THE EXPLORERS CLUB – POLISH CHAPTER was established in 1993. It promotes discoveries – especially of Polish researchers. Reminds forgotten heroes of exploration history. Prepares visits to Poland for the great figures of world exploration. Organizes lectures and exhibitions; promotes books, films and works on these subjects. Encourages young people to take up fieldwork-related professions. Organizes and supports research expeditions. Received the status of a Public Benefit Organization.
Under the aegis of the Chapter , its members conduct, according to their own programs, educational expeditions for tourists in the footsteps of explorers, treasures of world cultural and natural heritage. Such trips set new routes in tourism.
The Polish Chapter of the Explorers Club implements a number of initiatives, including the following, which take place periodically:
1. The Award Benedict the Pole.
On the initiative of the Polish Chapter, on May 28, 2014 at the Castle in Łęczyca, an Agreement was signed on the creation of the Award. The signatories who created the Award Chapter are representatives of the Polish Chapter of the Explorers Club, the City Hall of Łęczyca, the County of Łęczyca and the Warsaw Scientific Society.
The prize is awarded annually for outstanding exploration and research achievements on earth, in the sea and in space in the following categories:
1. Grand Award for a Polish citizen,
2. Award for a foreigner distinguished in cooperation with Polish researchers.
The prize aims to promote Polish exploratory achievements and to remind, through the person of the Patron, the historical significance that our country has played in the field of intercultural contacts.Special Awards are also granted for outstanding achievements in the field of exploration.The jury has 12 members; its chairman is currently prof. dr hab. Stanisław Rakusa Suszczewski. All Winners become Honorary Members of the Award Chapter.The seat of the Award Chapter is the Royal Castle in Łęczyca, where usually in February the names of the winners of subsequent editions are announced.
The ceremonies of the first four editions of the Award (2015 – 2018) were held at the Archdiocese of Tum near Łęczyca (more information about the Prize on the website – link), while the fifth edition took place on May 15, 2019 at the Royal Castle in Warsaw (link)The ceremony of the 6th edition is planned for June 3rd, 2020 in the auditorium of the Collegium Maius (15th century) of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków (link https://maius.uj.edu.pl/en_GB/start)
2. Conference “International Wreck Diving Festival”
It is a meeting place for scientists, primarily underwater archaeologists, whose specialty area is the remains of sunken ships and boats. The conference aims to exchange ideas and scientific achievements in an international forum, present research results and discoveries, and familiarize with the latest techniques used in underwater prospection and exploration. It is multidisciplinary and is used by historians, biologists, archaeologists, conservators and environmentalists. Aspects of finds, the dangers of underwater exploration and assessment of the condition of the wrecks are considered – such as the “Franken” oil-filled wreck lying in the middle of the Gulf of Gdańsk. It also attracts people for whom diving is not a job but a hobby – recreational divers and underwater photographers which is a science disseminating goal.
The conference has been organized since 2010. Initially it took place in Łódź, for 2017 edition it was moved to the Old University of Warsaw Library. The Polish Chapter is its patron and co-organizer for the fourth time. It also has a charity dimension – voluntary donations from participants are collected for the benefit of the Łódź Children’s Hospice. More about the conference (link)
3. Anthropological lectures in Remembrance of Professor Andrzej Wierciński (1930 – 2003)
It is an initiative founded in 2010 by the Polish Chapter and a group of collaborators and students of Professor Andrzej Wierciński (link to the Biography http://www.racjonalista.pl/bg.php/s,231). Its goal is to commemorate the achievements of an outstanding Polish anthropologist and a religious expert, a member of the Explorers Club, through public lectures of eminent, foreign and Polish specialists. The selection of topics covers a very wide disciplinary scope reflecting the Patron’s multiple research interests.Lectures are traditionally held in the first decade of December at the Central Campus of the University of Warsaw, currently co-organized by the Polish Chapter and the Institute of Archeology of the University of Warsaw. Nine lectures have been held so far, the tenth is planned for December 2019.
Medals awarded by the Explorers Club are called Exploration Oscars. The Club also distinguishes for activities supporting the implementation of its tasks. Krzysztof Wielicki was the first Pole honored by the Explorers Club – he received the Lowell Thomas Award in October 2001. In March 2004, on the jubilee gala, in Waldorff Astoria, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Club, the Citation of Merit for “extraordinary service to the goals of the Club” went to Monika Rogozińska. She is a co-founder of the Polish Chapter. In March 2013, Monika Rogozińska received Sweeney Medal at Waldorf Astoria during the annual congress of E.C.
Expeditions with the Explorers Club Flag
For significant expeditions, The Explorers Club assigns a flag, on which its initials and a wind rose are surrounded by the colors: red – symbolizing courage, blue – loyalty to the goals of the Club and truth. Several Polish expeditions received the flag:
– Rapa Nui and Juan Fernandez Caves in the Pacific – Andrzej Ciszewski and prof. Zdzisław Ryn;
– NETIA K2 Winter Expedition – the first climbing winter expedition to K2 (8611 m) from the Chinese side led by Krzysztof Wielicki, reported from the base camp for the media by Monika Rogozińska.
– Together to the Pole, a program under which Marek Kamiński reached skiing both poles of the Earth with a disabled boy, Jas Mela. These expeditions helped raise funds for children’s prostheses.
– Oracles of the Incas – archaeologists headed by prof. Mariusz Ziółkowski, who in the Peruvian Andes located the most important oracle of the Fourth Part of the Inca Empire and found a network of pre-Columbian archaeological positions in hard to reach areas. Monika Rogozińska took part in the expedition as a journalist. (Flag No. 160)
– Aliens in Antarctica, research conducted by prof. Maria Agata Olech. The purpose of this trip was to study the natural areas of Pinguin Island and King George Island to create a nature reserve and save this area from the effects of uncontrolled visits by tourists arriving on boats. The research on the settlement in areas freed by melting glaciers, gathering mosses and lichens to one of the world’s largest herbariums of polar species created by prof. Maria Agata Olech at the Jagiellonian University of Kraków.
– Sierra Leone 2012, First Polish scientific and exploratory expedition to Sierra Leone. The main goal was to search and explore the wrecks along the Banana Island, an archipelago on the African, jungle-covered, Atlantic coast. Three members of the Polish Chapter participated: Peter Wytykowski, Roman Zajder and Marcin Jamkowski. (Flag No. 160)