The Explorers Club is an international hub for adventurers, based just a block from New York’s Central Park. The club’s headquarters features a spiral staircase and rooms lined with maps, globes, and narwhal tusks. Everyone from astronauts to deep-sea divers has presented their research here. Now, two APU grads have as well.
Russell Wong ’20 and Maddy Zietlow ’21 both worked with Professor Roman Dial in the Brooks Range for their senior projects and joined the Explorers Club as students. Over their summer breaks, they each spent 100-day stretches camping, hiking, bush-whacking, and pack-rafting across northern Alaska to collect information on vegetation growth. Their observations help NASA scientists better understand why the Arctic is getting greener on satellite observations.
On April 23, Wong and Zietlow presented their vegetation research as part of the Next Generation speaker series, an event spotlighting up-and-coming adventurers in the sciences. The invitation came from Josh Lewis and Victoria Becwar-Lewis, two members of the Explorers Club’s Alaska chapter. The Lewises support APU’s Brooks Range research, donating pack rafts and gear and endorsing APU student memberships in the Explorers Club. “We would not be here without them,” Zietlow said.
The APU alumni were two of just 10 speakers at the event, which included dispatches from the coast of Madagascar and the caves of Mexico. For Zietlow, a lifelong Alaskan, the trip provided a perspective on the importance of Alaska research. “All these folks from all over the world were excited to hear what we were doing,” she said.
Zietlow currently works in the environmental lab at University of Alaska Anchorage. Wong is working toward a master’s degree in environmental science with Dr. Dial. Both will return to the Brooks Range this summer for yet another season of adventurous research in Alaska.
Click here to watch the Explorers Club presentation.
Click here to learn more about APU’s vegetation research in the Brooks Range.