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. This honor comes with a $1,000 grant.

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 currently accepting Flag Carrier applications.


Meet Our 2019 Flag Carriers

Callie Veelenturf: Discovering Pearl Island's Endangered Treasure

Callie Veelenturf at a leatherback turtle nest in Africa

Callie Veelenturf at a leatherback turtle nest in Africa

Callie Veelenturf, a marine conservation biologist and founder of The Leatherback Project, is dedicated to protecting the oceans. In October 2019, Callie will carry Wings Flag #29 on a five month expedition to the Pearl Islands of Panama where she’ll study new sea turtle nesting sites, human use of turtles, and fisheries bycatch. Verbal reports indicate that Isla del Rey in the Pearl Islands not only provides nesting habitats for olive ridley and green sea turtles but also for leatherback turtles. This has yet to be officially confirmed or denied; Callie’s expedition will help to determine that! She expects her team’s work - the first of its kind in the Pearl Islands - will inform regional population estimates, support the local community, and develop strategies for conservation solutions.

Arita Baaijens: Voices of the Forest


In December 2019, Arita Baaijens will head back to Bosavi, Papua New Guinea, to continue the work she began in 2016 with WINGS Flag # 2.

She will examine how biodiversity is linked to diversity of languages & culture. This is certainly the case in Bosavi, a biodiversity hotspot and home to several Papua clans that each speak their own language. She will study the traditional ecological knowledge systems in Bosavi with relation to birds and seek out in what way this knowledge contributes to the conservation of biological diversity in the area.

Arita will record high quality soundscapes in Bosavi to add to the deep map that she initiated during the 2016 expedition. The digitalized version of the deep map will result in a soundscape installation that conveys 'ecological intelligence' in situ (tropical forest ecosystem).  Also, the soundscapes will be used in a podcast series in which the forest speaks for itself through sound.

Terrie Williams: Assessing the Effects of Climate Change on Narwhals


The narwhal is one of the most iconic marine mammals of the Arctic but remains virtually unstudied due to its deep diving habits and polar distribution. Of primary concern is the impact of warming oceans and the loss of ice in the primary habitats of these large, toothed whales.

On this expedition in Scoresby Sound, Greenland, above the Arctic Circle, Terrie Williams and her team conducted some of the first thermal measurements for this species with new infrared technology. Recently returned from her one month expedition, stay tuned for her flag report which will reveal some astounding learnings about how ocean animals may be impacted by underwater noise generated by ships and machinery.


Sunniva Sorby: Hearts in the Ice


Sunniva Sorby, who, along with Hilde Fålun Strøm, will embark on a 9-month expedition to spend the winter in the High Arctic of Svalbard, Norway.

They will live 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. The expedition will take place from September 2019 through May 2020. Sorby and Strøm will host a live stream call with WINGS during their expedition - stay tuned for that this winter.

Allison Hanes: Folklore and Conservation in Siberut, Mentawai Islands, Indonesia

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Filmmaker Allison Hanes carried the WINGS Flag to the Mentawai Islands of Indonesia. She is scouting locations for a 90 minute feature film about the shamans of Siberut and the Mentawai gibbons, local primates that are known for their singing. With the One Health Productions team, she plans to also create a virtual reality short and a traveling multimedia exhibit using gibbon song and indigenous knowledge to showcase the connections between humans, other species and their environment.

April Burt: The Aldabra Clean Up Project

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Plastic pollution is having devastating effects on the Aldabra Atoll World Heritage Site and the local wildlife. Conservation biologist April Burt was was awarded a WINGS WorldQuest Flag Carrier grant for an expedition to clean up the plastic. She led a team consisting of six Oxford graduates and six young Seychellois conservationists.

They removed more than 26 tons of plastic from the Aldabra coast and are developing mitigation strategies to help prevent more plastic pollution. 



Janey McGill, Oman: Her Faces of Change


Along with a team of Anglo-Omani women, Janey McGill 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.

As much as it is a physical journey, the trek also offers an opportunity for the women to address their cultural differences with the goal of challenging stereotypes. Her goal is to encourage understanding, acceptance and respect for cultural and gender differences and identities.

“WINGS offers a platform for us to be heard; women who have dreams and aspirations for a great understanding of the world and the education of the people that occupy it,” Janey said. “To carry the WINGS flag would go a long way in helping me to communicate my message to a wider and engaged audience.”


Sefra Alexandra: The Taro Tales


Sefra Alexandra, also known as the "Seed Huntress," spent two months in Fiji with the 2018 Genebank Impacts Fellowship program.

She worked in the field gathering stories about how seeds that had been housed in a seed bank were redistributed after the Taro Leaf Blight epidemic in Samoa in 1993, helping to maintain taro as a staple food crop.

She created an impact assessment that highlights the importance of safeguarding the global diversity of seeds.



Use our interactive map below to roam the world, and see where our Explorers have visited.

Flag Expedition Archive

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:



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

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

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

Reducing the Overexploitation of the Bengal Tiger Habitat, Silvia Schrötter, 2018

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

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

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

Oman Desert
Her Faces of Change, Janey McGill, 2019



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

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

Photographing Ancient Sites on the Island of CreteMarilyn Bridges, 2010


North/Central America

The Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge, Jeanette Salfeety, 2005

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

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

Wyoming, U.S.
Searching for Cretaceous Dinosaurs, Sue Hendrickson, 2006

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

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

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

Great Dismal Swamp, Virginia, U.S.
Swampscapes: Archaeological Exploration in the Great Dismal Swamp, Becca Peixotto, 2016

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Papua New Guinea and Solomon Island
Headhunt Revisited: Charting Cultural Change in Melanesia, Michele Westmorland and Karen Huntt, 2005

Papua New Guinea
Underwater TV: Convict Fish Behavior at Sunrise and Sunset, Eugenie Clark, 2006

Papua New Guinea
Diving to Observe Poisonous Catfish, Eugenie Clark and Anne Doubilet, 2007

Republic of Vanuatu
Female Chiefs of Maewo Island, Sophie Hollingsworth, 2016

Papua New Guinea
The Mountain Speaks, Arita Baaijens, 2016

Republic of Palau
Coral Resilience in the Face of Climate Change, Gaelin Rosenwaks, 2018

The Taro Tales: Ethnobotany of Fiji’s Prestige Crop, Sefra Alexandra, 2019


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

Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada
Katujjiqatigii: Working Together, The Sedna Epic Expedition, Susan R. Eaton and the Team Sedna, 2016

Homeward Bound, Joanna Young, 2016

Antarctica and Mount Erebus as Analogues for Planetary Landscapes, Rosaly Lopes, 2016

The Arctic
The Women's Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition, Felicity Aston, 2018