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anyone interested in an expedition?


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just recieved this and thought i'd share it here:

this is great for any evolution conscious scientists - evolutionary biologists, anthropologists, etc




This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join an expedition lead by Darwin

scholar Frank Sulloway and partially sponsored by National Geographic. I will

be joining Frank for two of the three parts of this year's expedition, all

part of a large project to retrace Darwin's footsteps and to track and record

the ecological changes in the islands. We will be going where no tourist is

allowed to go; indeed, in some instances we will be going where no one has gone

since Darwin went.


If you are interested read the following document from Frank and contact me

at drmichaelshermer@aol.com and Frank at sulloway@uclink.berkeley.edu


Michael Shermer


Galapagos Expedition Information (7-29 June 2004)

Expedition Leader, Frank J. Sulloway


The expedition consists of three field trips from our base of operations on

Santa Cruz Island, where the Charles Darwin Research Station is located and

where we will be residing when we are not in the field. Expedition members will

include Frank Sulloway (Darwin scholar), Michael Shermer (editor of Skeptic

magazine and columnist for Scientific American); Rob Smith, malacologist; and

Rob's son Malcolm, who will be acting as Rob's research assistant).


It may be feasible for us to include people who wish to participate in only

one field trip, but it makes more sense to participate in at least two of them.


The schedules of the three field trips are as follows:


Field Trip 1 (7-12 June 2004): We will be visiting the highlands of Floreana

(Charles Island), where Darwin collected specimens for several days. In

particular, we plan to visit the summit of Cerro Pajas, the highest peak, to

photograph the view that Darwin obtained in 1835. We also plan to ascend the

second highest peak to make comparative photographs of the landscape below (1970

versus 2004). Rob Smith will be collecting land snails on this island.


Field Trip 2 (15-23 June 2004): We will be visiting the "craterized district"

on San Cristobal studied by Darwin in 1835, which we wish to photograph in

detail. This region has a spectacular volcanic landscape. We will have a

base camp at Cerro Brujo, where Darwin himself camped for two days, and will

explore the area near there where he worked. We will also be visiting an area

about three miles to the east where tortoises (the same subspecies seen by

Darwin) still exist in the wild. This population is estimated to consist of about

900 individuals. Because Rob Smith must return to the U.S. on 18 June and

will be picked up on 17 June to return to Santa Cruz, it is possible for other

expedition members to return to the U.S. at this time.


Field Trip 3 (25-29 June 2004): The highlands on Santa Cruz. We will be

visiting the areas near Puntudo and Cerro Crocker, where quinine has invaded the

native vegetation, in order to make comparative photographs (1970 versus the

present) of the landscape. We may also make at least one field trip to Los

Gemelos, where highland birds are plentiful.


It is possible (but not likely) that we may be required to alter these dates

slightly. It should therefore be understood that our expedition does not

have complete control over these dates, although the National Park generally does

its best to accommodate the schedules proposed by researchers.


Involvement in one of the field trips will accordingly entail the following

commitment of time: Two days traveling to the Galapagos, including one day

flying to Quito, Ecuador, and another day spent traveling to the Galapagos.

After completion of a given field trip, part of a day will be required to return

to the main island of Santa Cruz, where the Charles Darwin Station is located.

One can then return to Quito the next day. One returns to the U.S. early the

next morning.


Costs: The total cost for participation in one field trip of this expedition

(either to Floreana or San Cristobal), including airfare to and from the

Galapagos from the U.S., interisland transportation, expedition fees, hotels, and

meals, will be $8,500. For people participating in an additional field trip,

there will be an additional cost of $2,500. For participation in the last

field trip (on Santa Cruz) there will be an additional cost of $1000. These

amounts will be fully tax deductible, since they will be made as a contribution

to research through the Skeptic Society, a 501 © (3). Hence the actual

cost of the expedition will be considerably lower than the contribution you make

to the 501 © (3).


Of this total amount, we would ask that $8,500 be paid on the date of signing

up. Part of this amount will be used, immediately, to purchase the

necessary air tickets and as a contribution to the required expedition fee, which must

be paid in advance. Unfortunately, there cannot be a refund of this amount,

should there be a cancellation (unless a replacement can be found, which may

be difficult at the last minute); hence trip insurance would be a wise idea.

The remainder of the participation fee will be due on 1 June.


Participants will need to bring their own camping equipment, including a

backpack, sleeping bag or sac, light rain gear, a light-weight tent (although the

sharing of two-person tents can be arranged), collapsible 1-, 1.5, and 2-liter

containers for a total of 12 liters of water (which can be purchased on the

Internet or at local stores), a flashlight or head lamp, and other basics.

Each person is also encouraged to bring a camera and film, and I am happy to

offer extensive photographic advice.


Participants need to be able to carry 40-60 pounds of food, water, and

camping equipment for most of a day, to where we will be going in the field for each

of the three field trips. On Floreana we will carry about 40 pounds, as

transportation is available by truck to the summit of the island. On San

Cristobal we will carry about 60 pounds inland over mostly flat terrain for about

three to four hours, and we will return to the coast carrying about 35 pounds.

On Santa Cruz, we will carry about 60 pounds for two hours to the summit are a

(Puntudo) and will return carrying about 35 pounds. Most people in

reasonable physical Shape should be able to do this, but some preparation beforehand

would be a good idea.


For further information about the expedition leader (Frank Sulloway), see his

website at http://www.sulloway.org. For a preliminary 7-minute version of

the documentary film that we made on Darwin and the Galapagos in 2002 ("In

Darwin's Footsteps"), see http://www.darwinsfootsteps.org. (On some computers,

the film will play with intermittent pauses before it has fully downloaded, but

it plays normally thereafter. Downloading can take about twenty minutes on

some computers, but is immediate on others.) ---


i'd love to go myself, but lack the funds of the caliber this requires, so maybe we could start a donation fund or something? lol, just kiddin'.

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sounds interesting but i cant go since

a) parents will probably kill me &/or get our priest to try & cast a demon out of me.

b) not even clost to being able to carry 40-60 pound back & walk for 3-4h

c) probably not old enough to participate

d) money, money, money

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