“Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” ~ Albert Schweitzer
The Explorers Club
It’s now official and it pleases me to no end to confirm I have been elected a “Fellow” in the world renowned Explorers Club. Established in 1904, the Explorers Club is a New York City-based professional society that includes approximately 3,000 members in more than 60 countries who are dedicated to the advancement of field research, scientific exploration, and “the instinct to explore.” As of December 17, 2015, there were 229 members in the Explorer Club’s Canadian Chapter.
The Explorer Club’s mission statement is as follows:
“The Explorers Club promotes the scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space by supporting research and education in the physical, natural and biological sciences. The Club’s members have been responsible for an illustrious series of famous firsts: First to the North Pole, first to the South Pole, first to the summit of Mount Everest, first to the deepest point in the ocean, first to the surface of the moon—all accomplished by our members. The Explorers Club mission is to advance field research, scientific exploration, resource conservation, and the ideal that it is vital to preserve the instinct to explore.”
A Fraternity Of Adventurers
Legendary members in this “fraternity of adventurers” has included Arctic explorer Robert Peary, Antarctic explorer Roald Amundsen, mountaineers Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, three former U.S. presidents, Kon-Tiki expedition’s Thor Heyerdahl along with modern day explorers such as marine biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle, inventor of sub sea submersibles and the NewtSuit Dr. Phil Nuytten, anthropologist Jane Goodall, film director James Cameron and Space-X founder Elon Musk to name just a few. Understandably, acceptance into this prestigious club is not awarded without merit. Fellowship in the Explorers Club is reserved for those individuals who have distinguished themselves in some way by directly contributing to scientific knowledge in the field of geographical exploration or allied sciences. Such accomplishments are proven by having a deep résumé of expeditions, adventures, scholarships, and/or publications documenting scientific fieldwork or explorations, but may also be documented in books, popular media, or broadcast media. Along with securing letters of support from two current club members, all new member applications are also vetted by a judicious membership panel at the Explorers Club headquarters.
Some Thank You’s Are In Order
I must express my sincere thanks to several people who encouraged and supported my membership application.
First, my sponsor, Susan R. Eaton (MI’11), P.Geol., P. Geoph., M.Sc., DIC, B.Sc. Hon., B.J. (Journalism) Hon., Regional Director, Prairies/NWT Explorers Club – Canadian Chapter, Explorers Club. Susan is also founder and leader of the 2014-2016 Sedna Epic Polar Expedition, named as one of Canada’s top 100 modern-day explorers by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2015, Susan has since been elected to the College of Fellows of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. It was over dinner earlier this year that Susan encouraged, and by her own words insisted, that I apply for membership to the Explorers Club. Susan, far beyond all your noteworthy accomplishments, you have more importantly become a close friend to both Kathryn and I. It is with sincere gratitude that I thank you for your inspiration, inner elegance, and enthusiastic support.
Second, and someone who I have known for half my lifetime, my co-sponsor and another close friend, Donnie Reid (FI’11), Canadian Chapter, Citation of Merit 2012. Donnie, we have shared about as much together in this lifetime as blood brothers. Thank you for your steadfast support and loyal friendship which means far more to me than mere words could ever express.
Third, John Pollack (FI’06), Membership Director of the Explorers Club Canadian Chapter and a nautical surveyor who was also named one of Canada’s top 100 modern-day explorers by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2015. John graciously volunteered to personally forward my application to The Explorers Club’s New York headquarters. John, I thank you so much for your kind support and generous spirit and I so look forward to perhaps sharing a great adventure and a fine scotch together in the years to come.
Last, and certainly not least, when I was seemingly dragging my heels with pulling together my membership application, it was my wife, Kathryn, who figuratively lit my flame when she emphatically stated, “You must, do this.” Kathryn, if I may paraphrase Emily Brontë, “Whatever our souls are made of, yours and mine are the same.” You are, without peer, the greatest adventure of them all.
Behind Every Beautiful Thing There’s Been Some Kind Of Pain
Of course, mom is immensely proud. Yet, I cannot escape the weight of words that Nobel laureate Bob Dylan once wrote, “Behind every beautiful thing there’s been some kind of pain.” If there is anything at all bittersweet about this honor, it is that both my dad and younger brother are not alive to share this moment with me. My dad passed away 20 years ago this week, and my brother 10 ½ years ago. We love and miss them both and remain confident their spirits watch over us.
The Instinct To Explore
Sir Edmund Hillary once said, “Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons. Science is used to raise money for the expeditions, but you really climb for the hell of it.” On this third stone from the sun, there still remains much to be explored. Whether for science, or simply just doing it for the hell of it, the “instinct to explore” continuously beckons. I look forward to being an active member in the Explorers Club’s Canadian Chapter.