By: Erwan Simon | Photos by John Seaton Callahan
Madagascar has 3,000 miles of coastline and many offshore reefs. Most surfers go to the island’s south, between Toliara and Tôlanaro. The rugged central west coast between Mahajanga and Morondava remains largely unexplored. So, in 2015, our surfEXPLORE team flew to the world’s fourth largest island to find new waves and real adventure!
surfEXPLORE is a multi-national group who travel to some of the world's more remote and exotic locations seeking undiscovered surfing waves. Our core team is Hawaiian photographer John Seaton Callahan, British longboard champion Sam Bleakley, Italian surfer Emiliano Cataldi, and me, French surfer Erwan Simon.
In 2016 Adventure Scientists contributed over 15,000 volunteer field days (that's over 41 years!) to our scientific partners to help them discover solutions to pressing environmental issues. Adria Magrath of Vashon Island, Washington, submitted one of the highest numbers of samples this year for our Global Microplastics Initiative, so we asked her to tell us why she volunteers and some of her collection stories.
By: Adria Magrath
Water holds a special place for me- I am literally surrounded by it because I live on an island. There is no bridge, which means I must take a ferry whenever I want to leave or return to my community.
As a biologist, I know that molecules of water are used to break apart the molecules of our food so that we can absorb it and transport it in our blood for energy. Water cycles from the earth to the sky and back again to grow plants, erode landforms, create weather, and support animal life from fish to people.
As an individual, I know that water is a force that fosters life. Collecting microplastic samples for Adventure Scientists is a way for me to help increase our understanding of how our habits are impacting aquatic ecosystems and perhaps bring more awareness to this element that we often take for granted.
By: Annette Bombosch
Expedition Guide and Citizen Science Coordinator for G Adventures and Polar Latitudes
I will never forget the first time I stepped on the ice. Immediately, I was overwhelmed by the vastness of this place. In every direction I looked there were mountains covered in ice and snow. Glaciers flowed all the way down to sea level, calving off beautiful icebergs in all shapes and colors – from pure white to all shades of blue. Antarctica seemed endless, and left me feeling surprisingly peaceful. This icy continent continues to captivate me and I feel very privileged to work here as an expedition guide.
Antarctica is raw and pure. She alone dictates what we can and cannot do. The penguins, seals, and whales are perfectly adapted to these harsh conditions, whereas we humans need to wrap up in many warm layers to stay comfortable and hurry back to the comforts of the ship after a short while ashore.
Antarctica is the largest wilderness on Earth, still considered nearly untouched by humans. A visit rewards every traveler with so much that quite often our guests wish to give something back to the icy continent.
By: Victoria Ortiz
Only four places on Earth still contain vast, unplowed native grasslands: Siberia, Mongolia, Patagonia and the northern Great Plains of the United States. Over the last few years Adventure Scientists has partnered with the American Prairie Reserve on the Landmark project, in which multi-national volunteer crews live on the reserve year round to collect key wildlife data, build a global constituency for this special ecosystem, and record the human experience of living on the prairie. American Prairie Reserve uses the data to manage and protect this wild landscape and advance their goal of creating the largest protected wildlife area in the continental United States.
On December 18, Colleen Ferris hopped out of the truck to shut the prairie gate behind her. It’s an action she’s done hundreds of time, initially as a Landmark crewmember in its first season in February 2014, and later as the Landmark Program Manager. This time, however, marked the end of the last Landmark field season. Thousands of acres of rolling grasses turned white with frost blurred behind frozen eyelashes.
By: Carter Cortazzi, Jamie Farrell, and Lola Bushnell
At 5 a.m. on a very dark and cold Halloween weekend morning, our crew of intrepid explorers assembled at Georgetown University’s front gates in Washington, D.C. Freshly awoken after very few hours of sleep and buried under about five layers of clothing (no fleece), we were itching to get out onto the Potomac River to help join the fight against microplastic pollution by collecting samples for Adventure Scientists.
By: Danny Schmidt & Victoria Ortiz
In February of 2014, a remotely triggered camera in Utah’s rugged Uinta mountains captured a picture of something no one thought possible in the area: a wolverine. This elusive creature hadn’t been spotted here for nearly 40 years. This one photograph set in motion a massive undertaking to find if these badasses of the animal kingdom were setting up shop here for good. Under the guidance of Adventure Scientists, ultrarunners took to the mountains setting up and checking camera traps around the ecosystem in search of more photographic evidence.
Danny Schmidt captured this process in Running Wild, a short documentary recently selected by the Wild and Scenic Film Festival for their 2017 lineup.
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