Previous Events at the

Rocky Mountain Chapter of The Explorers Club

Polar Explorer John Huston

February 17, 2024: Saving the Wildebeest Migration: A Maasai Perspective

Fjallraven retail store

1510 Platte Street, Denver at 7 PM

One of the natural wonders of the world is the annual migration of white-bearded wildebeest across the Serengeti-Maasai Mara savanna ecosystem of Kenya and Tanzania. The Maasai people are pastoralists and have herded cattle and coexisted with wildlife in savanna ecosystems for hundreds of years. Changing land ownership is altering open range by increasing the population of other non-pastoral tribes with differing land management practices. 

Fences are being constructed altering both traditional Maasai herding practices and impeding the wildebeest migration. Maasai are no longer able to kill problem lions to protect their herds, altering both predator management and social structures. International wildlife tourism, a huge economic driver, much of which is based on the timing of the wildebeest migration, is threatened.

Eric Reson will discuss the balance of wildlife and pastoral management from a social and environmental perspective.

Reson is the Chief Programmes Officer and member of the Senior Management Team at the Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association, where he oversees programmes design, implementation, and evaluation of effectiveness while helping to promote and diversify funding through effective resource stewardship. His portfolio includes governance, natural resource management, education, and enterprise. 


Before joining MMWCA, Reson worked as a landscape ecologist for the African Foundation Wildlife based in Samburu, where he oversaw research on the gravy zebras, lions, rhinos, wild dogs, and reticulated giraffes. He is an active researcher with ongoing studies on determining annual vulture mortality in southern Kenya. He holds a Master of Science in Wildlife Biology (Clemson University) and is enrolled as a Ph.D. student at the University of KwaZulu Natal.

Polar Explorer John Huston

January 19, 2024: A Public/Chapter Talk by Peter Greenberg

The Brave New World of Travel: Where I won’t Go: Understanding Fear, the True Metrics, Dealing with State Department Advisories and Mapping out the Real World

Location: Nevin Platt Middle School, 6096 Baseline Rd., Boulder at 6:30 PM

 A multiple Emmy-winning investigative reporter and producer, Peter Greenberg is America’s most recognized, honored and respected front-line travel news journalist. Known in the travel industry as “The Travel Detective,” he is the Travel Editor for CBS News, appearing on CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News and CBS Sunday Morning. And his national CBS EYE ON TRAVEL radio show is broadcast from a different location around the world each week.

The consummate insider on reporting the travel business as news, Peter Greenberg also hosts the weekly public television show The Travel Detective with Peter Greenberg. And, for more than 20 years, Greenberg has produced and hosted The Royal Tour, historic, precedent-setting shows, where sitting heads of state become Greenberg’s tour guide for very personal journeys to and through their countries, for one-hour global prime-time specials. The Royal Tours range from King Abdullah in Jordan to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, the President of Mexico, the Prime Minister of Israel, the President of Rwanda and many others.

Peter Greenberg a member of The Explorers Club, began his career in journalism as West Coast correspondent for Newsweek in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He won a national Emmy Award for Best Investigative Reporting for the on the final orphan flight out of Vietnam, “What Happened to the Children?” He also is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin, and an Excellence in Broadcasting Award from the Aviation Space Writers Association of America.

And when he is not reporting all over the world, Greenberg is an active volunteer fireman on Fire Island, New York.

$10 p.p. at the door for members and guests over age 13; proceeds to benefit the Rocky Mountain chapter. Please RSVP by January 17 to

Polar Explorer John Huston

November 8, 2023: Explorers Under 35 Changing the World…That the World Needs to Know About

Join us at this public event that features presentations by explorers under the age of 35, all of whom are making a difference.

6 p.m. at the Fjallraven Retail Store, 1510 Platte St., Denver

Members and guests free.

Explorers Club members and guests receive discounts for purchases that night.

Cayte Bosler is an investigative journalist and sustainability scientist trained at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. As a fellow at the Solutions Journalism Network, she is committed to delving into intricate environmental subjects, with an emphasis on community involvement and a departure from the typical “doom and gloom” narratives. Her talk will walk us through a concise history of the ever-evolving landscapes and habitats of the Western region. We’ll look at major themes in our ongoing quest to protect the Western region’s precious natural resources and at what efforts are pointing the way to securing a sustainable future.

Alex Geldzahler is a high-school senior interested in archaeology, art history, and ancient history. For the past two years, he has participated in the initial years of the Melite Civitas Romana Project in Rabat, Malta. This project, the largest of its kind in over a century, aims to excavate a Roman community on the island of Malta, where the Roman period remains understudied.

Dr. Rebecca (Becky) Niemiec is an Assistant Professor in the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Department at Colorado State University. She directed the Conservation Action lab from 2018-2022. After directing the lab, she transitioned to the role of Manager of the Bureau of Animal Protection for the state of Colorado. In 2023, she was selected to direct the CSU Animal Human Policy Center. She has a PhD from the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, Stanford University, and a B.A. in Ecology and Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College. Becky’s research focuses on community and stakeholder engagement in conservation and animal protection.

Dr. Ryan Venturelli is an assistant professor at Colorado School of Mines who uses isotope geochemistry to determine timing and rates of past glacial change. Ryan maintains an active, field-going research program in Antarctica that seeks to gain a process-based understanding of ice mass loss.

Polar Explorer John Huston

October 18, 2023: Wolves and Polar Bears of the Kaska Coast


Presented by Jad Davenport, MN ’04 

6:30 PM 

Deep in Canada’s Kaska Coast Wilderness – an uninhabited area the size of California – wolves have learned how to hunt polar bears. This program by National Geographic photographer Jad Davenport of Denver will explore how a recently launched citizen-science field study seeks to learn more about the relationship between these two apex predators and document the natural history of this unique wilderness where Arctic wildlife like polar bears and beluga share the landscape with boreal forest creatures including moose and black bears.


Besides his work with Nat Geo, Jad is the Director of Wolf Programs, Churchill Wild (, and an investigator for NecroSearch International ( Come ready to be wowed by his stirring wilderness photography.

Learn more about him at


Polar Explorer John Huston

September 28, 2023: High-Altitude Microplastics Research and Steps You Can Take to Reduce Your Impact on the Environment

Co-Presented by Dr. Mikki-McComb Kobza, executive director Ocean First Institute, and Fjallraven guide Dr. Kateryna Lapina


6 p.m., Thursday, September 28, 2023


Fjallraven Boulder, 1048 Pearl Street, Boulder

Seats limited; Open to the public; admission free; refreshments served


For years, environmentalists have been concerned about the impacts of plastic pollution in oceans, lakes, and rivers, including the high altitudes of Colorado. Much of this concern began with larger, more visible plastic documented in oceans and on shores around the world. More recently, however, concerns have increased around smaller pieces of plastic referred to as microplastics.


Microplastics are either produced to be small, such as microbeads in exfoliating products, or produced when larger pieces of plastic break down once they enter the environment. Co-Presenter Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza, OFI executive director, will explain OFI’s work researching the microplastics crisis, including recent studies of water and sediment samples from the St. Vrain Creek in Lyons.

Research into microplastics is still in the early stages. Advanced methodologies to detect microplastics in the environment are still in development, but the crisis is real: scientists have sampled aquatic environments across the world, from the tropics to the Arctic, and microplastics are found in every environment sampled to date. Hundreds of species across the world have been found with microplastics in their stomachs. This includes several species of fish and shellfish found with ingested microplastics, many of which are sold for human consumption.

Ocean First Institute (OFI), based in Boulder and Key Largo, is uniquely positioned to study and educate on the impacts of plastic pollution from mountains to mangroves. For the past three years, OFI has been funded to run a “Microplastics Pollution Program,” which is a citizen science microplastic pollution monitoring program to obtain baseline data on the presence/absence and quantity of microplastics and microfibers in water and sediment in rivers within watersheds in Colorado’s Front Range. It will expand in 2024 into sampling of Colorado alpine snowpack through its citizen science efforts.

In Florida, OFI works with local schools and students to survey for microplastics and plastic debris, and to create ambassadors for change in local communities to reduce single-use plastic. Currently, the main hub for this Florida work is at OFI’s lab in Key Largo. In local schools, OFI implements microplastics curriculum and surveys ocean water using large collecting nets off OFI’s research vessel. OFI also uses a microplastic imaging and analyzer system, called FT-IR to quantify how much plastic and what types of plastic (from macro to micro sizes) are collected in the environment.

Learn more about the crisis of microplastics and how Ocean First Institute research is helping to solve this giant plastic problem.


The evening’s co-presenter is Kateryna Lapina. Originally from Kharkiv, Ukraine, Kateryna came to the U.S. to pursue her Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering. She studied the impact of forest fires on air quality and analyzed the measurements collected at a mountain peak in the middle of the Atlantic to understand the long-range transport of pollution.

In 2009, Kateryna moved to Colorado to pursue research in air quality modeling. While working on her research she became actively involved in public outreach projects and co-founded Colorado Ozone Gardens to educate the general public on causes and effects of ozone pollution in Colorado. One of the goals of this project was to encourage Colorado residents to modify their lifestyles in order to mitigate the ozone problem. 


Polar Explorer John Huston

September 18, 2023: The Last Successful Titanic Dive: Is Exploration Worth the Risk?

7 PM at the Dairy Arts Center, Boulder, Colorado

A special presentation by Dr. Alan Stern, American engineer and planetary scientist. He is the principal investigator of the New Horizons mission to Pluto.

During the Titan submersible’s last successful dive to the Titanic in July 2022, mission leader Alan Stern, the late OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, and three NASA mission specialists collected water samples and photographed the sea life, and the Titanic itself. They brought back mud and water samples from the bottom, including the metal content of what’s coming off the Titanic as it degrades. In June 2023, Explorers Club members British explorer Hamish Harding, 58, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, a French deep sea explorer and Titanic expert, both perished aboard the Titan along with three others: OceanGate co-founder and CEO Stockton Rush, 61, and Pakistani business executive Shahzara Dawood, 48, and his son, Suleman, 19.

Commercial submersibles are now carrying scientists and explorers to the deepest points in all five oceans. On the whole, it’s getting cheaper, safer, and more available. Such exploration certainly offers thrills, but its basic aim is to advance humankind through meaningful science. Still, is it worth the risk? What have we learned since the Titan disaster? The one-hour talk, moderated by Explorers Club chapter chairman Jeff Blumenfeld, editor of, will be followed by a Q&A session. Dr. Stern will be showing stirring images of both vessels – the ill-fated Titan and Titanic. Dr. Stern will also talk about his planned trip to space on Virgin Galactic as a research astronaut.

Admission: $10 (plus online service fees), Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street, Boulder. Open to the public. Seating is limited. Advance purchase of tickets is recommended. Use this link:

Proceeds to benefit the Rocky Mountain chapter’s continued efforts to promote exploration on air, sea, space, and land. Please spread the word. 


Polar Explorer John Huston

July 19, 2023: Break Bread with Fred 

Join us for lunch with Alfred Scott McLaren, Captain, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Ph.D.
Hotel Boulderado, The Corner Bar, 2115 13th St. Boulder, CO

Recently in the news is Captain Alfred Scott McLaren, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Ph.D., Explorers Club President Emeritus, and former chapter chair of the Rocky Mt. chapter. Fred has relocated to Chapel Hill, N.C., but has time to join us for lunch during an upcoming visit to Boulder on July 19.

Fred received his Ph.D. in the Physical Geography of the Polar Regions from the University of Colorado Boulder (1986), an M.Phil. in Polar Studies from Cambridge University (Peterhouse), England (1982), and a M.S. in International Affairs from George Washington University (1968). A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a B.S. in Engineering (1955), the U.S. Naval War College (1968), and the U.S. Navy Major Shore Commanders Course (1978), Captain McLaren was among the first 50 selected by Admiral H.G. Rickover to attend the newly inaugurated Nuclear Power School on 1959.

In 2000 he received The Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Medal for Ocean Exploration and in 2012, The Explorers Club’s highest honor, The Explorers Medal, for “his extraordinary contributions to Arctic exploration and deep-sea research, including the first survey of the entire Siberian Continental Shelf.”

He is also President Emeritus of the 86-year-old American Polar Society, a former National Geographic Global Perspectives lecturer, author, research scientist, and consultant on the role of the Polar Regions in global climate change and on the development of deep-sea submersible technology.

As a naval officer from 1955 to 1981, Captain McLaren made three Arctic expeditions on nuclear attack submarines, one on board the USS Seadragon (SSN-584) during the first submerged transit of the Northwest Passage during the summer of 1960; two others on the USS Queenfish (SSN-651): a Baffin Bay cruise during the winter of 1967, and a North Pole expedition during the summer of 1970 that included the first and only survey under ice of the entire Siberian Continental Shelf (5,200 km). He commanded the Queenfish during the latter expedition and for a total of four years. 

As such, he was recently the go-to expert on submarines and submersibles and provided numerous media with insight on the Titan disaster. After spending a cumulative five years underwater, I’m sure you’ll be interested in his take on what went wrong, and how the disaster will lead to future changes in underwater exploration.

Fred will be accompanied by his wife Avery Russell, MN ’02. No fee. Guests welcome. Just pay for whatever you eat.


Polar Explorer John Huston

June 3, 2023: Tour the Cussler Museum in Arvada


The Cussler Museum is dedicated to the preservation of astounding rare and vintage automobiles from all over the world.
This extensive collection of over 100 significant automobiles, ranging in years from 1906 to 1965, was started by renowned best-selling author Clive Cussler.

As an underwater explorer, Cussler discovered more than 60 shipwreck sites and wrote non-fiction books about his findings. He was also the founder of the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), a non-profit organization with the same name as the fictional government agency that employs his famed character Dirk Pitt.

Watch the video here:


Polar Explorer John Huston

May 31, 2023: Space Telescopes: Small, Big and Biggest, Presented by CU Professor Jim Green 


CU Professor James Green has experienced a front-row seat in the assembly, deployment, and maintenance of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and witnessed the deployment of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which has enough fuel for another 20 years, assuming it’s not overtaken by micrometeorites. In fact, thanks to 19 years of upgrades and repairs to the Hubble, and in spite of hundreds of potential failures during the deployment of the James Webb, both observatories are producing excellent science and are predicted to continue to operate for many more years, sharing with the world astounding images of the universe.

Join us as Professor Green explains what we’ve learned so far from these technological advancements in space science, with a focus on the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, an instrument on the Hubble Space Telescope that was designed and built in Boulder by the University of Colorado and Ball Aerospace. 

Professor Green received his B.S. in Physics from Stanford University in 1982 and his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989. He has spent his career designing and building instrumentation for space astronomy applications, and analyzing data from such instruments. He was the Principal Investigator for the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, which was the final instrument installed in the Hubble Space Telescope in May 2009. He also designed and built the spectrograph for the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE), which launched in 1999. 


He has developed several instruments for launch on sub-orbital rockets, and has personally participated in 20 rocket launches as Principal Investigator or project scientist. Professor Green has served as Director of the Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy, the Chair of the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, co-chair of the WFIRST science and technology definition team, and as a member of the NASA Advisory Council Science Committee. His science interests include observational cosmology, the local interstellar medium, and theoretical studies of the earliest moments of the universe.

Members free; guests over age 16 – $10 p.p.

Note: we’ll be meeting 30 minutes earlier than usual at 6 p.m. to accommodate restaurant staffing.

Mandatory gratuity for our group: 25%

Due to three instances of “dine and dash” last month, attendees will be asked to pay for their meals upon ordering.



Polar Explorer John Huston

April 26, 2023: Rocky Mountain National Park Ranger Talk 

The History of RMNP, Trends in Wildlife and Wildfire Management, and an Update on Recent Field Research
Throughout time, Rocky Mountain National Park, the third most visited National Park in 2019, has been influenced in many ways; however, park rangers and managers hope to keep the essence of Rocky unchanged. This program explores how visitation and human history have influenced wildlife and wildfire research and management at Rocky Mountain National Park over the past 100 years. 


Polar Explorer John Huston

March 15, 2023: Rocky Mountain Chapter Dinner: Sharing Your Bearings


In a break from previous formats, our March dinner will provide members an opportunity to share their most recent projects with other chapter members.


Come prepared to explain where you’ve been and the exploration you’re proudest about.


Ground rules:

• Six minutes per presentation; maximum 8-10 talks. 

 • No more than a five-year look-back. Current projects only please.




Polar Explorer John Huston

January 11, 2023: Fieldwork in Antarctica with Dr. Cassandra Brooks


Join Cassandra Brooks as she tells stories from the bottom of the world and her efforts to protect it. Brooks will share imagery and stories from her five research expeditions to Antarctica, including the challenges of conducting science operations and media in the windiest, coldest, and most extreme environment on earth. She will also share the incredible story of how she worked alongside a coalition of millions to protect the Ross Sea, Antarctica and how it now stands as the world’s largest marine protected area.


Come and listen and learn about Antarctica, and how beyond its extreme beauty, it also serves as a critically important global commons which is critically threatened by climate change and commercial fishing.

Prior to joining CU Boulder, she completed a Ph.D. at Stanford University, studying international ocean policy, with a focus on marine protection in the Antarctic. In her previous graduate work at Moss Landing Marine Labs, she studied Antarctic toothfish in the Ross Sea, a population that supports the most remote fishery on earth. Her efforts helped drive the adoption of the world’s largest marine protected area in the Ross Sea, Antarctica – one of the healthiest and most productive marine ecosystems left on Earth.

Brooks is taking action to safeguard this place, and invites you to join her. She is a recipient of the Explorers Club 50 award, Class of 2022.




Polar Explorer John Huston

October 13, 2022: 50th Anniversary of the Andes Survivors


On October 13,1972, a Uruguayan plane carrying a Rugby team and their friends crashed in the Andes. Sixteen of the 45 passengers survived 72 days trapped on a glacier, isolated from civilization and having to resort to eating the bodies of the dead to survive. In those 72 days, they endured extreme cold temperatures, avalanches, starvation and dehydration and ultimately two of them, Parrado and Canessa, climbed out of the Andes to bring helicopters to rescue the other survivors. 

On February 12, 2005, Ricardo Peña (left in the photo), mountain guide and husband of RMEC member Ulyana Horodyskyj, discovered the jacket, passport and wallet of survivor Eduardo Strauch (right in the photo) high in an unexplored gully above the glacier where the survivors lived their epic survival story. This discovery led to Ricardo meeting Eduardo and eventually all of the survivors and becoming close friends with them. Ricardo went on to lead the National Geographic expedition that repeated and documented for the first time the historic escape route of Parrado and Canessa. 


He has also conducted extensive research in the area and helped film many documentaries on the subject. Ricardo will share an insider’s view into this epic and legendary survival story as well as his discoveries during his trips back to the site, including his last one, in January 2022, with survivor Eduardo Strauch and Ulyana, where global warming is melting the glaciers dramatically and revealing evidence that had been lost for decades.

Learn more about this fascinating project exactly 50 years after this disastrous aircraft disaster:


Polar Explorer John Huston

October 1, 2022: Fall Picnic and Mine Tour


 An RMEC encore event ….. Andrew and Jacquie McKenna have graciously again invited chapter members and guests to join them in a fall kick-off celebration at their ranch near Ward located at 47517 Peak to Peak Highway. (Directions forthcoming.) Time: 12 PM, with mine tour to follow.


As an added bonus, Club member Markus Raschke invites us to again tour his nearby 19th-century White Raven silver mine.


Here’s how it looked in 1918:


Polar Explorer John Huston

September 15, 2022 – From Spots to Satellites: Ecology, Technology and Giraffe Conservation Across Africa


Giraffe are icons of the African wilderness, but they are under significant conservation threat. With only 117,000 individuals widely distributed in isolated populations across 21 different African countries, giraffe face diverse challenges throughout their range, which require diverse solutions to address them.

 The Giraffe Conservation Foundation, with a collaborative international team of scientists and local stakeholders, is spearheading groundbreaking giraffe conservation initiatives to understand the ecological needs of giraffe, assess threats across their range, and design creative solutions to these conservation issues. Combining advanced technology with ground-level understandings of giraffe ecology, Brown and others are turning science into meaningful conservation outcomes. 

 The Twiga Tracker Initiative, an ambitious continental scale GPS tracking study of over 300 giraffe, is revolutionizing how we understand giraffe movement and habitat needs.

 In this conversation, Dr. Michael Brown, a conservation ecologist and a joint fellow with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, will explore giraffe conservation issues across amazingly diverse ecosystems in Africa, from the barren lunar landscapes of northwest Namibia to the rugged mountainous savannahs of eastern Uganda. This discussion will unpack the unique challenges of studying these charismatic giants, and the creative, ambitious approaches that are making a difference for giraffe conservation on the ground.

 Read more:


Polar Explorer John Huston

May 25, 2022 – The Human Element, a presentation by James Balog

James is an acclaimed photographer featured in The Human Element and Chasing Ice. He’s a scientist, adventurer, president and founder of the Colorado-based Extreme Ice Survey and Earth Vision Institute. Environmental photographer and thinker James Balog explores the crucial concerns of our time. In this presentation, he will share stunning images and provocative ideas from his latest book, The Human Element: A Time Capsule from the Anthropocene. 
National Geographic editor emeritus for science and the environment, Dennis Dimick, calls the book “…a profound statement by a force of nature on the forces of nature. The scope, and versatility of his vision is without compare.” 
His vision brings us toward new possibilities of how to deal with climate change and other major issues.
View the trailer to his documentary here:
Learn more about his work at:




Polar Explorer John Huston

April 29, 2022 – An Evening with Alan Arnette

Alan Arnette climbs, coaches, talks, and writes. He advocates for Alzheimer’s patients, caregivers, and researchers at every opportunity. As Alan saw his mom, Ida, go through the Alzheimer’s journey, he said it took her life and changed him forever. So after a 30-year career in management roles with Hewlett-Packard, he took early retirement in 2007 to oversee the care of Ida, and his life purpose became serving as an Alzheimer’s Advocate.


At the beginning of his career, he focused on work but at age 38 discovered his true passion was climbing the world’s highest peaks. He has completed over 37 major expeditions, including Mt. Everest in 2011, and K2 on his 58th birthday in 2014. Living in Colorado, he has summited all 58 of the 14,000-foot mountains. In total, over 225 times, including repeats, which is a surprise to his friends and family in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was born.


Alan shares his experiences with his three million followers on social media channels and In addition, global media outlets like CNN, BBC, FOX, and Outside regularly seek Alan’s comments on mountaineering and Alzheimer’s events. Outside called him “one of the world’s most respected chroniclers of Everest.” 


His innovative Alzheimer’s awareness and fundraising projects have included climbing the highest mountain on each of the seven continents in under a year; summiting K2, the world’s most challenging high-altitude mountain, at age 58, thus setting an American record.


The Fort Collins resident uses each climb as a fundraising tool for Alzheimer’s research. He thus far has reached over 60 million people and raised nearly half a million dollars for research. 

Polar Explorer John Huston

March 29, 2022 – The Future of Humanity in Space: The Dawn of Commercial Spaceflight


On December 11th, 2021, Dylan Taylor flew aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket on NS-19 and became the 606th human to enter space and the 592ndhuman to cross the Karman Line. Dylan will discuss his experience on the spaceflight, as well as what the future holds for human spaceflight and exploration. Dylan is a Rocky Mountain Explorers Club member and CEO of Voyager Space, a multinational space exploration firm based in Denver. Dylan is also the founder of Space for Humanity, a global non-profit dedicated to democratizing access to space. 

Full bio available at

Read the interview by Leonard David:

Polar Explorer John Huston

February 22, 2022 – Rick Ridgeway, Life Lived Wild: Adventures at the Edge of the Map

Rick Ridgeway has experienced many adventures in his life, including the first American ascent of K2 and the first crossing on foot of a corner of Tibet so remote no outsider had ever seen it. In telling these stories, Rick also describes his shift from someone fascinated by wild places to someone dedicated to saving them.

Rick was kind to reschedule with RMEC when his Patagonia Boulder store appearance was canceled due to Covid. 

Learn more about Rick here:

Polar Explorer John Huston

January 25, 2022 – Tales of the Open Ocean: From Plankton to Sperm Whales

In her presentation, Explorers Club member Gaelin Rosenwaks will take you on a journey from satellite tagging bluefin tuna in the Western Atlantic Ocean to drilling ice cores in the frozen Bering Sea to the bottom of the Blue Hole in Belize, in order to illuminate cutting-edge scientific research being conducted to understand the complexity of our ocean ecosystems. 
Driven by her academic background in marine science and conservation, Gaelin hopes to heighten people’s awareness and sense of responsibility to preserve the health of our planet. By employing photography and video to document her exploration, she hopes to inspire people to appreciate the beauty of our oceans and natural world. Throughout, Gaelin will touch on the themes of courage, curiosity and finding your passion. She will also give a sneak peak at her current project, Finding Physty, a film about her personal connection to a young sperm whale and her quest to reconnect with him. 
Learn more about Gaelin here at:




Polar Explorer John Huston

December 12, 2021 – Guided Tour of the Winter Sky and Upcoming Celestrial Surprises

Join fellow Club member Douglas Duncan for a personal guided tour of the winter night sky at the Fiske Planetarium on the University of Colorado Boulder campus. Fiske opened in 1975 with a generous donation from Wallace Franz Fiske, Class of 1917. The 65-foot diameter dome is the largest planetarium between Chicago and Los Angeles and seats 206 guests. The 8K Sky-Skan projection system, cutting-edge content, dazzling visuals, and fantastic sound system are unparalleled. Plus, the Fiske has a MegaStar projector that shows 10 million stars and the Milky Way, creating one of the most beautiful indoor skies you’ll ever see.

Dr. Douglas Duncan is an astronomer at the University of Colorado. From 2002-2018 he directed Fiske Planetarium, leading it to be the most advanced planetarium in the U.S. Duncan earned degrees at Caltech and the University of California Santa Cruz. He was part of the project that first found sunspot cycles on other stars. Subsequently, he joined the staff of the Hubble Space Telescope. In 1992, he accepted a joint appointment at the University of Chicago and the Adler Planetarium, beginning a trend of modernization of planetariums that has spread to New York, Denver, Los Angeles, and now Boulder. In 2011, he received the prestigious Richard Emmons award presented to the “Outstanding University Astronomy Teacher in the US.”

Dr. Duncan leads educational trips throughout the world to watch total eclipses of the sun and to see the northern lights. In 2017, for the best U.S. total eclipse in 40 years, he helped arrange for 7,000 libraries to receive 2.1 million pairs of safe eclipse-watching glasses. Ask him about his plans for the 2023 and 2024 eclipses.




Polar Explorer John Huston

November 11, 2021 – Ian Billick, The History and Future of Field Science

Ian Billick, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) near Crested Butte, will discuss the history and future of field science within the context of exploration and discovery. He will quickly move through the age of exploration starting with the fall of Constantinople, through economy botany, to the emergence of modern science, and talk about how a confluence of sensing technology, deployment platforms, and big data is fundamentally changing the process of discovery.

Ian started his love affair with RMBL as a summer student in 1988. After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of California-San Diego for field work done at RMBL, he worked as a research scientist at the University of Houston and was a visiting faculty member at Truman State University (Missouri). He’s been Executive Director of RMBL since 2000 and lives full-time in the Crested Butte area where he is raising two sons, Cormac and Giles, with his wife Jennie.
Learn more about RMBL here:


Polar Explorer John Huston

October 19, 2021 – Jake Norton, 100 Years of Everest: Pre-World War II Expeditions from the North


Climber, filmmaker, photographer, and activist, Jake Norton, has spent most of his life in the high mountains and remote regions of the world.

From helping discover George Mallory’s remains on Mount Everest to following the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton across South Georgia Island, unearthing 3,500 year old human remains in cliffside caves high in the Himalaya to following the Ganges River 1,600 miles from source to sea, to reaching the summit of Everest three times, the Evergreen, Colorado, explorer has been blessed in his 47 years to traverse the globe and share his stories far and wide.

Learn more about Jake here:

See his virtual tour of Mt. Everest here:


Polar Explorer John Huston

September 14, 2021 – A Tour of The Explorers Club Library with Lacey Flint

Join us on Tuesday, September 14 at 12 PM MDT as Club archivist Lacey Flint shows us some of her favorite artifacts in the Club’s Library at HQ. Note: this will be earlier in the day so we don’t make Lacey stay at work until dark. Wait ’til you see Teddy Roosevelt’s Magic Lantern slides.



Polar Explorer John Huston

June 14, 2021 – Jeff Shesol, author, Mercury Rising       

Learn more about this new book, a riveting history of the momentous Friendship 7 space flight that put America back into the space race.

If the United States couldn’t catch up to the Soviets in space, how could it compete with them on Earth? That was the question facing John F. Kennedy at the height of the Cold War—a moment when the Soviet Union built the wall in Berlin, tested nuclear bombs more destructive than any in history, and beat the US to every major milestone in space. The race to the heavens seemed a race for survival—and America was losing. When John Glenn blasted into orbit on February 20, 1962, his mission was greater than circling Earth; it was to calm the fears of the free world and renew America’s sense of self-belief. Mercury Rising re-creates the sense of tension to a flight that riveted the world. Drawing on new sources, interviews, and Glenn’s personal notes, Mercury Rising shows how the astronaut’s heroics lifted the nation’s hopes in what Kennedy called the “hour of maximum danger.”


Jeff Shesol is the author of Supreme Power and Mutual Contempt, both selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He is a former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and is a founding partner of West Wing Writers.


Learn more about him here:



Polar Explorer John Huston

May 19, 2021 – Jim Davidson Previews  The Next Everest    

On April 25, 2015, TEC member Jim Davidson was climbing Mount Everest when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake released avalanches all around him and his team, destroying their only escape route and trapping them at nearly 20,000 feet. It was the largest earthquake in Nepal in 81 years and killed nearly 8,900 people. That day also became the deadliest in the history of Everest, with 18 people losing their lives on the mountain.

Suspenseful and engrossing, The Next Everest portrays the experience of living through the biggest disaster to ever hit the mountain. Davidson’s background in geology and environmental science makes him uniquely qualified to explain why the seismic threats lurking beneath Nepal are even greater today.


Published by St. Martin’s Press, the book is available (hard cover, e-book, audiobook) now at your local bookstore of through the link below:


Learn more about the book and watch the video here:



Polar Explorer John Huston

April 6, 2021 – Documenting Natural Disasters and Extreme Environments Around the World and How You Can Stay Safe in the Field


Whenever Mother Nature is throwing a temper tantrum, George Kourounis is usually not far away. For over two decades, he’s been documenting extreme forces of nature and natural disasters worldwide, from chasing tornadoes and hurricanes to climbing down inside active volcanoes. He’s appeared on countless television programs on The Weather Channel, Discovery, National Geographic, Netflix, Science Channel and more. 


He often works with scientists to gather data and samples from places that are too difficult or dangerous to access themselves, and has given 5 TEDx talks and addressed the United Nations Environmental Emergencies Forum. George is the Chair of the Canadian Chapter of The Explorers Club, and is Explorer In Residence for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Learn about his fascinating career and pick up some tips on how to stay safe in the field. 

His Wikipedia page is impressive: 




Polar Explorer John Huston

March 2, 2021 – Caving Beneath the Land of the Geysers


Most people associate Yellowstone National Park with geysers and so did RMEC chapter member Jim Pisarowicz until he was dispatched by the National Park Service to help document the massive 1988 Yellowstone wildfire. It was during that time that he came to the realization that these geysers were essentially a system of caves that were connected to the underground plumbing that results in geyser activity in Yellowstone.

This realization set in motion a plan to enter, explore and map some of the caves that he had first seen in 1988. Little did he realize that it would take over a decade to secure permission to explore these caves. Some of the hurdles to overcome once he and his team received a research permit included toxic gases and, understandably, extreme heat under conditions of 100% humidity.

This presentation will discuss how Jim and three fellow cave explorers tackled these issues to explore and map several caves in the Mammoth Hot Springs area of Yellowstone National Park. The talk will also explain the state of those geysers today. 




Polar Explorer John Huston

February 16, 2021 – Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition

In July 1881, Lt. A.W. Greely, the first president of The Explorers Club, and his crew of 24 scientists and explorers were bound for the last region unmarked on global maps. Their goal: Farthest North. What would follow was one of the most extraordinary and terrible voyages ever made. Greely and his men confronted every possible challenge—vicious wolves, sub-zero temperatures, and months of total darkness—as they set about exploring one of the most remote, unrelenting environments on the planet. In May 1882, they broke the 300-year-old record, and returned to camp to eagerly await the resupply ship scheduled to return at the end of the year. Only nothing came. 250 miles south, a wall of ice prevented any rescue from reaching them. Provisions thinned and a second winter descended. Back home, Greely’s wife worked tirelessly against government resistance to rally a rescue mission. 
Months passed, and Greely made a drastic choice: he and his men loaded the remaining provisions and tools onto their five small boats, and pushed off into the treacherous waters. After just two weeks, dangerous floes surrounded them. Now new dangers awaited: insanity, threats of mutiny, and cannibalism. As food dwindled and the men weakened, Greely’s expedition clung desperately to life. Labyrinth of Ice tells the true story of the heroic lives and deaths of these voyagers hell-bent on fame and fortune—at any cost—and how their journey changed the world.
Buddy Levy is the author of seven books and his work has been featured or reviewed in The New York Times, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Kirkus Book Reviews, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, The Daily Beast, The A.V. Club and Library Journal. He was the co-star, for 25 episodes from 2010-2012, on HISTORY Channel’s hit docuseries Brad Meltzer’s DECODED, which aired to an average of 1.7 million weekly viewers and is still airing as reruns today. In 2018 he was an on-camera expert on the 4-part TV Series THE FRONTIERSMEN: The Men Who Built America (HISTORY, Executive Producer Leonardo Di Caprio).




Polar Explorer John Huston

January 7, 2021 – Rowing from California to Hawaii with Tez Steinberg    

In summer 2020, Tez Steinberg of Boulder took social distancing to the extreme by spending 71 days on the Pacific Ocean alone, rowing solo and self-supported from California to Hawaii. Called the United World Challenge, it was a collaborative mission to raise scholarships to United World Colleges, help protect our oceans, and inspire others. And despite a pandemic, being a novice to rowing and the ocean, and training just 30 miles in his boat before rowing out to sea, Tez and his team pulled it off.
In this talk, Tez will give an inside glimpse to his life at sea; lessons from gathering the world’s first dataset on pelagic airborne microplastics (for analysis by Dimitri Deheyn, Ph.D. and fellow member of the Explorers Club), the public’s reaction to the United World Challenge story and more.

Presentation via Zoom at 6:30 PM  MST.



Polar Explorer John Huston

December 3, 2020 – The Priest Grotto Story with Chris Nicola    

Come hear Club member Chris Nicola’s presentation on how five Jewish families survived the Holocaust by taking refuge in a Ukrainian cave in excess of 500 days. Chris describes how he spent ten years developing a story, which he had first heard as a rumor, of how a group of 38 Jews survived the Holocaust by taking refuge in a Ukrainian cave. He searched for years to locate 15 remaining survivors of this group.  

Presentation via Zoom at 6:30 PM  MST.



Polar Explorer John Huston

November 10, 2020 – Hear from George Frandsen, the Number One Collector in the Dinosaur No. 2 Field 


George Frandsen has heard all the jokes from people amused by his passion for collecting fossilized dinosaur excrement – ancient poo if you will. The 41-year-old from Jacksonville, Florida, who started collecting at age 19, holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest collection of coprolites, the scientific name for fossilized poo. The word comes from the Greek Kopros Lithos, meaning “dung stone.”


Join us on Zoom to learn about his rather, er, unique passion.



Polar Explorer John Huston

October 13, 2020 – “Africa’s Greatest Shipwreck: Navigating the Aftermath of the Joola Tragedy in Senegal” with Karen S. Barton 

 In 2002, the Joola, a government-owned Senegalese ferry, capsized off the coast of The Gambia in a tragedy that killed approximately 1,863 people, leaving only 64 survivors. The Joola is recognized as the second worst maritime disaster in peacetime history yet few people are aware of this event and how it shaped the lives of Senegalese people.  

Karen will speak about her book project which serves as the first investigation into the roots of the Joola shipwreck and its consequences for rural communities in Senegal and The Gambia.  

Through three summers of mixed methods fieldwork, her book, coming out this fall: (1) explores the geographic push and pull factors that encouraged communities from the rural Casamance to travel on the Joola in the first place; (2) the series of logistical mistakes that gave rise to the September 26 event; and (3) highlights community resilience in disaster-affected communities as well as the global forces (fishing piracy, climate change) that continue to challenge everyday livelihoods in Casamance. This project was funded by both Fulbright and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


A Zoom presentation at 6:30 PM MDT. Karen S. Barton, Professor of Geography, GIS, and Sustainability, University of Northern Colorado


Polar Explorer John Huston

October 10, 2020 – Walk with the Prairie Dogs and Picnic Afterwards 

We can’t live our entire lives on Zoom. Sometimes explorers have to get out and, well, explore a bit. Masked up and socially distant, of course. Join us to learn how prairie dogs, specifically the black tailed prairie dog of the Great Plains, have been systematically persecuted by western land holders and governments starting in the mid-1800s, but taking off in about 1900, resulting in an approximate 95% decline in their numbers since that time. 
Beginning with a coordinated Federal extermination plan in about 1902, prairie dogs were systematically poisoned, exploded, shot, drowned and starved to make way for cattle ranching, wheat farming, green lawns, water infrastructure development, and road and home development. During this walk and talk event, learn that like the bison, prairie dogs are among the great ecological catastrophes of the 1900’s, ranking among the most egregious acts of an American culture hell bent on Western domestication and profit making.
Learn about the importance of prairie dogs from our guide, Robert “Mac” Kobza, a wildlife biologist in the Boulder County Parks & Open Space department. Mac is a native of Northern Ohio and earned his B.Sc. in Biology from Bowling Green State University. He earned a M.Sc. in Biology from Florida International University with a thesis examining critically imperiled rockland pool habitats within Everglades National Park. Mac was one of the primary authors of the county Prairie Dog Management Plan and remains active in prairie dog conservation. Mac resides in Longmont with his wife, Mikki, a recently-inducted Explorers Club member, and 12 year old son, Nick.
There is no charge. Guests welcome to attend this child-friendly outing. 
Directions: Boulder Valley Ranch Open Space features a three mile wide trail with great views. Proceed north on Broadway and turn left (north) onto Highway 36. About one mile north of the Broadway/36 intersection, turn right (east) onto Longhorn Road (dirt). The turn-off from the highway is marked with a sign for Boulder Valley Ranch Open Space. Park in the lot on the south side. There are bathroom facilities there. Bring water, sunscreen, etc. This is more a walk than a hike. 
Picnic immediately afterwards at Dakota Ridge Park. Bring whatever you want to eat, drink and sit upon. There is no bathroom facility in the park.

Polar Explorer John Huston

September 16, 2020 – “Exploring Antarctica’s Dry Valleys” with Dr. Michael Gooseff 


The McMurdo Dry Valleys are the largest ice-free region of Antarctica.  They were first discovered by Robert F. Scott’s party in the early 1900’s, and have since become an important scientific resource for research on fundamental life sciences, geology, and extraterrestrial studies. Dr. Gooseff has been conducting research in the Dry Valleys since 1998 and is currently leading a large long-term ecological research project there. He will discuss some of the science and natural and human history of the dry valleys.  


Dr. Michael Gooseff is Professor of Hydrology, Water Resources & Environmental Fluid Mechanics  Environmental Engineering

University of Colorado – Boulder   


Location: Zoom – just “tune” in. 6:30 PM MDT. 

Polar Explorer John Huston

June 18, 2020 – Live Presentation via Zoom – An Evening With Polar Explorer John Huston


John Huston is a professional polar explorer and veteran of the first American unsupported expedition to the North Pole. He has completed major expeditions to the South Pole, on Greenland, and to Canada’s fabled Ellesmere Island.  

He began his career as an instructor and sled dog trainer at the Voyageur Outward Bound School in northern Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, where he fell in love with winter expeditions. John is also a motivational speaker, safety and logistics consultant, and wilderness guide. He regularly speaks to companies and organizations, referencing his expeditions to discuss overcoming challenges. John and his family live on the outskirts of Boulder.


Location: Zoom – just “tune” in. 

Polar Explorer John Huston

May 14, 2020 – A Conversation with Mark Armstrong, son of Neil and Janet Armstrong


This month as the Rocky Mountain chapter continues its COVID-era online meetings, we’re pleased that Mark Armstrong is available to discuss how the Armstrong family is maintaining their father’s legacy, and the continued importance of space exploration, especially now when reliance in science could potentially cure some of the world’s most pressing ills. 

Mark is an entrepreneur, engineer, singer/songwriter, actor and public speaker. He spent 25 years working in technology, writing software and delivering products and services for companies such as WebTV, Apple, Microsoft, Symantec and Electronic Arts. He wrote and sings backup vocals for the song “Flight of Fancy” which is the end-credit song for the documentary film Armstrong.    

He and his wife, Wendy, have three children and reside in Cincinnati, Ohio. Mark is a corporate advisor to several hi-tech organizations and serves on numerous non-profit boards. He is a graduate of Stanford University with a degree in physics.

To prepare for this engaging Zoom-based presentation, we suggest you watch the Armstrong movie on Amazon Prime, iTunes or YouTube. 

Armstrong (2019) is the definitive life story of Neil Armstrong: from his childhood in Ohio to his first steps on the Moon, and beyond. Featuring the voice of Harrison Ford.  

Location: Zoom – just “tune” in. 

April 14, 2020 – Live Presentation via Zoom – Denver Zookeeper, Dave Johnson


Can bees fight against elephant stampedes? What’s being done about poaching rhinos? Come join us for a fascinating evening with Dave Johnson, a zookeeper at the Denver Zoo who has been on the pachyderm team for 22 years. Dave has written three children’s books about animals and travels the world with a non-profit he founded called the Katie Adamson Conservation Fund that works with wildlife conservation initiatives on a global stage.


No RSVP necessary, just “tune” in at 6:30 PM on Tuesday, April 14.

March 13, 2020 – Shuttle Houston: My Life in the Center Seat of Mission Control by Paul Dye 


Paul Dye retired from NASA in 2013 as a Lead Flight Director for Human Spaceflight after serving as flight Director for nearly 20 years on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs. His forthcoming book, Shuttle Houston: My Life, in the Center Seat of Mission Control (Hachette Books, 2020), tells the stories of those years flying human beings in space, developing and executing missions to do science, deploy payloads, and build structures in space.   

He will share these stories in his talk, bringing the audience inside the walls of MCC-Houston to learn just what it was like to be a part of the history of space exploration. From the deadly serious problems the teams faced to the humorous moments that the public might never hear about, the tales Dye tells are authentic views of spaceflight in the years after the moon landings, as NASA developed the capability to give mankind a permanent foothold in space.

February 25, 2020 – Adventure Freediving with Mehgan Heaney-Grier


Adventure Freediving – Trail Blazing, Conservation, and Working Underwater, a presentation by Mehgan Heaney-Grier, a lifelong ocean adventurer with more than 20 years experience working above and below the waterline. In 1996, Mehgan pioneered the sport of freediving in the United States by establishing the first U.S. freedive record for both men and women, in the constant weight category. 

She’s an accomplished athlete, professional speaker, marine educator, conservationist, expedition leader, stunt diver and television personality. 

As an ocean advocate, adventurer and storyteller across multiple media platforms, Mehgan is dedicated to raising awareness and empowering the next generation of ocean stewards to engage and tackle the critical issues facing our oceans today. For more about Mehgan: @mehganheaneygrier,  

January 14, 2020 – Unknown Waters with Captain Alfred Scott McLaren


“Unknown Waters: A First-Hand Account of the Historic Under-Ice Survey of the Siberian Continental Shelf by USS Queenfish (SSN 651)” presentation by Alfred Scott McLaren, Captain, USN (Ret.), Ph.D., MED ’71.

 Dr. McLaren is a retired U.S. Navy Captain, recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal and two Legions of Merit, President Emeritus of The Explorers Club, and Senior Pilot of the SAS Aviator submersible. He is a noted undersea explorer who has dived on such historically important wrecks as Titanic and Bismarck. 

Learn more about the book in The New York Times:

December 5, 2019 – Adventuring in the Name of Science with Gregg Treinish

Gregg Treinish founded Adventure Scientists in 2011 to get scientists the data they need to create lasting, positive changes for the environment by harnessing the skills and passion of the outdoor community. Join him as he relives the grueling adventures and insights that led to the founding of this nonprofit based in Bozeman, Montana, and discover his inspiring new cast of heroes: the scientists driving the research the organization supports. 

National Geographic named Gregg an Adventurer of the Year in 2008 when he and a friend completed a 7,800-mile trek along the spine of the Andes Mountain Range. He has undertaken several epic long-distance treks, served as a field technician on diverse expeditions, and guided others to experience the wild firsthand. His creation and running of Adventure Scientists has garnered him accolades as a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur, an Ashoka Fellow, and in 2018 one of the Grist 50 “Fixers.” 

Boulder location: 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m., Fjallraven Store, 1048 Pearl Street. No RSVP required. No charge.

November 14, 2019 – Using Archaeology for Conservation in the Peruvian Andes


Presented by chapter member, Preston Sewell. Location: Colorado Chautauqua in Boulder, 6:30 PM. $12 admission. For more information and to RSVP:

Using his background in science, photography, and mountaineering, Preston Sowell has been conducting research expeditions to study high-altitude ecosystems and environmental responses to climate change in the South American Andes for over 15 years.
His discoveries and efforts to protect the area are the subject of an upcoming National Geographic documentary.



November 12, 2019 – 10th Mountain Division presentation, Denver


It is our privilege to host a dinner presentation by Tom Hames of the Tenth Mountain Division Foundation. His talk is titled “Skiing Off to War, an Overview of the 10th Mountain Division and Camp Hale.”

Tom is the Chairman Emeritus of the Tenth Mountain Foundation and the son of a WWII 10th Mountain soldier. As a noted trial attorney in the Rocky Mountain West, he is an accomplished speaker with an interesting perspective. Members no charge; guests $10. The Cheesecake Factory, 1201 16th St., Denver.



November 1, 2019 – Tour the National Ice Core Laboratory, Denver


Join us for a private tour of the National Science Foundation Ice Core Facility (NSF-ICF). Formerly the National Ice Core Laboratory (NICL), the facility stores, curates, and studies meteoric ice cores recovered from the glaciated regions of the world. NSF-ICF provides scientists with the capability to conduct examinations and measurements on ice cores, and it preserves the integrity of these ice cores in a long-term repository for future investigations. Members no charge; guests $10.



October 29, 2019 – Exclusive Tour of the Chamberlin Observatory, Denver


Chamberlin Observatory is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was renovated in 2008 by the University of Denver with the support of a Historic Colorado grant, the Observatory Park community, and the Denver Astronomical Society.

The $15 fee for both members and guests includes a small donation to the chapter.



October 11 – 13, 2019 – Chapter Outing to Montrose, CO


The chapter travels to Montrose for a tour of the Shavano Valley Petroglyph Park and a fascinating talk by Kelvin Kent, a member of Chris Bonington’s British teams for Annapurna (1970) and Everest (1972). In 1971, he was deputy leader of the British Trans-Americas Expedition which took two Range Rovers from Anchorage to Terra Del Fuego in southern Chile. 



September 24, 2019 – Michael Seibert

Learn about the twin Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity and what became of the first overland expedition on Mars. From 2005 to 2017, Seibert, MN’19, was part of the flight operations team for the twin rovers. A robotic systems engineer, he will discuss what it’s like to drive a Mars Rover, scientific discoveries from the mission, and overcoming challenges to extend the 90-day mission to more than 14 years.


During his 12 years exploring Mars, Michael performed many operations roles ultimately becoming the mission’s Lead Flight Director and a rover driver. Members no charge; guests $10. Gondolier Italian Eatery, Boulder, CO.



June 25, 2019 – Clay Bonnyman Evans

This will be our annual meeting and final dinner of the season featuring author and researcher Clay Bonnyman Evans. Based on nearly a decade of field work and archival research, Evans’ Bones of My Grandfather explores the life, death and unprecedented 2015 recovery of the author’s grandfather, 1st Lt. Alexander Bonnyman, Jr., a former Santa Fe resident who posthumously received the Medal of Honor after being killed in the Battle of Tarawa on Nov. 22, 1943. Evans, who was present when his grandfather was unearthed after more than seven decades, presents compelling slides and video of this remarkable story.
Author of Bones of My Grandfather: Reclaiming a Lost Hero of  World War II – Available now from booksellers and online retailers everywhere,  Members no charge; guests $10. RSVP required. The Cheesecake Factory, 1201 16th St., Denver, CO



May 8, 2019 – Dr. Peter Van Arsdale

Trans-oceanic and land expeditions have defined much of history for the past 500 years, and – as they have been recounted and analyzed – have defined much of what The Explorers Club has focused on.  
Peter Van Arsdale, Ph.D., FN’79, will report on three of the most well-known: James Cook/New Guinea (1770), Edward Wilson and Robert Falcon Scott/Antarctica (1911/1912), and William Bligh/South Pacific (1787/1789). He has indirect, personal ties to all three. To set the stage, he’ll also briefly describe his own voyage of discovery and “first contact” in New Guinea (1974).
Peter is Director, African Initiatives, Adjunct Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver. Members no charge; guests $10. RSVP required. Boulder location TBD.



April 16, 2019 – Leonard David

Leonard David is a space journalist reporting on space activities for over 50 years. He has recently completed a new book for National Geographic: Moon Rush – The New Space Race to be released in May 2019. Mr. David is author of Mars – Our Future on the Red Planet published by National Geographic in October 2016. The book is the companion volume to Mars – a National Geographic Channel television series from executive producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. Leonard is co-author with Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin of Mission to Mars – My Vision for Space Exploration released in May 2013 and published by the National Geographic Society.

Members no charge; guests $10. RSVP required. Starts 6:30 p.m. Gondolier Restaurant, 4800 Baseline Road, Boulder, CO  




7 PM, March 29, 2019 – Cheetah Presentation at the Denver Zoo – Dr. Laurie Marker

Come to this free event featuring Dr. Laurie Marker, research scientist and conservation biologist recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on the cheetah. As Founder and Executive Director of Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), Dr. Marker has pioneered research, established conservation models and created cooperative alliances on behalf of the cheetah that had not previously existed.

The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is the global leader in research and conservation of cheetahs. Founded in Namibia in 1990, CCF is dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. Cheetahs used to thrive in numbers of over 100,000 over a range that stretched across most of Africa through Asia; today there are less than 7,500 remaining, occupying only 9% of their natural range. The cheetah is Africa’s most endangered big cat. Namibia, with an estimated 2,000 wild cheetahs, has approximately a quarter of the remaining cheetahs.



February 26, 2019 – The Recovery of Apollo 11 Rocket Engines – David Concannon

David Concannon, FN ’96, has more than 25 years of experience organizing and leading expeditions to remote parts of the world, including a climbing expedition in Africa in 1989 (before Western-guided climbs were common), three expeditions to explore the wreck of the Titanic using manned submersibles, an expedition that discovered the world’s deepest wooden shipwreck in the heart of the Bermuda Triangle, and an expedition to explore the HMHS Britannic, sister ship of the Titanic.

In 2010, founder Jeff Bezos asked David to lead the Apollo F-1 Engine Search & Recovery Project. Over the course of three years and two expeditions, David’s team of 100 eventually found the remnants of eight Apollo missions, 4,300 meters deep in the Atlantic Ocean, and recovered the F-1 rocket engines that launched men to the moon.  In 2014, David and his team were awarded The Explorers Club Citation of Merit for “An outstanding feat of exploration.”  David will take you deep into the Atlantic Ocean to find the lost remnants of one of mankind’s greatest achievements, through storms and multiple challenges, with only one purpose: to inspire a new generation to invent and explore.



January 29, 2019 – Ricardo Peña

Ricardo is a professional musician and mountaineer. On February 12, 2005, he discovered the coat, wallet and documents of Andes Survivor Eduardo Strauch as well other previously undiscovered airplane parts, while climbing near the impact point of the famous plane crash popularized in the book and movie “Alive!” In December 2005, with a grant from National Geographic, Ricardo led the first and only to date complete re-tracing of the historic escape route done by Andes Survivors Roberto Canessa and Nando Parrado in 1972. Ricardo has been featured in many documentaries, including History Channel’s “I Am Alive: Surviving the Andes Plane Crash” and is considered an expert on the Andes Survivors. Come hear about this incredible survival story in person. Location in Denver TBD.

Learn more about Ricardo here:

January 13, 2019 – Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Denver Zoo Rhino Enclosure

Join us for a fascinating tour and meet and greet with Rudy, the 24-year-old endangered black rhino. Our tour will be led by Denver zookeeper David Johnson, wildlife biologist, book author, conservationist and self-professed animal nerd. Your only cost is the admission to the zoo. Learn more about his conservation fund at:

December 18, 2018 – Chapter Holiday Party

Come join us at our annual chapter holiday party at the South Boulder home of Karyn Sawyer, 390 Inca Parkway, Boulder (c) 303-717-8863. Time: 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Members: BYOB; guests $10.

November 14, 2018 – The Search for Amelia Earhart – Andrew McKenna

Amelia Earhart’s disappearance is perhaps the last great unsolved mystery of the 20th century, and it has captivated aviation enthusiasts, researchers and the general public for more than 80 years.  During that time many tantalizing clues have been discovered, analyzed, and interpreted leading to differing conclusions as to the fate of Amelia and her navigator Fred Noonan.

Andrew McKenna of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR – will present the case for Amelia and Fred’s forced landing, survival, and eventual death on Nikumaroro (formerly Gardner) Island in the Phoenix Group. Andrew has participated in five expeditions to Nikumaroro as an archaeological researcher and SCUBA team member and his presentation will show how the artifacts recovered, archival research, and forensic analysis of historic photos, radio reception patterns and other data support the hypothesis that Nikumaroro is the last resting place of Fred Noonan and Amelia Earhart.

6:30 cocktails, 7:45 presentation

Gondolier Restaurant, 4800 Baseline Road, Boulder

Members: no admission charge; guests $10.

RSVP by Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018 to

October 10, 2018 – Sue Purvis

Sue will discuss the general principles of wilderness and rescue medicine with topics including: how do you tell the difference between what is a life-threatening emergency and what is not; the risk/benefit ratio – critical thinking in unconventional settings; how to stay alive in the backcountry; and what to carry. She will share lessons learned from Nepal, Antarctica, Africa and Colorado. Q and A to follow. In addition, she will discuss her new book (October 2, 2018 release), “GO FIND: My Journey to Find the Lost—And Myself,” a memoir that takes place in the high-country of Colorado, specifically in Crested Butte.

Susan Purvis is a lead instructor with Wilderness Medical Associates and the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE). She is a professional member of the American Avalanche Association (AAA), the Explorers Club, and Wilderness Medical Society.

Learn more about her at


September 20, 2018 – The Songs of Trees – David Haskell

Our lives are deeply connected to those of trees. The oxygen in our lungs, the wood in our houses, the water in our taps, the natural diversity and beauty of our planet, all depend on forests. In the Front Range, this relationship is particularly strong: the vitality of the human economy and the ecology of the region is dependent on the health of forests, yet these forests are changing rapidly as urbanization, fire, drought, and other changes sweep across the region.

David George Haskell is a Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of numerous writing and teaching awards. He will discuss his latest book, The Songs of Trees, winner of the Burroughs Medal and a “Best of 2017” pick from NPR’s Science Friday. Haskell repeatedly visited a dozen trees around the world, exploring how people and trees and connected in places as diverse as the Amazon rainforest, the Old City of Jerusalem, the streets of Manhattan, and the Front Range of Colorado. Writing in Brain Pickings, Maria Popova said of the book: “Haskell proves himself to be the rare kind of scientist Rachel Carson was when long ago she pioneered a new cultural aesthetic of poetic prose about science…a resplendent read in its entirety”.


August 25, 2018 – Chapter Picnic

Rocky Mountain High – Members and guests of the Rocky Mountain Chapter met at the Ward, Colorado, mountain home of Andrew (TEC member) and Jacquie McKenna for its summer picnic in August 2018. Silver Spruce Ranch, which currently has approximately 800 acres under conservation easement, is one of the largest privately owned ranch properties in Boulder County west of the foothills. Members hiked, fly-fished and provided updates on their latest projects.


June 19, 2018 – Scott Carney

Presentation by investigative journalist and anthropologist Scott Carney (, author of What Doesn’t Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength, New York Times bestseller. He’ll speak about how the environment shapes human biology. Denver location TBD.

Photo credit: Jeremy Liebman

May 1, 2018 – Michael Kodas


Michael Kodas is the Deputy Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism in the University of Colorado’s College of Media, Communication and Information. He is the author of  two books of investigative, narrative non-fiction, including Megafire: The Race to Extinguish a Deadly Epidemic of Flame, which was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the summer of 2017. His work focuses on environmental issues including overfishing, deforestation, climate change, development and wildfire. His writing and photojournalism have appeared in the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The Denver Post, National Public Radio, The PBS Newshour, Newsweek, the CBS Evening News, OnEarth, National Geographic New Watch, Mother Jones, and many other publications. He was part of the team at The Hartford Courant awarded The Pulitzer Prize and has been honored with awards from the Pictures of Year International competition, the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Press Photographers Association. His book, High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed, was named Best Non-Fiction in USA Book News’ National Best Books Awards of 2008, and was a question on the game show Jeopardy.

March 14, 2018 – Luis Benitez


Over the course of a decade, Luis Benitez has quietly emerged amongst a growing field of climbers as one of the more experienced, respected and busiest professional guides and leadership development consultants in the world. Throughout his career, Luis has summited the top of the famed “Seven Summits” a cumulative 32 times, including being a six-time summiteer of Mt. Everest. Between managing expeditions on some of the most remote peaks in the world, while consulting with a deep and varied group of clientele, Benitez works to tie the lessons available from the outdoors and carry them back to the everyday challenges of life and business during his keynote presentations and seminars.

At the heart of his career, Luis has always focused on teaching as well as serving. Some of his most rewarding work has been to help create the nonprofit “Trekking For Kids”, which focuses on service based expeditions allowing participants to climb and trek while teaching them about local issues like housing and healthcare for orphans around the world, as well as Warriors to Summits, a nonprofit focusing on serving returning Veterans by connecting them with the outdoors. Throughout all of this, Benitez has managed and led programming in Ecuador and Chile for the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Benitez has currently grown to have a deeper investment in public service 1st by serving as a Town Councilman in Eagle, Colorado and now currently serving as the 1st State Director for the Outdoor Recreation Industry office for the State of Colorado.

January 16, 2018 – Preston Sowell

High Altitude, Underwater Archaeology and Sacred Landscapes in the Peruvian Andes

In 2011, Preston Sowell made the serendipitous discovery of ruins and artifacts submerged 15 ft beneath the waters of a large, remote lake located at 16,000 ft in the Peruvian Andes. Subsequent expeditions and research have revealed that the site held ceremonial significance to the pre-Incan and Incan peoples and its cultural resources may hold the key to protecting the rich ecosystem surrounding it. To the Incan culture and its predecessors, the landscape itself was sacred and archaeologists have come to realize that ceremonial structures were integrated with the landscapes surrounding them. Preston will present the team’s findings to date and the evidence suggesting that the lake and its surrounding watershed were part of a sacred, cultural landscape. He’ll also present the results of their August 2017 underwater artifact recovery expedition.

Preston is an environmental scientist, naturalist, photographer, and explorer residing in Boulder, Colorado. He is an Explorers Club Fellow, a National Geographic Explorer, and a Research Associate with the Denver Zoo. He has lead, supported, and photographed expeditions to 21 countries around the world, including 15 scientific expeditions to remote areas of South America.

November 14, 2017 – Eric Larsen

Polar adventurer, expedition guide, dog musher and educator, Eric Larsen has spent the past 15 years of his life traveling in some of the most remote and wild places left on earth. In 2006, Eric and Lonnie Dupre completed the first ever summer expedition to the North Pole. During this journey, the duo pulled and paddled specially modified canoes across 550 miles of shifting sea ice and open ocean. Eric successfully led his first expedition to the South Pole in 2008, covering nearly 600 miles in 41 days. Eric is now one of only a few Americans in to have skied to both the North and South Poles. In November 2009, Eric returned to Antarctica for the first leg of his world record Save the Poles expedition. This time he completed a 750-mile ski traverse to the geographic South arriving on January 2, 2010. Two short months later he was dropped off at northern Ellesmere Island for a winter-style North Pole Journey. The international team reached the North Pole 51 days later on Earth Day – April 22, 2010. He completed the Save the Poles expedition by reaching the summit of Mt. Everest on October 15th, 2010 becoming the first person in history to reach the world’s three ‘poles’ within a 365-day period.

September 25, 2017 – Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza

The Truth About Sharks

Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza is passionate about sharing her love of the ocean, the joy of exploration and the critical importance of science.  Her research focuses on the sensory biology and ecological physiology of sharks, skates and rays. Mikki has been a tireless advocate for sharks, highlighting their global declines and framing new directions for their conservation. Mikki has been invited to speak, educate and conduct research at labs and institutions in South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. Her outreach efforts have been documented in film, magazine and radio by the BBC, National Geographic, Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, and CBC National Radio Canada. Mikki strives to bridge the gap between research and public engagement. She believes that when people are aware, they care and when they care, they act. Her current position as Executive Director of Ocean First Institute allows her to promote research, conservation, and sustainability. The Institute supports expeditions and a variety of education initiatives that engage students and public alike. Mikki holds a Ph.D. in Integrative Biology from Florida Atlantic University and is the author of numerous scientific publications.

June 24, 2017 – Dr. Ulyana Horodyskyj

Extreme Science: From the Arctic to the Antarctic to the Himalaya

Ulyana talks about her adventure science expeditions spanning the globe: from working on the back deck of an icebreaker in Antarctica as part of a team from Rice University, to tracking melting of debris-covered glaciers in Nepal for her PhD, to measuring snow pollution impacts on Baffin Island (Canadian Arctic) with partial sponsorship from National Geographic. Ulyana runs “Science in the Wild,” an adventure travel company aimed at getting ordinary people out on citizen science expeditions – pushing their limits as well as pushing the realm of what’s possible in field science.

Ulyana received her PhD in geological sciences from the University of Colorado Boulder in May 2015. Prior to that, she completed her Masters degree in planetary geology at Brown University and B.S. in earth science at Rice University. In September/October 2016, she was chosen as mission commander for the NASA Johnson Space Center’s HERA (human exploration research analog) 30-day isolation experiment, simulating a long-duration mission to an asteroid. Ulyana was named one of 120 semifinalists out of 18,354 applicants for NASA’s 2017 astronaut class.

April 8, 2017 – Michael Brown: New Technology Advances the Art of Storytelling

The Rocky Mt. chapter hosted adventure athlete and filmmaker, Michael Brown, on April 8 for an overview on how new video and filmmaking technology is helping explorers tell their stories.

Brown’s films have spanned all seven continents and covered subjects from the conservation of wild places to social justice. His work as a director and cinematographer has won many festival and industry awards including three Emmys. He has captured ice caves for NOVA, tornadoes for Discovery, science at the South Pole for National Geographic, mountain climbing for IMAX and avalanches for the BBC. 

Brown (left) is shown holding a late 1990s era 15 lbs. video camera and housing that was replaced by a modern-day 5.2 oz. GoPro Hero4 shown in the hands of Greg Holland, FN11, from Boulder and Melbourne, Australia.

“It’s beyond remarkable how cameras now used in expeditions have improved,” Brown said. “The quality now is unbelievable.”