

British Columbia, Canada
Tracking Wolves in the Great Bear Rainforest, Heather Bryan, 2008

Upper Columbia River Basin
Exploring Freshwater Values and Management Solutions, Allison Jones, 2008

pacific web map.jpg

Polar Regions

Exploring the Greenland Ice Sheet, Natalie Kerhwald, 2007

Chasing the Light at 79 Degrees North, Rena Bass Forman, 2008

Lake Baikal
Life On Thin Ice, Felicity Aston, 2008

Labyrinth Sublime: The Inside Passage, North to Alaska, Rosemarie Keough, 2008

Kangiqtugaapik/Clyde River, Baffin Island
The Siku-Inuit-Hila Conference on Sea Ice and Climate ChangeLene Keilsen, Holm, 2008

Amundsen Expedition -Exploring and Documenting Marine Benthic Ecosystems in the Arctic, Maeva Gaulthier, 2010