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The Explorers Club Northern California Chapter

2023 Fall Chapter Update




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Chapter Dues play a neccessary role for maintaining the club. The production of the annual Chapter Roster and maintaining our presence on the internet via our website are just a couple Chapter expenses.

Chapter Dues for a Member are $25.00 /calendar year.

Chapter Dues for a Sirdar membership are $50/calendar year.

Chapter Dues for a Partner Sirdar Membership (Sirdar whose Partner is a Chapter member) are
$25.00 /calender Year.

You can pay by sending a check payable to The Northern California Chapter of the Explorers Club to the Chapter Treasurer: Anna Freitas, Send the check to Anna Freitas, 161 Camino Posada, Walnut Creek, CA 94595

You can also pay online by using the Chapter's PayPal account. There is a $2.00 additional fee for using the PayPal acount that will be charged when completing the online transaction. While in the PayPal web site you also have the option to use a Debit or Credit Card to make your payment.

Chapter Dues for a Member

Chapter Dues for a Sirdar

Chapter Dues for a Partner Sirdar


Future Events for the current academic year

Memorials to Chapter members

Past meetings going back to 1995

If you have photos you would like added to our Instagram account at explorersclub_norcal, please send them to Margeigh Novotny at Include photo credit & short explanation.

If you have field trips suggestions, please email Tom Dietz,

Be A Sirdar!

Originally a Persian and Indian word meaning a person of high rank, one holding a responsible position. In Explorers Club expeditions, a Sirdar provides a vital and leadership role in providing support for the expedition, especially in India and the Himalayan regions. Tenzing Norgay was Sir Edmond Hillary's Sirdar.

We invite you to join us as a Sirdar—an official friend—of the San Francisco/Northern California chapter of the Explorers Club.

As a Sirdar, you will receive e-mail notification of all chapter events open to guests and be welcome to attend all such events on the same basis as Explorers Club members.

Dues for Sirdar membership are $50/calendar year.

Dues for a Sirdar Partner are $25/calendar year.

Download the application form, fill it in, enclose your check, and mail it to us; you'll really enjoy this. And all of us will really enjoy you.

Promoting Exploration since 1904

The Explorers Club, is a multidisciplinary, professional society dedicated to advancement of field research, scientific exploration, and the ideal that it is vital to preserve the instinct to explore. The Club's goals in research, education, and public service include the orientation of young people toward careers in field science and engineering, and the encouragement of scientific exploration of land, sea, the air, and space, with the emphasis on the physical, natural, and biological sciences.

As the "World Center for Exploration" we serve as a common bond and meeting point for explorers and field scientists world-wide, thus continuing the early goals laid down by our founders in 1904.

Link to all Explorers Club Chapters

Global Chapters

Related links

The Antarctican Society
American Polar Society
Antarctic Deep Freeze Association
Glacier Society (Restoration and operation of the icebreaker USS/USCGC Glacier)
Peninsula Geological Society (Stanford/Menlo Park)
Point Reyes National Seashore Association
The Adventurers' Club (Los Angeles)

Past event announcements

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Past Meetings:

September, 2023- Fall Chapter Newsletter
June, 2023-Chapter Newsletter - Update Information
June, 2023-Anual Picnic & Garden Party
May 19, 2023 -Monthly In Person & Zoom meeting Emily Paris, TM' 21 - From Sea to Space, and Katherine Akey, MN' 20 Witness Marks: History and Art Practice
May 19, 2023 -Monthly In Person & Zoom meeting- Chapter Election Officers
April 28, 2023-Monthly In Person Meeting, "Saving The Cheetah" ,with Laurie Marker, FI' 06
February 25, 2023-NorCA CHAPTER 50th ANNIVERSARY PARTY - Postponed
January 27, 2023-Zoom meeting, "Seeking Coexistence" ,with Kim Frank, FN' 18
November 18, 2022-Zoom meeting, "Interstellar Travel" ,with Major Ryan Weed Ph.D.
October 28, 2022 — Zoom meeting, "Sacred Mountains of the World", with Ed Bernbaum, Ph.D.
September 23, 2022 — Zoom meeting, “Speleology & Expedition Caving” - with Sonia Meyer TM' 20
Summer Newsletter — Thank you to Anders Jepsen Ph.D. FN'03 and all other contributors to TEC Nor Cal chapter newsletter.
May 20, 2022 — Zoom meeting, “Urban Mobility and UAVs, “Aaron Singer, CEO of Automodality, Inc.
April 29, 2022 — Zoom meeting, “The Hester Lake B-24 Wreck” - with Bryan Heisinger, National Park Service and archaeologist for Redwood National and State Parks
March 25, 2022 — Zoom meeting, “The Figure 8 Voyage” - with Solo Sailor Randall Reeves
February 25, 2022 — Zoom meeting, “Unraveling the Dark Universe, looking back to look ahead: --How do cosmologists piece together the history of our universe one observatory at a time, and what does it tell us about our future? ” - with Satya Gontcho A Gontcho, Ph.D. (MI’21), Cosmologist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lead Observing Scientist for the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument
January 28, 2022 — Zoom meeting, “Who Was the Woman in the Iron Coffin? New York’s Oldest Cold Case” - with guest speaker forensic investigator Scott Warnacsh
November 19, 2021 — Zoom meeting, “A survey the different underwater archaeological sites being studied in Mexico at present” - with Guest Speaker Dr. Roberto Junco, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia
October 15, 2021 — Zoom meeting, “Advances in Observing the Wildfire Environment: —Understanding the role of fire-atmosphere interactions on fire spread” - with Dr. Craig Clements, Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center, Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, San José State University
September 24, 2021, Zoom meeting, “Archaeology Below the Surface—An Underwater Archaeological Study of a 9,000-year-old Landscape beneath Lake Huron” - with Dr. Ashley Lemke, Asst. Professor of Archaeology, University of Texas, Arlington
May 21, 2021, Annual Meeting and Election of Officers followed by, “Deep-sea Exploration: recent discoveries and the continued search for Amelia Earhart” - with Allison Fundis FN’20 April 23, 2021, Zoom meeting, “Farm from a Box” - with Brandi DeCarli MN’21 and Scott Thompson MN’21
April 11, 2021, Board of Directors' Meeting, Noon to 2PM
March 26, 2021, Zoom Meeting, “How Can You Steward What You Don’t Know?"—Religious and Spiritual Motivations for and Understandings from Robotic Space Exploration” - with Deana Weibel, Ph.D., MN’20
February 26, 2021, Zoom Meeting, “Catastrophic Fires, Colonialism, and Indigenous Landscape Practices: The Relevancy of Cultural Burning in Rethinking the Stewardship of Public Lands in California” - with Kent G. Lightfoot Department of Anthropology University of California, Berkeley
January 21, 2021, Zoom Meeting, Two Stories for Early Exploration beginning with “Old Bones, Weapons, and Treasure—The stuff of legend, would you like me to tell you a story?” - with Diana Pickworth Ph.D., FN’01 and culminating with “Narwhal: Revealing an Arctic Legend” - with John Wilken, SM’18
December, 2020, Zoom Holiday Gathering
November 20, 2020, Zoom Meeting“Music from High Latitudes: Listening, Recording, and Composing at the Ends of the Earth” - with Cheryl E. Leonard MN’20
October 30, 2020, Zoom Meeting, “Voyagers Show Us How: Lessons from Papua New Guinea, Antarctica, Bering Straits, and Polynesia” - with Dr. Marianne ‘Mimi’ George, Anthropologist and Sailor
September 2020 Zoom Meeting, “MISSION BLUE: HOPE SPOTS AROUND THE WORLD” - with Liz Taylor MN'95 and Sylvia Earle MED'81, Deep Ocean Exploration
August 14, 2020 Zoom meeting, “An Informal Discussion Exploring the Nuances of Race in America” - with Bill Phillips.
June 5, 2020 Zoom meeting, “Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim” - with Eliot Hodges, MN-10. The next day, June 6, 2020, we watched a screening of Ted Cochran's film "island of the Bounty."
May 1, 2020 (Zoom meeting), “Whose Fault Is It Anyway? The last mile of the San Andreas” - with David Hirze and on May 22, we will have a presentation by Roz Savage open-ocean rowing, "The Gift of Solitude."
April/May, 2020 Zoom gathering, Annual Meeting, election of Directors, and Presentation by Bonnie Tsui, "Why We Swim"
March 27, 2020 meeting, Kelp Flukes, Walrus Impersonations, and Glacial Gamelans—A Composer’s Search for Polar Music, with Cheryl E. Leonard MN ’20 [This presentation was not given because of the virus shelter-in-place. We plan to hear it later.]
February 28, 2020, “Following the Rhinoceros—from Africa to Asia” - with Dr. Robert Griffith MN ’16
January 24, 2020, “Rapa Nui, The Explorers Club, and History” - with Jo Anne Van Tilburg Ph.D. FN ’09
December 15, 2019, “Holiday Party” - at the home of Rick and Aldeana Saber
November 22, 2019, “Exploring the Marianas Serpentinite Seamounts: Windows into Subduction” - with Barbara Bekins, Ph.D.
October 25, 2019, “Headhunt Revisited: With Brush, Canvas and Camera—A Melanesian Story about the Art of Caroline Mytinger” - with Michele Westmorland, FN ’95
September 27, 2019, “Use of Materials Sciences and Forensic Engineering in Exploration” - with Dr. Robert Anderson, FE '89
Summer 2019 newsletter, includes a piece on the May meeting and the new officers.
June 9, 2019, Annual Picnic in Tilden Park in the Berkeley Hills
May 31, 2019, “Hannibal's Secret Weapon” - with Dr. Patrick Hunt, FN'19
April 26, 2019, “Swimming with the Sharks of Borneo” - with David McGuire, MEH, Director Shark Stewards, Founder Shark Stewards
March 22, 2019, “ A Night of Exploration” - with Richard Wiese FN’89, President of The Explorers Club, and Futurist & Lecturer Dr. Paul Saffo, Consulting Professor, Stanford University. Venue: Aquarium of the Bay, Pier 39, The Embarcadero at Beach Street, San Francisco. View a photo collection by Michael Hruska-Aquarium of the Bay.
February 22, 2019, “In Search of the Secret Language of Sperm Whales” - with James Nestor
January 25, 2019, “Project Recover‘s Expansion of Searches for American MIAs and POWs into a Global Effort” - with Pat Scannon, M.D., Ph.D. FN-‘96
December 16, 2018, Chapter 2018 Holiday Party at the home of Rick and Aldeana Saber
November 30, 2018, “The Land Beyond: A Thousand Miles on Foot through the Heart of the Middle East” - Leon McCarron, Royal Geographic Fellow
October 26, 2018, “Shrinking the Malaria Map: 1900–2040” - Professor Sir Richard Feachem, FN ‘16, K.B.E., Ph.D., DSc(Med), FREng, HonFFPH, HonDEng, HonMD
September 21, 2018, “Meet your face mites: a story of discovery, evolution and intrigue” - Michelle Trautwein, Ph.D.
July 21, 2018, The Northern California Explorers Chapter Picnic
May 25th, 2018, -- Talks by three Term Members, in alphabetical order
     Jordan Hollarsmith, TN-'17, with the Bodega Marine Lab, UC Davis, "Threats to Nearshore Ecosystems"
     Elora Lopez, TN-'17, with Hopkins Marine Lab, Stanford, "From climate change to nuclear bombs "
     Alexandra McInturf, TN-'18, with Biotelemetry Lab UC Davis, "Do Sharks abide the tide? "
April 27th, 2018, “The Stratospheric Jump” - with Alan Eustace, FN-‘15
March 30, 2018, “The Journey Within, or, Why would anyone swim with sharks before breakfast?” - with Kim Chambers MN-‘16
February 23, 2018, “Operation Ebola: Surgical Care During the Ebola Crisis of 2014” - with Dr. Sherry Wren FN-‘14
January 26, 2018, “Climate Change and Civil War on the Mt. Everest Massif” - with Dr. John All, LM-‘14
December 17, 2017, “The Annual Northern California Holiday Celebration” - at the home of Joan and Barry
November 17, 2017, “Engineering Eden; The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight over Controlling Nature” - with Jordan Fisher Smith
October 27, 2017, “Race to Find, Document & Save Deep Sea Corals” - with Dirk Rosen
September 22, 2017 “Exploring for Landmines with Drone Geophysics” - with Anders Jepsen, FN-‘03
June 24, 2017, “Northern California Chapter of The Explorers Club Annual Expedition to Angel Island”
May 26, 2017, “Seeking Signs of Life on Mars” - with J.R. Skok, SM-‘10
April 28, 2017, “Afghanistan before the Taliban” - with Sandra Ross, MN-‘03, FN-‘17. See also:
February 23, 2017, “Visit to the David Rumsey Map Center” - at Stanford; joint meeting with the Peninsula Geological Society
January 27, 2017, “The Golden Shore—California’s Love Affair with the Sea” - with David Helvarg
December 11, 2016, “The Annual Gala NorCa Holiday Reception” - At the home of Chapter Chair Joan Boothe and her husband Barry
November 18, 2016, “An Expedition to Heard Island 2016” - with Robert Schmieder, FN-‘86
October 14–16, 2016, The 2016 Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner
September 23, 2016, “Spineless: Portraits of Marine Invertebrates—The Backbone of Life” - with Susan Middleton
September 10, 2016, Field trip to Drakes Bay - with Ed Von der Porten, FN-‘80
June 25, 2016, Annual Chapter Picnic at Crissy Field, San Francisco
May 27, 2016, “Surviving the 2015 Earthquake In Nepal” - with Anne Sanquini
April 21, 2016, “A Very Special Evening at the Autodesk Gallery” - with Jonathan Knowles, 'Explorer in Residence' for Autodesk, Eric Stackpole, co-founder of OpenROV, and Jason Dunn, founder of Made In Space
March 25, 2016, “Around the World in Hawaiian Voyaging Canoe Hōkūleʻa, Navigated by Ancient Traditional Methods” - with Daniel Lin, FN’14
February 26, 2016, “28,000 Miles Across Southern Africa and Counting” - with Rosemarie Twinam, MN '90 and Fred Galan, MN '14
February 21, 2016, Field trip to Intuitive Surgical, Inc—‘What is Robotic Surgery’ Presented by Dr. Myriam Curet, Chief Medical Office ISI and Dr. Sherry Wren, Professor of Surgery Stanford University
January 22, 2016, “The Third Pole Initiative and Five Decades of Venturing and Adventuring” - with Ted Cheeseman, MN’15
December 23, 2015, The Annual Gala NorCa Holiday Reception Hosted by Chair Joan Booth and her husband Barry
November 20, 2015, “The Third Pole Initiative and Five Decades of Venturing and Adventuring” - with Arjun Gupta, FN'14
October 23, 2015, “Cartography and Geographic Enlightenment” - with Dave Imus
September 25, 2015, “Characterizing Tornados by Visual & Doplar Radar Observations” - with Tom Dolan MN14
June 13, 2015, Annual Chapter Picnic at Angel Island State Park
May 23, 2015, “An Evening at the California Academy of Sciences” - with Meg Lowman
April 24, 2015, “The Last Ocean—The Toothfish and the Battle for Antarctica’s Soul” - with Dr. David Ainley
March 27, 2015, “The First Half Billion Years of Earth History—The Real Dark Ages” - with Dr. T. Mark Harrison
February 27, 2015, “Micronesia, Antarctica, Mozambique and Beyond: Perspectives on decades of ocean research and raising a family 'underwater'” - with Nicole Crane FN95 M.S. and Giacomo Bernardi Ph.D.
January 30, 2015, “Ice Age Behemoths” - with Dr. Timothy King
December 7, 2014, Rick & Aldeana Saber holiday party, San Rafael
November 21, 2014, “An Exploration into Cancer, Where are we in finding a cure?” - with Tony Liang
October 25, 2014, “Field trip: Exploration of the Presidio Serpentines ” - with Dr. Dylan Burge, Assistant Curator of Botany at the California Academy of Science
September 26, 2014, “Explorers of Bees and Bees as Explorers, All About Honey Bees” - with M.E.A. McNeill
Summer 2014, New policy about printed newsletters and stories from recent events
May 23, 2014, “Life in the Treetops—Adventures of a Woman Arbornaut” - with Dr. Margaret (Meg) Lowman
April 26, 2014, “Field Trip to The Geysers Geothermal Field” - organized by Rick Blake and hosted by Joe Beall of Calpine
April 25, 2014, “Global Tectonics—At Work in SE Asia” - with Dr. T. Mark Harrison
March 18, 2014, A Reception for His Royal Highness Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, Crown Prince of Bhutan
February 28, 2014, “Extremophiles—The Search for Life in the Universe” - with Dr. Lynn J. Rothschild
January 31, 2014, “Deep Diving; (But He Has Been Deeper!)” - with Capt. Don Walsh HON’61
December 8, 2013, Rick & Aldeana Saber Member Reception, San Rafael
November 22, 2013, “Volcanology–Hazards; Volcanoes can be very dangerous!” - with Robert L. Christiansen, Ph.D.
October 25, 2013, An Evening with Dr. Zahi Hawass—Noted Egyptologist will meet with the Northern California Chapter
September 27, 2013, “Chairs Tell Tales—Former Chairmen and a Chairlady will present Brief Stories. The topics remain their tightly held secret” - with Robert Schmieder FN'86, William F. Isherwood FN'70, Lesley Ewing* FN'93, Stephen E. Smith FN'96, Lee Langan FN'99, Alan Nichols FN'84*, Anders Jepsen FN-03. *These busy emeriti may not be available due to prior commitments.
June 9, 2013 “Angel Island 'Expedition'” - Photos from Sue Estey
May 24, 2013 “Conserving Ocean Resources—Empowering Remote Communities to Manage Marine Resources, A story about Falalop, Ulithi Atoll, Federated States of Micronesia” - with Nicole L. Crane (FN-97)
May 11, 2013 field trip, Underground tour of the 1860s Black Diamond coal mine & silica sand mine!, >Organized by EC member, Rick Blake, Led by geologist and retired SFSU professor Dr. Ray Sullivan and park ranger/miner Pat Dedmon, Mt. Diablo East Bay Regional Park, Antioch, Calif.
April 29, 2013, Explorers Club Members are invited to a personal viewing and tour of the "Solar Impulse" at NASA Ames in Mountain View Calif. - Organized by EC NorCA Vice Chair Rick Saber
April 26, 2013 “Clipperton Island Expedition” - with Captain Robert Schmieder
March 28, 2013, “Into the Himalaya Valleys, Snakes, Sages and Yoginis: The Devatas of Himachal Pradesh and their Himalayan Abodes” - with Suzanne Klotz
February 22, 2013, “A ‘New Mars’, Revealed by 21st Century Exploration Technology” at NASA Ames Exploration Center
January 25, 2013, “Story Night—Tales Told by Members of The Explorers Club Board of Directors”
December 16, 2012, Rick & Aldeana Saber Member Reception, San Rafael
October 26, 2012, “Peru—Ancient Cities & Modern Changes in the Environment” - with William C. Straka, Ph.D.
September 29–30, 2012, “Return to Garrapata, NorCal’s Retreat and Talks and More with Dr. Laurie Marker, Cheetah Conservation Fund, Whale watching, light buffet and Dr. Marker's talk at the Hicks' on Saturday evening, and Discover the Deep, Dark Secrets of Monterey Bay Aquarium!” - with Dr. Laurie Marker, Cheetah Conservation Fund
June 9, 2012, Angel Island Expedition (Photos)
May 11–13, 2012, Field trip to the New Almaden Quicksilver mines - with Rick Saber, Mike Diggles, Yvonne Hurson, and Dr. Robert Chandler (Photos)
April 27, 2012, “16 Years of Reef Research—Diving for Science in Micronesia” - with Stephen E. Smith, Ph.D.
March 30, 2012, “New Findings from the San Felipe—Materials Lost in 1576, Now Recovered” - with Edward Von der Porten
February 24, 2012, “The Future of Ocean Exploration—Undersea Flying” - with Joshua Glovin
January 27, 2012, “Expedition Medicine—What To Do When Things Go Wrong” - with Matt Lewin
December 5, 2011, Rick & Aldeana Saber Member Reception, San Rafael
November 18, 2011, “Otto Nordenskjöld’s 1901–03 Saga of Survival ” - with Joan Boothe
October 28, 2011, “Bolivians in a Global World—From the Eyes of a Volunteer” - with Jay Gregory
September 23, 2011, “The Osireion at Abydos” - with Jim Westerman
June 11, 2011, Angel Island Picnic
May 20, 2011, “Finding Cinggis Qa’an—Among the Hills of Mongolia ” - with Alan Nichols
April 22, 2011, “Building the World—Where on the Earth is Anything? ” - with Robin E. Ziegler
March 25, 2011, “Disaster’s Dr. Explorer—A Doctor Brings Help Where Needed” - with Tom Cromwell M.D.
February 25, 2011, “An Ethiopian Research Expedition—Behind the Scenes” - with Don Dana
January 21, 2011, Story Night—Short Tales by Your Fellow Explorers:
     Joan Boothe: “Tourists to the Rescue”
     Chuck Davis: “Killer Whale Encounter at Wuvulu Island, New Guinea”
     Peter Hemming: “Night People”
     Ken Howery: “A Death on Kilimanjaro”
     Lee Langan: “Moving Up the Yukon”
     Neal Mueller: “The Everest of Swims; Swimming Across the English Channel”
December 13, 2010, Hawaiian sub-Chapter, Island members “Mongolian Flag Expedition” - with Alan Nichols; Honolulu
November 19, 2010 “Poison Birds of New Guinea” - with Dr. John P. Dumbacher FN-10
October 29, 2010 “Expeditions and the Media” - with Josh Bernstein FR-04
September 17, 2010, “Lucy and Our African Origins” - with Prof. Don Johanson FN-76
July 1, 2010, “The International Dendrology Society meets The Explorers Club” - with Prof. Marcel Robischon FI-08
May 21, 2010, “Music and the Antarctic Treaty” - with Alan Cooper, Larry Schemel, and Julianne Stafford at Stanford University Geology Corner
April 30, 2010, “When Will We Find ET? SETI is Trying” - with Seth Shostak, Ph.D.
March 26, 2010, “Odyssey Moon; In Preparation for Moon 2.0” - with Bob Richards
February 26, 2010, “Tracking the Elusive Fisher in the Sierra Nevada—Whistling for a weasel” - with Reg Barrett
January 29, 2010, “Story Night” — We have authors, come and hear 'em
December 12, 2009, “Explorers' Solstice Celebration” — Becky and Alan Nichols invite you to a NorCA Expedition.
November 20, 2009, “Man-Eating Lions in Kenya, For Sure! A Question Answered for Teddy Roosevelt” - with Nathaniel Dominy, Ph.D.
October 30, 2009, “Exploration and Excavation in Ancient Yemen” - with Diana Pickworth, Ph.D.
September 25, 2009, “ In the footsteps of Ernest Shackleton—A Flag Expedition to South Georgia” - with Jim Sano
June 6, 2009, “The Explorers Club Northern California Chapter Picnic June 6, 2009—Angel Island ”
May 15, 2009, “Sailing the Northwest Passage; On Cloud Nine, 73 days and 6640 miles from Halifax” - with Doug Finley
April 24, 2009, “Veterinarians in the Mist; Tales of Living with the Mountain Gorillas in Central Africa” - with Christopher Whittier
March 27, 2009, “Stephens’ Maya—Then & Now” - with Payne Johnson
February 27, 2009, “Tsunamis—Real and Personal; These Killer Waves are Frequent and Dangerous” - with Orville Magoon
January 30, 2009, “Sex in the 21st Century, The Impact of Our Basic Drive in War and Peace” - with Drs. Malcolm Potts & Martha Campbell
November 21, 2008, “The Cave of Crystals—An Early Exploration of Gigantic 'Gems'” - with Leela Hutchison
October 18, 2008, “Ligher Than Air Around The World” - with Don Hartsell
September 27, 2008, Woodside, Calif. meeting, “Cruising Antarctica, What Will Come of It?” - with Art Ford
June 25, 2008, A Celebration on the Occasion of the 100th Birthday of Marguerite Van Auker Walsh
May 31, 2008, “Garrapata--Harry Hicks & Dede Whiteside Explorers' Gathering”
April 23, 2008, “A Saving Method That is Working” - with Jeff Morgan, Executive Director, Global Heritage Fund
April 4, 2008, “Saving Sea Animals on Land”, The Marine Mammal Center - with Felicia Nutter, DVM, Ph.D.
February 22, 2008 “David & Goliath in the Amazon, Impressively modern ancient people” - - with Lawrence Lansburgh
January 26, 2008OR/V White Holly, A visit to a working research ship” - with Vince Backen
December 9, 2007 “An Explorers’ Gathering” - Karine and Lee Langan welcome you to an Open House.
November 8, 2007 “Marco Polo’s Time Machine—from Venice to Xanadu” - with Laurence Bergreen
October 19, 2007 “Save an Ant, Save a Planet; The race to discover Madagascarís biodiversity ” - with Brian L. Fisher
September 23, 2007 “California's First Known Meteor Impact Crater Sacramento Valley, California” - with Richard Blake at the Boudreau home in Sabastopol
May 18, 2007 “The First Americans! A Skinboat Expedition up the Siberian Coast” - with Don
April 20, 2007 “Ceremonial Masks of New Guinea Reflections from Endangered People ” - with Phil
March 23, 2007 “‘House of Rain’—What Happened to the Chaco People?” - with Craig Childs
February 23, 2007 “‘Hey! I'm Alive’—A True Story of Survival” - with Helen Klaben Kahn
January 19, 2007 “Kayaking the Frontiers of the Seven Seas!” - with Olaf Malver
November 8, 2006 “The Lives of Insects” (Exhibition) Presidio Officers Club, San Francisco - with Ed Ross
September 17 and October 13, 2006 “Tarahumara Expedition” - September 17, 2006, with Gene Boudreau and Lee Langan
“King of the 40th Parallel; Discover in the American West” - October 13, 2006, with Jim Moore, USGS
Saturday, June 17, 2006 (big PDF: 222 MB!) “Our Annual Picnic at Angel Island” - This photo collection has 150 shots
May 19 and June 17, 2006 “Manila Galleon San Felipe -- Lost Forever. Not!” - with Edward Von der Porten and Sheldon Breiner; and “Our Annual Picnic at Angel Island” - organized by Dave Moorer
April 7, 2006 “At Sea to See Famous Sunken Ships - Eating with Ghosts of the Deep” - Captain Don Walsh
March 24, 2006 “Crossing the Silk Web Istanbul to Xian -- 10,000 Miles on a Bicycle!” - Alan Nichols
February 24, 2006 “Valley of the Kings Protection Project -- Saving Ancient Treasures” - with James McLane and John Rutherford
January 13, 2006 "A look at a tiny tough population: Planet of the Prokaryotes" - with Douglas Capone
November 18th, December 7, and December 9, 2005: "Breaking Trail - A Climbing Life: November 18th, with Arlene Blum, a woman on top of the world. November 18th, "Remember Pearl Harbor", December 7th, with Charles Merdinger, history never to forget. December 7th is a WEDNESDAY meeting at Marine's Memorial Club in San Francisco. "Masterworks of American Photography", December 9th, The DeYoung, the newest great museum, December 9th is a FRIDAY meeting at the DeYoung Museum Cafe in San Francisco
Friday, October 14, 2005 “Stanley’s Three-year Journey Across Africa of Old Told Anew” - with Dan Liebowitz
Sunday, June 18, 2005 Angel Island Picnic - Photos including a trip under the new Bay Bridge
Sunday, May 29, 2005 "Comments on Northern Kenya & Mexicoâs Tarahumara" - with Eugene & Sibyl Boudreau. At their home in Sebastopol
April 22, 2005 "Heart Rate Performance -- Cycling At Altitude -- Gender, Age and Acclimatization" - with Kirk Usher, Jr. -- Robert G. Miller, M.D. -- Dan H. Moore, Ph.D.
March 25, 2005 "A Great Transpacific Raft Expedition—A Guinness World Record" - with Andrew Urbanczyk
February 25, 2005 "Operation Deep Freeze, Three Summers in Antarctica" - with David Moyer, MD.
January 28, 2005 "ISLAND EXPEDITIONS, Saving the Environment with Win-Win Projects" - with Duane Silverstein.
December 19, 2004 "Extreme Digital Photography, Going Digital On and Off the Trail" - with Jonathan Chester
November 19, 2004 "The 2004 Angolan Escarpment Ornithological Expedition" - with Dr. Çagan Hakki Sekercioglu, SM-99
October 19, 2004 "Great Trans-Pacific Migrations From Albatross to Turtles and Sharks to Shorebirds. " - with Dr. Peter Pyle. Special Tuesday event where Redwood Creek Wines and The Explorers Club partner for "A Taste for Adventure"
June 19, 2004 Photos from the annual Chapter picnic took at Angel Island.
June 4, 2004 "Enduring Patagonia, The Winter Face - Hostile Beauty in the Far South" - with Gregory Crouch
April 30, 2004 "The Bushmen of the Kalahari - A Click Away From a Culture's Extinction" - with Rupert Isaacson
March 27, 2004 "At Home with the Tamahumara of Northern Mexico" - with Eugene Boudreau: At the home of Gene and Sybil Boudreau in Sebastopol
February 27, 2004 "Remote Sensing in Archæology, The Noninvasive Search for Artifacts" - with Sheldon Breiner
January 16, 2004 "Tibet in China Today Observed Through the Eyes of a Sinophile" - with Dana Isherwood
December 5, 2003 "Cycling the Silk Road Through Central Asia, A Father & Son Odyssey" - with Alan and Shan Nichols
November, 2003 "The Ancient Libraries of Timbukto Must Be Saved" - with Issa Mohamed
October, 2003 "Through Russia with Patience" - with Thierry Thys
June, 2003 Meeting with Mort Beebe and the Angel Island Picnic.
May 30, 2003 "Fair Gods and Feathered Serpents - Very Early Civilization? Mythology? Theology? Reality? " - with Terry O'Brien.
April 25, 2003 "Astrophysics in Antarctica: Observing the Universe from the South Pole" - with Martin A. Pomerantz.
March 28, 2003 "In the Deep and In the Dirt - California's Maritime Archaeology" - with James Allan
January 31, 2003 "Hajj - Exploring the Center of the Cyclone" - with Tom Joyce
December 6 2002 "From Antarctica to Mars: The Search for Life" - with Chris McKay
October 25, 2002 "Chasing the Ghost of Amelia Earhart" - with Reid W. Dennis
September 27, 2002 "Outer Adventure, Inner Journey - Tales of a Love Affair with the Sea" with Ugo Conti
June 22, 2002 The Annual Explorers Club Picnic on Angel Island; announcement and photos of the event. Also various other items of interest that took place over the summer.
May 31, 2002 A Triple Treat: Dan & Rusty Leibowitz's Woodside Garden Reception; Eve Nilson: "A Student on the Amazon," and Richard C. Wiese: "A New President's View"
April 16, 2002 "Photographing Large Mammals on Land and at Sea" with Amos Nachoum
March 29, 2002 "Exploring the Frontiers of Consciousness" with Marilyn Schlitz
February 22, 2002, (Acrobat PDF file) "Inside Afghanistan... From One Who Knows" with Bonita Chamberlin, FN-98
January 25, 2002, "Life Through the Genome's Eye" with Elbert Branscomb. Also, The Chapter field trip on the Betsy Crowder Trail; an article on the presentation of very large photographs by Mort Beebe; and a short online movie of The Explorers Club Board Meeting, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, La Jolla.
December 7, 2001, (Acrobat PDF file) "The Search for El Dorado Continues" with Gene Savoy
October 26, 2001, (Acrobat PDF file) "PMAN III, Continuing Palau Searches" With Patrick Scannon, FN-96
September 28, 2001, (Acrobat PDF file) "China, Africa, Space! Documenting Successfully" With David Kennard
June 23, 2001 , Angel Island photographs after the event
June 23, 2001 , Angel Island Picnic
May 18, 2001, (Acrobat PDF file) "Exploring the Highest Sierra" With Jim Moore
April 27, 2001, (Acrobat PDF file) "A one-man swim across the Pacific: Underwater views from many islands" With Marc Shargell
March 30, 2001, "Search of Human Origins - Exploring Ethiopia's Afar" With Tim White
February 23, 2001, "A Big Man In a Small World - 'Congo and the Pygmies'" With Jean-Pierre Hallet
January 26, and February 3, 2001, "Disarmament in the former USSR" With Gary Richter, MN-98 - followed a week later with "Recovering Historical and Archaeological Sites from the Peruvian Rainforest" With Jean Savoy
December 1, 2000, "In Search of the Magnetic North Pole" With Dana Isherwood
October 27, 2000, "Exploring the Ocean Planet" With Graham Hawkes, FN-86
September 29th, 2000, "Taking the Measure of Everest" With Paul Perreault, FN-97
May 19th, 2000, "First Ascent, Antarctica's Mount Minto" With Jonathan Chester
April 28, 2000, "Gold of the Nomads" With Professor Alexander Leskov
March 31, 2000, "Vanishing Worlds: Research and Travels in the Tropics" With Çağan Hakkı Şekercioğlu, SM-99
February 25, 2000, "Secret Lives of Alexandra David-Néel" With Michael Foster
January 28, 2000, "The Lost River: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Transformation on Wild Water" With Richard Bangs, MN-81
December 3, 1999, "The Achuar: Dream People of the Amazon" With Larry Lansburgh
October 29, 1999, "Natural History of Año Nuevo Elephant Seal Reserve" With Mike Diggles, FN-92, U.S. Geological Survey
September 10, 11, and 12, 1999"Alpine Ecology of the Sierra Nevada and Other Regions of the World" With Joe Medeiros, Sierra College
June 26, 1999 Spring picnic on Angel Island (PDF format)
May 21, 1999 "Emin Pasha, Rescue on the Equator" With Dan Liebowitz, MN-66
April 30, 1999 "Exploring the Sahara: Camel Expeditions in the Hoggar, Tefedest, and Tassili N'ajjar Regions of the Algerian Sahara, 1970 to 1990," With Leo LeBon
March 26, 1999 "The Boy King of Palenque and His Son," Dr. Merle Greene Robertson, FN 90
February 26, 1999 "Around the World Under the Sea", Norbert Wu, FN-97
January 22 and January 30, 1999, "Climate Change - Natural or Human Induced?" by Dr. Benjamin Santer, in San Francsico and Dr. Robert Wharton, Jr. FN-84, of DRI spoke in Reno about the long-term ecological research program that has been underway in the McMurdo Dry Valleys.
December 3, 1998, Ellen Purcell, Dare To Be Tempted, Tasmanian Adventure. This newsletter includes a link to a collection of 76 photos from the Golden GateAway
October 16-17, 1998, the Golden GateAway grand gathering
September 25, 1998, Alzada Carlisle Kistner, MN-87, Safaris Always Bugged Us, An Affair with Africa
June 27, 1998, Angel Island State Park trip, This is the Spring Picnic event.
May 29, 1998, Art Ford, U.S. Geological Survey, Antarctic Adventures. This is the Peninsula Event
April 24, 1998, Stephen Dutton, MN-98, and Heidi Tiura, In the Path of Giants, Gray Whale tagging program in Monterey Bay
March 27, 1998, Tom Hall, MN-97, and Liz McLoughlin, Searching Sea and Selves by Sail: Adventures on Exterior and Interior Terrain
February 27, 1998, Peter Duignan and David Tette, Africa's Great Rift Valley, from Botswana to Ethiopia: Its History, Its Culture, Its Flora and Fauna
January 23, 1998, Pamela Logan, Kham - Warrior Kingdoms of Tibet's Far East
December 5, 1997 Patrick Scannon, Palau- Underwater Wonderland, World War II Battlefield, Archeologic Treasure
October 17 and 18, 1997 Planetary GetAway, October 17: Cocktail party, with exotics; October 18: Mini-Gateaway, with Carol Stoker, Geoff Marcy, Frank Drake, and surprise guests: live space aliens; Theme: Outer Space. View the GetAway flyer as Adobe Acrobat PDF document (65 KB)
September 26, 1997 Edwin Bernbaum, Sacred Trees, Sacred Mountains: Pilgrimage and Conservation in the Himalaya
June 28, 1997 Spring Party, Angel Island, San Francisco Bay
May 30, 1997 David Howell, 'The People's Republic of China, the Dynamic of Population, Land, Resources, and Natural Hazards'
April 25, 1997 Bill Isherwood, 'The Changing Arctic, The Perspective of a Perpetual Visitor'
March 28, 1997 Mort Beebe, Cascadia, 'Tale of Two Cities'
February 28, 1997 Bob Schmieder, Heard Island DXpedition
January 24, 1997 Eva Blum and Sandy Ross, Shamans of the Amazon
December 6, 1996 December 6, 1996. Lawson Brigham, Science Across The Arctic Ocean: The 1994 Arctic Ocean Section Expedition
Story and photo essay of the Marin Headlands Foray and the Golden Gate-Away event last October
Click for more information on the Golden Gate-Away.
September, 1996 event announcement, Peter McMillan, The Greatest Flight, the story of the Vimy 19|94 Project
June, 1996 event announcement, The Sixteenth Annual Carey Baldwin Memorial Garden Party
May, 1996 event announcement, The Vinson Massif, Antarctica with Nick Clinch.
Late April, 1996 event announcement, Jonathan Chester, Penguin dreams and Icy Reflections, Antarctica wildlife photography
Early April, 1996 event announcement, Gary Richter, Ph.D. and Tribal Life In Southern Ethiopia
February, 1996 event announcement, Jeff Shea and his ascent of Mt. Everest
January, 1996 event announcement, Eric Weiss, M.D., Mountain Medicine in the Khumbu, Nepal
December, 1995 event announcement, Dan Liebowitz, about The Man Who Stopped Slavery in East Africa
October, 1995 event announcement, Kim Grandfield, Kayaking the Arctic Riviera, Northeast Greenland
September, 1995 event announcement, Robert Schmieder, Easter Island and Salas y Gomez
June, 1995 event announcement, Spring Garden Party, Erna Baldwin's house in Marin County
May, 1995 event announcement, Olaf Malver, Irian Jaya - An exploration of the Bay of the Bird of Paradise
April, 1995 event announcement, James L. Murphy, Science and Tragedy: The Science of Forest-Fire Control and the Tragedy of Forest-Fire Disasters
March, 1995 event announcement, Mike Diggles, Wilderness Geologic Mapping
February, 1995 event announcement, Peter Rodda, Susan Middleton, and David Liittschwager, San Francisco Fossils and Endangered Species
January, 1995 event announcement, Ronald Reuther, Aviation in Exploration

Information About Chapter Officers

Information About Members

Browse These Home Pages of EC Members:
Mort Beebe, FN-78, Photography
Jeff Blumenfeld, MR-89, Expedition News
Len Bruffett, MN-21, Passage of Time; Fine art photography; Solar Well
Nonna Cheatham, MN-80, Earthwatch
Frank Drake, MN-80, SETI Institute
Michael F. Diggles, FN-92, U.S. Geological Survey, Geologist; Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project, Senior Author, Geology and Mineral Issues chapter
Sue Estey, FN-92 Diving, sailing.
Lesley Ewing, FN-93 California Shore & Beach Preservation Association.
Bob Fabry, MN-90, Wake Island Expedition, Jan-Feb 1996; and, Jan-Feb 1997 as well as the International Beacon Project
Weldon Gibson, FN-78, SRI International
William F. Isherwood, FN-70, Mount Isherwood
Eve Iversen, CO-86, Iowa State University
Don Johanson, Honorary Director, The Explorers Club, Arizona State University, Institute of Human Origins
Bernie Krause, MN-92, Wild Sanctuary
Dida Kutz, MN-2009, Publisher: Blue Planet Divers; A Place for Research Divers of All Levels to Connect and Learn
Dan Liebowitz, MN-66, Bay Area Garden Railroad Society
Pamela Logan, FN-97, Travels to Tibet, Inner Mongolia, China & the Silk Road
Olaf Malver, FN-92 Natural Habitat Adventures
Gene Savoy, FE-69, Author, Explorer, Scholar and Cleric
Robert Schmieder, FN-86, Cordell Expeditions
Çağan Şekercioğlu, FI-09, University of Utah
Stephen E. Smith FN-96, oceanearth, and the Kosrae Mooring Buoy and Reef Protection Project
James V. Taranik, FN-85, Joeseph A. Warburton, FN-79, and Robert A. Wharton, Jr., FN-84, Desert Research Institute
Charles H. Townes, FN-78 Space Sciences Laboratory, U.C. Berkeley
Jack Troster, MN-95, International Beacon Project
Stephanie K. Wolf, SM-92, Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine

History of the Chapter

by Ron Reuther (appended by Mike Diggles)

The Northern California chapter of the Explorers Club was started by Charles Elkus, an attorney in San Francisco and a north American Indian specialist, and by Joseph Rychetnik, a journalist and former Alaska State trooper who had just returned to the S.F. Bay area. Charlie Elkus became the first chapter Chair, and the first regular meeting was held on Feb. 12, 1973 at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco. Richard Finnie was the first Vice-Chair, Joe Rychetnik became the first Secretary and Program Chair, and Dick Fullerton became the first treasurer.

Richard Finnie became Chair upon the death of Charlie Elkus in 1978. Finnie was an explorer of the Canadian Northern Territories, and author and historian for the Bechtel Corporation. He served as Chair until 1984.

Carlton Skinner, former Governor-General of Guam and an authority on the Pacific Ocean Islands, succeeded Finnie as Chair, and served for five years.

Ronald Reuther succeeded Skinner as Chair in December, 1989. He is a former President of the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums, a Zoologist, and an aviator.

Robert Schmieder took over from Reuther in 1995 after serving as Vice Chair. He has carried the Club flag on five different expeditions, and has published several books about his explorations.

William Isherwood was elected to succeed Schmieder in 1998 after serving as Vice Chair. Bill is a scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he has instituted a new program "Sustainable Energy for the Arctic." His efforts have focused on how local renewable resources might reduce energy expenditures and environmental damage, and increase local jobs and self-reliance. He was a US delegate at the first meeting of the newly formed Arctic Council. The eight Arctic nations comprise this Council (can you name them?). Because of his interest in sustainable and renewable energy for this area, the Alaskan Congressional Delegation has urged Bill and his colleagues to put together a proposal for carrying out a major energy project for the benefit of rural Alaskan villages. He is now working on this project in conjunction with the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

Lesley Ewing became the 7th Chapter Chair in 2001. She is a coastal engineer and has traveled through much of the US examining coastal dynamics and the major components that stabilize or modify shorelines. Her interest in the Explorers Club developed out of her work with Sylvia Earle and Graham Hawkes building Deep Flight -- two one-person submersibles that will give researchers and scientists access to vast areas of the ocean. In 2003, she pursues watery fame as she trains to qualify as a pilot of Deep Flight.

Stephen Smith took the reins in 2003. He is the Managing Director of Oceanearth, Inc. a U.S. 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has supported research for the preservation of maritime-related natural and cultural resources since 1996. As a professional dive instructor, he serves as the Dive Safety Officer for Saint Mary’s College of Moraga, Calif. In this capacity, he trains students in Scientific Diving procedures for maritime archaeological research projects and field schools. Smith has both participated in and led Flag Expeditions. He is currently a consultant providing analytics, modeling, and simulation support to the energy industry.

Lee Langan took the reins in 2005 and served as Vice Chair and Secretary previously as well as Chapter Newsletter Editor since. Lee's exploration experience covers a triad of activities: in the field of geomagnetics, in developing new technologies for measuring air quality over broad regions and in bringing geophysical methods to field archaeology. Lee is on the Board of Directors of The Explorers Club. He takes hecka good photographs.

Alan H. Nichols became Chair in 2009. FN-84, B.A., J.D., Stanford University, Doctor of Science, California College. Attorney. Married to Becky. Three children, Sharon. Alan and Shan. Decorated Korean War Veteran. Author of many books and articles on law, Sacred Mountains, The Silk Web, and Religions. Tibetologist. First person to bicycle the Silk Web, Six Explorers Club Flag Expeditions. Active with local chapter. Many lectures, movies, and pictures on expeditions. Former President, San Francisco Unified School District and City College of San Francisco; author of articles, plays, poetry, and books including To Climb A Sacred Mountain, Adventures in Time, A gift to the Master, Water for California (2 volumes), Travels with Annie, and The San Francisco Commuter. In March 2012, Alan became President of The Explorers Club.

Anders Jepsen became chair in 2011. He had been Treasurer for several years then VP. As a young man he performed seven years of geological mapping and gold exploration in the Canadian Northwest Territories. He was in the field to study the emission of pollutant gases from active volcanoes and directed a multi-year part of the Maryland Power Plant Siting Program to provide ground-truth data for air pollution control models. Anders has been a founder or co-founder of five high-tech companies, has also explored for minerals in the Argentine Andes and in Northern Labrador, and he is now very active in the development of solar energy technology.

CAPT. Rick Saber succeeded Jepsen as Chairman in 2013 after serving as Vice-Chair. Retired United Airlines Captain and former Naval Aviator, he has made numerous ascents in the U.S and in the Himalayas where he led two expeditions. He helped pioneer and implement two Siberian flight routes to Asia for the airlines working with the FAA to save fuel, cut emissions and insure schedule reliability in winter months. He has interest in reef ecology and environmental solutions to undersea plastics pollution, has made over 1,000 dives worldwide, many in assessment of these problems. The USCG-Aux and E Clampus Vitus have captured his attention as well where he held top leadership posts including re-enactor for the character Emperor Joshua A. Norton.

Joan N. Boothe succeeded Saber as Chair in 2015 after serving as Vice-Chair. Joan is considered an expert on Antarctic history and has been interviewed on NPR, taught a course in the Stanford University Continuing Studies program, guest lectured on Antarctic tour ships and spoken on the Antarctic for a variety of venues. She remembers reading her first story of icy adventure in the Antarctic when she was 8. Today she has built one of the most comprehensive private collections of books on Antarctica in the United States, containing more than 1,800 individual titles, along with thousands of journal articles. Joan has now traveled to the Antarctic 12 times, including making a 67-day circumnavigation of the Antarctic continent aboard an icebreaker. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book The Storied Ice: Exploration, Discovery, and Adventure in Antarctica's Peninsula Region. A graduate of Wellesley College, Joan was elected to Phi Beta Kappa with an honors degree in economics. She further received an MBA in finance from the University of California, Berkeley, and has also pursued doctoral studies in organizational behavior at U.C. Berkeley.

Stephen E. Smith previously served as Vice Chair from 2001 through 2002, Chair from 2003 through 2005, Secretary from 2005 through 2012, and Vice Chair from 2015 to 2017. He is the Managing Director of Oceanearth, Inc. a U.S. 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has supported research for the preservation of maritime-related natural and cultural resources since 1996. As a professional dive instructor, he serves as the Dive Safety Officer for Saint Mary’s College of Moraga, Calif. In this capacity, he trains students in Scientific Diving procedures for maritime archaeological research projects and field schools. Smith has both participated in and led Flag Expeditions. He is currently a consultant providing analytics, modeling, and simulation support to the energy industry.

All Current Cadre

View the current list of the fine folks who are bringing us the organization and events that make up the Northern California Chapter; this page gives contact information and bios: Read about the Chapter Officers
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To Read More about The Explorers Club, click on the Explorer.

Becoming a Member

The URL of this page is
Date created: January 30, 1995
Last modified: July 10, 2023
Updated by: Len Bruffett, Webmaster, Northern California Chapter, Explorers Club. email Len