Explorers Retrace Their Discovery of the Amazon's Source, A Field Museum Presentation

Apr 16, 2001, 01:00 ET from The Field Museum

    CHICAGO, April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Three explorers from the international
 team that determined the precise source of the Amazon River late last year
 will speak at The Field Museum on May 19.  The program is titled Field Forum:
 Exploring the Source of the Amazon River.  In addition, the explorers are
 available for interviews prior to their presentation.
     The Amazon is the last major river to give up the secret of its source.
 The precise location has eluded explorers and cartographers for centuries.
 The Amazon has a great number of tributaries and feeder streams, many of which
 have been considered over the years as the ultimate source of the mighty
 river.  At more than 4,000 miles, the Amazon is one of the world's two longest
 rivers.  It is the largest in terms of volume.
     The three explorers will recount their adventures, how they searched --
 while traveling by foot, jeep, bicycle, and horse -- the headwaters of five
 remote rivers high in the Andes Mountains that combine to form the Amazon.
 They will show breathtaking photographs of their six-week journey, giving a
 sneak preview of their story, which National Geographic magazine plans to
 feature sometime this fall.
     "We had to overcome extreme cold, vicious winds, high altitude, and very
 rough terrain," said Andrew Pietowski, a math teacher and new Chicago resident
 who led the expedition.  "The result is a highly reliable map of the Amazon's
 headwaters and an accurate determination of the river's source."
     Pietowski first became interested in the Andes Mountains around the source
 of the Amazon while leading a group of kayakers from Poland into the area in
 1981.  He escaped political unrest in his native Poland in 1981 and has lived
 in the United States since 1982.  Pietowski has spent more than two years
 exploring Peru's rivers and mountains and continues to explore in South
 America.
     Two other Polish adventurers and fellow members of the "Sources of the
 Amazon 2000" expedition will speak at The Field Museum event:  Piotr
 Chmielinski, a renowned kayaker who is the only person to travel the entire
 navigable length of the Amazon by kayak and raft; and Zbigniew Bzdak, a
 professional photographer based in Chicago who documented this and other
 expeditions for National Geographic.
     The source of a river is defined as the furthest point from the mouth in
 the drainage basin where water runs year round.  The team used advanced Global
 Positioning System technology from the U.S. Department of Defense to determine
 that the Amazon begins at Carhuasanta Creek on Nevado Mismi, an 18,363-foot
 mountain in southern Peru.  This is the first time such high-precision
 equipment is known to have been used in this remote area.
     The National Geographic Society, Smithsonian Institution, Chicago
 philanthropist Gary Comer, Kosciuszko Foundation, and people of Casper,
 Wyoming, supported the Amazonian expedition.
     Barry Chernoff, PhD, Associate Curator and Head of Fishes in the
 Department of Zoology at The Field Museum, will join the explorers at the
 May 19 lecture and discuss the museum's extensive research and pioneering
 conservation work in the Amazon River Valley.
     The lecture -- sponsored by The Field Museum, Polish Museum of America,
 and Shedd Aquarium -- will be offered twice, once in English and once in
 Polish.  A ticket to the lecture will provide free admission to Amazon Rising,
 an innovative exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium, which is next to The Field Museum
 on the Museum Campus.
     The program will launch a new Field Museum lecture series called "Field
 Forum."  This periodic series will focus on news breakers in science.
     Editors note: color photographs of the explorers are available as slides
 or by email (Jpg).
 
     Event details:
     Lecture in English: Saturday, May 19, 3 p.m.
     Lecture in Polish: Saturday, May 19, 1 p.m.
     Cost is $15; students/educators $12; members of The Field Museum $10.
 Ticket includes admission to both The Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium,
 including the Amazon Rising exhibition.
 
     Located at 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, The Field Museum is open from
 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (except Christmas Day and New Year's Day).  For
 information about this lecture call (312) 665-7400; about the museum in
 general call (312) 922-9410 or (312) 665-7009 TDD for the hearing impaired.
     The museum is served daily by CTA buses 6, 12 and 146.  For more
 information on public transportation to the museum, call the RTA Travel Center
 Hotline at (312) 836-7000.
 
 

SOURCE The Field Museum
    CHICAGO, April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Three explorers from the international
 team that determined the precise source of the Amazon River late last year
 will speak at The Field Museum on May 19.  The program is titled Field Forum:
 Exploring the Source of the Amazon River.  In addition, the explorers are
 available for interviews prior to their presentation.
     The Amazon is the last major river to give up the secret of its source.
 The precise location has eluded explorers and cartographers for centuries.
 The Amazon has a great number of tributaries and feeder streams, many of which
 have been considered over the years as the ultimate source of the mighty
 river.  At more than 4,000 miles, the Amazon is one of the world's two longest
 rivers.  It is the largest in terms of volume.
     The three explorers will recount their adventures, how they searched --
 while traveling by foot, jeep, bicycle, and horse -- the headwaters of five
 remote rivers high in the Andes Mountains that combine to form the Amazon.
 They will show breathtaking photographs of their six-week journey, giving a
 sneak preview of their story, which National Geographic magazine plans to
 feature sometime this fall.
     "We had to overcome extreme cold, vicious winds, high altitude, and very
 rough terrain," said Andrew Pietowski, a math teacher and new Chicago resident
 who led the expedition.  "The result is a highly reliable map of the Amazon's
 headwaters and an accurate determination of the river's source."
     Pietowski first became interested in the Andes Mountains around the source
 of the Amazon while leading a group of kayakers from Poland into the area in
 1981.  He escaped political unrest in his native Poland in 1981 and has lived
 in the United States since 1982.  Pietowski has spent more than two years
 exploring Peru's rivers and mountains and continues to explore in South
 America.
     Two other Polish adventurers and fellow members of the "Sources of the
 Amazon 2000" expedition will speak at The Field Museum event:  Piotr
 Chmielinski, a renowned kayaker who is the only person to travel the entire
 navigable length of the Amazon by kayak and raft; and Zbigniew Bzdak, a
 professional photographer based in Chicago who documented this and other
 expeditions for National Geographic.
     The source of a river is defined as the furthest point from the mouth in
 the drainage basin where water runs year round.  The team used advanced Global
 Positioning System technology from the U.S. Department of Defense to determine
 that the Amazon begins at Carhuasanta Creek on Nevado Mismi, an 18,363-foot
 mountain in southern Peru.  This is the first time such high-precision
 equipment is known to have been used in this remote area.
     The National Geographic Society, Smithsonian Institution, Chicago
 philanthropist Gary Comer, Kosciuszko Foundation, and people of Casper,
 Wyoming, supported the Amazonian expedition.
     Barry Chernoff, PhD, Associate Curator and Head of Fishes in the
 Department of Zoology at The Field Museum, will join the explorers at the
 May 19 lecture and discuss the museum's extensive research and pioneering
 conservation work in the Amazon River Valley.
     The lecture -- sponsored by The Field Museum, Polish Museum of America,
 and Shedd Aquarium -- will be offered twice, once in English and once in
 Polish.  A ticket to the lecture will provide free admission to Amazon Rising,
 an innovative exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium, which is next to The Field Museum
 on the Museum Campus.
     The program will launch a new Field Museum lecture series called "Field
 Forum."  This periodic series will focus on news breakers in science.
     Editors note: color photographs of the explorers are available as slides
 or by email (Jpg).
 
     Event details:
     Lecture in English: Saturday, May 19, 3 p.m.
     Lecture in Polish: Saturday, May 19, 1 p.m.
     Cost is $15; students/educators $12; members of The Field Museum $10.
 Ticket includes admission to both The Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium,
 including the Amazon Rising exhibition.
 
     Located at 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, The Field Museum is open from
 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (except Christmas Day and New Year's Day).  For
 information about this lecture call (312) 665-7400; about the museum in
 general call (312) 922-9410 or (312) 665-7009 TDD for the hearing impaired.
     The museum is served daily by CTA buses 6, 12 and 146.  For more
 information on public transportation to the museum, call the RTA Travel Center
 Hotline at (312) 836-7000.
 
 SOURCE   The Field Museum