The Changing Face of the Arctic
A Night at the Royal Ontario Museum
Who was Lowell Thomas?
The 2017 Lowell Thomas Award Winners
HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, FI ‘14
Prince Albert II of Monaco has long been dedicated to the protection of the environment and focuses on fighting climate change, promoting renewable energy, combating the loss of biodiversity, and preserving water resources through his Prince Albert II Foundation. He has also participated in research expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic, thus becoming the first head of state to reach both poles. He is a member of the Ocean Elders group and serves on the Advisory Committee for Students on Ice.
Donn Haglund, Ph.D., FE ‘72
Dr. Haglund is a Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of Wisconsin, where he created and taught a pioneering Arctic wilderness field course for more than 40 years. He earned his Ph.D. in economic geography from the University of Pennsylvania, based on work done in Greenland. He is recognized internationally for his expertise in maritime transport in support of Arctic economic development, and for his dedication to scientific research in these areas.
Martin T. Nweeia D.M.D., D.D.S, FN ‘99
Dr. Martin Nweeia is a research scientist, explorer, professor and scholar on the functional significance of the narwhal tusk and Inuit knowledge. His landmark studies on narwhal tusk sensory function have earned him nine grants from the National Science Foundation, as well as awards from The National Geographic Society, Harvard University, and the Smithsonian Institution. He is currently lecturer at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, a clinical assistant professor at Case School of Dental Medicine, and a research associate in vertebrate zoology at the Smithsonian Institution.
Konrad Steffen, Dr.sc.nat.ETH
Dr. Konrad Steffen is Director, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research and Professor, Institute of Atmosphere & Climate, ETH-Zurich. Previously he was Director CIRES, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, and Professor Emeritus of Geography, both positions at University of Colorado Boulder. His interests include climate and cryosphere interaction in polar and alpine regions. In particular, he researches sea level changes sensitivity studies of large ice sheets using in situ and modeling results.
“On the death of a friend, we should consider that the fates through confidence have devolved on us the task of a double living, that we have henceforth to fulfill the promise of our friend’s life also, in our own, to the world.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
It has taken a few weeks to allow thoughts to sink in on what I’m about to write. During my lifetime I have, from shattered experience, learned it is never easy to say goodbye to a friend. Harder still when it is their untimely death that takes them away without any opportunity to say goodbye. It leaves you with a dull empty feeling deep down inside. A feeling you know that in time will pass, but not without first wreaking some havoc on your concept about what life is about?
A circumstance beyond our control
Kathryn and I were in Chicago earlier this month when we learned that Twyla Roscovich had been missing for several days. On September 7th her family, friends and acquaintances sprung into action to find her. Unfortunately, there was no happy ending. On Friday September 15th, Roscovich’s family released a written statement saying Twyla’s body was discovered near Fisherman’s Wharf in Campbell River. The family didn’t release any details about her death but said no foul play was suspected. Paul Ross, Twyla’s former partner and father of their four-year-old daughter Ruby, had previously commented Twyla had been struggling with a thyroid condition for several years and apparently had become very frustrated. It is utterly impossible not to feel deep sorrow for all concerned, most of all for Twyla.
Enchanted to meet you
While on a diving trip with a group of friends to Browning Passage HideAway Diving Resort in October 2016, I met Twyla, Paul and Ruby when they anchored their ship, Samphire, in Clam Cove. Unbeknownst to me, Twyla and I had several close friends in common. She had come ashore to have a drink and meet everyone staying at the lodge. We were chatting across the kitchen table when all of a sudden her face lit up and she blurted out, “You’re Jett Britnell! I’ll admit I was somewhat surprised but, as it turned out, she had cut her teeth reading about my scuba diving adventures published in Canada’s DIVER Magazine as she was growing up. “A lot of people on the BC coast know who you are,” she said. For me, it was one of those moments in life where someone else reminds you of who you are, and who you may have influenced. I learned from Twyla about the documentary film work she had done and our friendship, along with my admiration for her, was born. Over the next few days there were several opportunities to talk with Twyla and Paul, and we even enjoyed an opportunity to muster up enough dive gear for Twyla to come for a dive with our group. Everybody who had just met her over these halcyon fall days were enamored by her enthusiasm, camaraderie, and exceedingly engaging personality.
So, who is Twyla Roscovich?
Twyla was a 38 year-old independent documentary filmmaker, environmentalist, activist and mother whose documentaries advocated for First Nations, marine life, wild life and conservation. She rather brilliantly employed science in her documentary “Salmon Confidential” (which she made while pregnant) to speak out against salmon farming in British Columbia. Salmon Confidential garnered worldwide attention for revealing the provincial government’s cover up of what was killing British Columbia’s wild salmon. She was an eco-warrior par excellence whose films will long be remembered as they did much to educate the general public and the chronically uninformed.
In May 2017, Twyla and I shared our last brief exchange over Facebook Messenger. She messaged back and I told her I would be picking her brain about video post processing in the coming months. She also confirmed that her and Paul had mutually agreed to part ways, but that it was all good. I wished her, Paul & Ruby all the best. All seemed congruent with the Twyla I had met last fall. It seemed as if we had known each other for a long time. She was just young enough to be my daughter, but had accomplished so much during her lifetime.
Those whom the God’s love
It’s been said… “Those whom the God’s love, die young.” Having lost other close friends during my lifetime, I’m not so sure about this quote. Sometimes the God’s must be crazy because nobody on this earth was ready to say goodbye to you, Twyla, nor some other dear friends of mine. During your short sweet life, you touched the hearts and minds of so many. I doubt you could truly know the breadth and width your spirit embraced others. However briefly, I feel I am indeed richer for knowing you. To live in the hearts of others is never to die. With determination, all who loved you take on the task of a double living and, I’m certain, will do their level best to fulfill the promise of your life. This will be a heavy task as you left behind a mighty big hole to fill. For your family and friends, may the memories and unbridled love of your life force shine a blinding light upon their souls through the shroud of dark clouds hovering over their heads as they struggle to heal and come to terms with the weight of your passing. Acceptance during grief is never painless to accept. In our own, to the world, it is no less easy to comprehend. May love and light reign triumphant as we are all connected on this beautiful blue planet. And so now, with a heavy heart but indomitable purpose, it is I who is saying to you, my friend, “You’re Twyla Roscovich! People the world over know who you are.” ❤️
Celebration of life
Twyla Roscovich’s life will be celebrated at Thunderbird Hall in Campbell River, October 8th at 2pm.
Twyla’s memorial fund for Ruby
Family and friends have set up a trust fund for Twyla’s daughter, Ruby Lynn, that she will have access to upon maturity. Twyla put her whole life into her work and did not have the means to leave Ruby with a secure financial future. We’re hoping this campaign will help make one aspect of Ruby’s adulthood a little bit easier. The trust will only be accessible by Ruby and has conditions as to what she can use the money for i.e. education/training. ~ Leni Goggins, Twyla’s step sister.
I have been accepted as an Adventure Media Member in the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA). Established in 1990, the ATTA serves over 1000 members in over 100 countries worldwide. Members predominantly include tour operators, tourism boards, specialty agents and accommodations with a vested interest in the sustainable development of adventure tourism.
In Their Own Words
“The Adventure Travel Trade Association inspires, connects and empowers the global community to do good through travel. We’re an ever-growing community of passionate travel professionals from destinations all around the globe. Inside our membership program and in-person events, you’ll discover enthusiastic people just like you who dedicate their life’s work to transforming people and places through adventure travel.”
I have always been enthralled with the study of biology, history and geography. It’s almost as if these cultural subjects were intertwined in my DNA. However, the following acknowledgement eclipses any marks I may have attained for all the hand-colored grade school maps I made tracing the routes of early Portuguese explorers such as Vasco De Gama, or Ferdinand Magellan. And so, it is a distinct honour that yesterday I was named a Fellow in the UK’s prestigious Royal Geographical Society (RGS) with the Institute of British Geographers.
This esteemed institute based in London is committed to the wider public understanding, promotion, development and enjoyment of geography, together with its application to the challenges facing society and the environment. The RGS also advances geographic knowledge through lectures and publications, through its libraries and map collections, and through instruction in surveying and the support of fieldwork expeditions, exploration and research.
The Royal Geographical Society was founded in 1830 under the name Geographical Society of London as an institution to promote the “advancement of geographical science”. It later absorbed the older African Association, which had been founded by Sir Joseph Banks in 1788, as well as the Raleigh Club and the Palestine Association. Like many learned societies, it had started as a dining club in London, where select members held informal dinner debates on current scientific issues and ideas. Under the patronage of King William IV, it later became known as the Royal Geographical Society (RGS). The society amalgamated with the smaller Institute of British Geographers in 1995, hence its formal title today is “Royal Geographical Society with The Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG)” although the latter name is often dropped.
The Royal Geographical Society has a storied history of supporting many famous British explorers and expeditions, including those of, Sir Charles Darwin, legendary African explorer Dr. David Livingstone, Sir Ernest Shackleton, Sir Robert Scott (Scott of the Antarctic), Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin, and mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary to name a few. Among many other notable explorers and geographers, current fellows also include Michael Palin (Yes, that Michael Palin) who was the president of the RGS from 2009 to 2012. Fellowship in the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS) is granted to those who can demonstrate evidence of his or her own work and academic publications in the field of geography and closely related subjects such as international development and climate change. Fellows in the RGS may use the post-nominal designation FRGS after their names. Since 1912, the Royal Geographical Society and its historical archives have been headquartered at Lowther Lodge, a Victorian Queen Anne style house built between 1872 and 1875 that faces Hyde Park in South Kensington, London, England.
Jett Britnell FI’16, FRGS
We are honored to be named “Photographer of the Week” today in Dive Photo Guide.
DivePhotoGuide.com is an award-winning website for over 50,000 underwater photographers and videographers of all skill levels from around the globe. We would like to express our gratitude and thanks for the unbridled support and encouragement from our talented DPG Editor, Joanna Lentini, and also to Ian Bongso-Seldrup, Managing Editor and Chief Operations Officer for Dive Photo Guide. The midnight oil never burns so bright as when working with these two kind souls. ❤️
Here is the link for the feature http://bit.ly/2oAiqwo
“And I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.”
― Kiersten White,
Whooo hooo!! April 2, 2017, is our 9th year wedding anniversary! The time has seemingly flown by. If a marriage could ever truly be called effortless, we have it in spades! Thank you, Kathryn, for choosing me to be your husband. Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be. XO
“Because… nothing says “Happy Valentine’s Day!” like a little cannibalism!”
Kathryn knows that Valentine’s Day is not a day we need to remind us to treat each other special. We routinely do this and walk the talk each and every day of the year. There’s a vast difference between love and “true love.”
So, what is true love? It’s the stuff that dreams are made of. True love is kind… and runs deeper than any ocean. It’s about embracing honesty and integrity in a relationship as opposed to destroying it with deception and duplicity. Your union is more about exhibiting non-controlling, non-manipulative and non-threatening behaviors as opposed to being manipulative, or demanding that the other person mindlessly submits to their own special brand of narcissistic paranoia. True love is a rare gem that doesn’t come often in this age of fibreglass. I maintain, true love is a once in a lifetime… struck by lightening… mind-blowing adventure.
So, how do you know it’s true love? Put simply, you know it is true love when their happiness means more to you, than your own. You love and adore their quirks. Like, how when they talk in their sleep… you never feel annoyed, but simply smile and wonder if you should reach for your cell phone and record their nocturnal chitter chatter. You never grow weary of being in their company because you feel most content whenever they are near. They can come at you with anything — news, gossip, secrets, unexplained dead bodies, and maybe even admit to an erotic lesbian threesome fantasy — and you won’t ever judge… or shamelessly beg for that fantasy to come true. OK, so maybe that threesome fantasy is a good one, but… I digress. Above all… and this seems extremely important… neither party thinks about Ryan Gosling during sex. I know, deep down in my soul, that I’m right on this.
Seriously, Kathryn said to me when we first met that one of the attributes she desired in a partner (trust me, it was more akin to a laundry list) was someone who wakes up happy every day. Despite any disappointments, frustrations, or personal losses that we all must deal with during our lifetimes, it just so happens I do wake up happy every morning. As does, Kathryn. We are grateful to the Gods that we found each other, and also for the amazing friends who honour us with their friendship, goodwill and love.
“Happy Valentine’s Day!” to one and all, and also to the remarkably kind, charitable and infinitely beautiful and highly intelligent, woman who warmly smiled upon us… and chose me to be her husband. I’m clean, Mr. Sheen. And only she knows… what I mean. 😘 XOXO
“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.
@Jett_Kathryn 9000 Plus Twitter Followers and Growing
So this happened today! We are still kinda new at this as we have truly only been actively tweeting for just under one year. What is truly gratifying to us is that by any social media metrics we can run, our followers are 99% real. Yes, we do not knowingly follow any Twitter spammers. You know the ones. They are always either trying to sell things like Ray Ban sunglasses or are trying to convince you to buy thousands of Twitter followers. We routinely block these tweeps.
We Seek Engagement
Additionally, we do not play the follow/unfollow/follow again/unfollow again ego game. Yes, there many people in the Twitterverse who are seemingly trying to look uber cool by getting lots of people to follow them while they follow few to none in return. It is almost as if they’re trying to become some sort of Twitter celebrity who is in such demand that they simply cannot keep up with following their adoring fans. They may even be using automated social media programs to help them accomplish this mean feat. In reality, they are just wasting other people’s time.
“Life is Simple: Don’t be a Dick“
The bottom line is this. Never follow someone just to grow your numbers and then unfollow. This is not how real engagement works. We follow those who follow us who are real and seeking true engagement. It’s all about authenticity. As the brilliant comic, Bill Murray, once said… “Life is simple: Don’t be a dick.“