CSU, Chico News

Kayaking, Butterflies and Tales of Adventure Part of New Guinea Research Expedition Event

Date: 01-07-2008

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
530-898-4143
Leslie Schibsted
College of Natural Sciences
530-898-4466

Local explorer John Lane, adjunct professor at California State University, Chico, and principal scientist at Chico Environmental Science and Planning, LLC, ventured to the Lake Hargy area of Papua New Guinea in Aug. 2007. On Friday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m. in the Big Room of the Sierra Nevada Brewery, Lane will report on the scientific findings of the expedition and premiere the award-winning kayaking documentary sponsored by National Geographic and filmed on the trip. He will also welcome Major Fred Hargesheimer, a World War II pilot downed over the Lake Hargy area. The event is free and open to the public, with a no-host bar.

Don Miller, an entomologist from the Department of Biological Sciences, CSU, Chico, who accompanied Lane on the trip, will talk about research outcomes. He and others discovered several new species, including a prawn, two frogs, a snake and possibly some butterflies.

Other research projects on the trip included creating a bathymetry (underwater topography) map of Lake Hargy; looking for a fungus on frogs as part of a global-warming study; creating a geologic map of rock types found in the Lake Hargy Caldera (a caldera is a collapse of land following a volcanic eruption); measuring precipitation; and measuring fluctuation in the lake level.

Lake Hargy was named after Hargesheimer, who was shot down in 1943 and survived for 31 days alone in the jungle. He was rescued and cared for by people from Nantabu village. He was hidden from the Japanese at great risk to themselves. He returned to the village in 1964 and established two schools. His story is the subject of the book, “The School that Fell from the Sky.”

Lane plans another expedition in the summer of 2008, and will be accompanied by several faculty members of the College of Natural Sciences. The trip is also open to community members who may wish to accompany the scientists on the trip.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company has sponsored past research trips to Papua New Guinea.

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