2008 WINGS Women of Discovery Awardees
WINGS WorldQuest (WWQ) founded by Lela Hadley Luce and Milbry Polk in 1993 has announced the 2008 Women of Discovery Awardees. These annual awards recognize exploration and scientific excellence by women in the fields of Earth, Sea, Air & Space, and Humanities. This year’s seven honorees, whose work and pioneering discoveries in the Arctic have led to global and scientific advancement, will join over 30 previous awardees from the past five years. WWQ Awardees receive honorariums in support of their fieldwork and are inducted into the Wings Fellowship Program.
Courage Award: Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen
Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen, the first women to cross the Antarctic landmass on foot, are recognized as two of the world’s preeminent polar explorers. They both are authors, teachers and expedition leaders whose shared mission is to inspire people, particularly girls and women, to follow their dreams.
Bancroft, the first woman to successfully ski overland to both poles and to Greenland, has completed several grueling expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. Bancroft was the first woman to reach the North Pole by foot and on sled. Her remarkable achievements led to her induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Arnesen, a Norwegian explorer, is the first woman to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole, a 50-day expedition of more than 750 miles. In 1992, she led the first unsupported women’s crossing of the Greenland Ice Cap. She has led expeditions in Norway, Svalbard, Tibet and Nepal.
Earth Award: Jill Fredston
Jill Fredston has logged more than 20,000 miles exploring the rivers and coastlines in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Norway in a 20-foot rowing shell. She is also considered one of the world’s foremost avalanche experts, having spent countless hours suspended above fracture lines to examine an icy world that is in constant change. Fredston is the author of two award winning books, Snowstruck: In the Grip of Avalanches and Rowing to Latitude, as well as co-founder of the Alaska Mountain Safety Center.
Air & Space Award: Birgit Sattler
An Austrian explorer whose research focuses on atmospheric studies, as well as ice in the Arctic and elsewhere, Sattler made the pioneering discovery that clouds are filled with living organisms. Having completed a PhD on microorganisms in mountain lakes, her interests include bacterial production and activity, ice physics, and microbial processes in snow and in the atmosphere. Her current project, “Origin and Dynamics of Bacteria in the Winter Cover of a High Mountain Lake”, investigates the classification of bacteria that inhabit ice, as compared to those found in snow from the North and South Poles.
Sea Award: Vera Kingeekuk Metcalf
Vera Kingeekuk Metcalf’s community-based projects document traditional ecological knowledge and community resource management practices. In collaboration with hunters and elders, Vera studies walrus population distribution, behavior, monitoring, and hunting, as well as issues related to climate change and subsistence economy. Now involved in the US Arctic Commission to preserve native languages, she lives in Alaska and participates in a variety of subsistence activities in Nome and Savoonga.
Humanity Award: Irina Nikolaeva
Russian linguist Irina Nikolaeva has spent years documenting endangered languages including syntax, morphology, typology, and information structure and the traditional knowledge they embody. She has focused most notably on the Kolyma Yukaghir dialect, spoken by about forty people in North-East Siberia as well as Uralic, Altaic, and Paleosiberian languages.
Field Research Award: Lene Kielsen Holm
A native of Greenland and member of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), Lene Holm is working with indigenous communities to study traditional knowledge about sea ice and its movement patterns. The Sila-Inuk project collects observations from local sealers, fisherman, sheep breeders, and other indigenous groups to document their experiences with newly changing ice and weather onditions that have resulted from global warming.#