Photographs courtesy of the explorers

The Importance of Exploration

Explorers are making discoveries that help the rest of us understand the complexity and interdependency of our world, so that we have the means to make informed choices going forward.

What we are calling “exploration” is no longer about finding and conquering new territory or resources. It is going out into the field (rather than the laboratory) to observe, record and communicate findings that will help us understand our world. Explorers are peering into the future, looking back into the past, exploring the bottom of the ocean, trying to understand the tectonic forces of the world, listening to the newly discovered language of animals and plants, and exploring the great diversity of humanity.

On a personal level, I believe everyone can be explorer and should approach life as an exploration. Living life as an explorer allows you to:

“WHEN ONE TUGS AT A SINGLE THING IN NATURE, ONE FINDS IT ATTACHED TO THE REST OF THE WORLD.
– JOHN MUIR

  • Discover your passions
  • Define and master the tools you need to get to your goal
  • Help meet the challenges life throws your way
  • Open your mind to the mysterious, intricate forms  of life that we are surrounded by on a daily basis
  • Be alive in the moment

Both researching and writing Women of Discovery with Mary Tiegreen, and my own unusual and often challenging  experiences as a woman out in the  field led me to found, with my dear friend, Leila Hadley Luce, an organization to support women explorers, Wings WorldQuest.

leila-hadley-luce
Leila Hadley Luce

Another major outcome of the research was Polk’s creation of the nonprofit organization Wings WorldQuest which was dedicated to finding and promoting remarkable discoveries by contemporary women explorers. During the 14 years of Polk’s leadership she developed a number of initiatives including a Flag Program, trading card series, an educational collaboration with Imagination Celebration in Fort Worth, Texas, for middle schools, newsletters, pamphlets on explorers for use in schools, edited six biographical books  for high school students, lectured in more than 100 venues and schools around the country, raising and distributing nearly half a million dollars, hosting annual galas and many special events at museums, science institutions and elsewhere.

WOMEN EXPLORERS LIBRARY

Milbry Polk in her library of women explorer books

In the mid 1990’s Milbry Polk began researching the history of women explorers which necessitated creating a unique library that now numbers some 1200 volumes  and 14 file boxes. One result of the research was the publication in 2001 of Women of Discovery co-authored with Mary Tiegreen.

Another major outcome of the research was  Polk’s creation of the nonprofit organization Wings WorldQuest which was dedicated to finding and promoting remarkable discoveries by contemporary women explorers. During the 14 years of Polk’s leadership she developed a number of initiatives including a Flag Program, trading card series, an educational collaboration with Imagination Celebration in Fort Worth Texas for middle schools, editing six biographical books  for high school students, lectures in more than 100 venues and schools around the country, raising and distributing nearly half a million dollars, annual galas and many special events at museums, science institutions.

Polk proposes to create a college based program that would springboard off her previous work including  programming framework, courses based in part on  the working library.  Exploration and discovery touches every aspect of education and curriculum. This is an exciting and dynamic area of women’s studies that as of now does not exist anywhere.

Please contact Polk for more information.