Kate and Mel in the Taklamakan desert. Suddenly, shockingly, marvelously, it appears I have acquired wings. Last night at the Explorers Club, they announced the winners of the 2010 "Women of Discovery" Awards from Wings WorldQuest. And the Field Research Award winner is...?!?!??!?!!! The award is in recognition of the research I've done exploring the relationship between transboundary conservation and conflict resolution, focusing on the Siachen glacier in Kashmir. Perks include a cash prize and a gala dinner in NYC in April. But above all, the award is a stamp of credibility that I hope to leverage into raising support for transboundary science and conservation as peace-building tools in the world's wildest places.

Wings WorldQuest "celebrates and supports extraordinary women explorers and promotes scientific exploration, education and conservation to inspire future generations." I first became involved with them in 2006, when my pal Mel and I carried the Wings WorldQuest Flag on a bike expedition along China's Silk Road. The organization has been a massive support and source of inspiration for me ever since, and I'm incredibly excited to get this award. Especially when the list of past Wings awardees is a roll call of my living heroes in adventure and exploration: chimpanzee conservationist Dame Jane Goodall; oceanographer and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle; and polar explorers Liv Arneson and Ann Bancroft, just to name a few. Like them, I hope to lead a passionate, unconventional life, devoted to exploring our planet and doing what I can to save those swaths of it still untrammeled.

So, I reckon it's time to put these new wings to the test...

Posted
AuthorKate Harris