2022 Book Recommendations


WINGS explorers are prolific researchers and writers. A great way to support their bold ideas is to gift their books to your favorite readers of adventure and science. Here are just a few works published in 2022 that will stretch your imagination with extraordinary stories of people and a planet of possibility and hope:

Felicity Aston, 2014 WINGS Courage Award

Polar Exposure: An All-Women’s Expedition to the North Pole

British explorer Felicity Aston, who in 2012 became the first person to ski solo across Antarctica, has written five books about explorers / her own experiences in some of the coldest places in the world. Polar Exposure is the inspiring account of a diverse all-women’s expedition, for which Felicity carried WINGS Flag #23, with all of the highs and lows of record-breaking exploration.

Each team members’ story, told in her own words, is woven together to chronicle their grueling preparation in Iceland and Oman, the anticipation for the journey, and the terrifying conditions of the Arctic. Aston beautifully weaves each woman’s account into the greater expedition narrative, reminding readers of the teamwork needed to complete such a feat. Set against a backdrop of Arctic pack ice that is thinner, newer, and less stable than ever before due to climate change—the team must work together as they face the reality that anything and everything could go wrong at any moment.

Over 60 stunning photographs illustrate the journey, illuminating the breathtaking landscape along with the joy, pain, and determination of these ten women. Polar Exposure is a powerful celebration of the perseverance of women in science, sports, and exploration that sheds light on all that it takes to reach the top of the world.

Jill Heinerth, 2022 WINGS Lifetime Achievement Award

Into the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver

Canadian cave explorer and photographer Jill Heinerth, the first person to dive deep into an Antarctic iceberg and leader of a team that discovered the ancient watery remains of Mayan civilizations, gives her firsthand account of exploring the earth’s final frontier in this memoir blending science and adventure.

She takes us into the harrowing split-second decisions that determine whether a diver makes it back to safety, the prejudices that prevent women from pursuing careers underwater, and her endeavor to recover a fallen friend’s body from the confines of a cave. But there’s beauty beyond the danger of diving, and while she swims beneath our feet in the lifeblood of our planet, she works with biologists discovering new species, physicists tracking climate change, and hydrogeologists examining our finite freshwater reserves.

Written with hair-raising intensity, Into the Planet is the first book to deliver an intimate account of cave diving, transporting readers deep into inner space, where fear must be reconciled and a mission’s success balances between knowing one’s limits and pushing the envelope of human endurance.

Cassandra Quave, Ph.D., 2022 Flag Carrier

The Plant Hunter: A Scientist’s Quest for Nature’s Next Medicines

Medical ethnobotanist Dr. Cassandra Quave identifies and studies plants that may be able to treat antimicrobial resistance and other threatening illnesses, helping to provide clues for the next generation of advanced medicines. Traveling by canoe, ATV, mule, airboat, and on foot, she has conducted field research in the flooded forests of the remote Amazon, the murky swamps of southern Florida, the rolling hills of central Italy, isolated mountaintops in Albania and Kosovo, and volcanic isles arising out of the Mediterranean—all in search of natural compounds, long-known to traditional healers, that could help save us all from the looming crisis of untreatable superbugs.

Filled with grit, tragedy, triumph, awe, and scientific discovery, The Plant Hunter weaves together science and botany to tell us the extraordinary story of the challenge of balancing work and motherhood, her struggle with disability and infection, and her globe-trotting quest to develop new ways to fight illness and disease through the healing powers of plants in this uplifting and adventure-filled memoir.

Gaelin Rosenwaks, 2018 and 2021 Flag Carrier

Sperm Whales: The Gentle Goliaths of the Oceans

Marine scientist, photographer, filmmaker and Global Ocean Exploration, Inc. founder Gaelin Rosenwaks seeks to share her passion for the ocean, fishing and the natural world through powerful imagery, words and adventure. Her new book documents sperm whales, the world’s largest toothed predator, which were nearly hunted to the brink of extinction.

In the waters off Dominica, where Gaelin carried WINGS Flag #29 in 2021, she observed—eye to eye—the close bond between mother and child firsthand. What she found is that these animals live in matriarchal family units made up of remarkable females that stay together for generations. Like elephants and humans, they take care of one another. She was able to document them sleeping, playing, nursing, and so much more about their vibrant lives both under the sea, and above it. Through her breathtaking photography and inspiring words, readers can join Gaelin and the whales and be inspired to help save them for future generations.

Katey Walter Anthony, Ph.D, 2011 WINGS Fellow

Chasing Lakes: Love, Science and the Secrets of the Arctic

Alaskan aquatic ecologist and permafrost scientist Dr. Katey Walter Anthony is known for her pioneering research on methane emissions from Arctic lakes, the degradation of permafrost, and its feedback to global climate processes through the carbon cycle. Her work has taken her from the Sierra Nevada to the deepest reaches of Alaska and Siberia.

Chasing Lakes is her story: one-part adventure—complete with shipwrecks and treacherous treks through Arctic storms by helicopter, snowmobile, and foot to measure greenhouse gases—part coming-of-age tale, as she searches for belonging in the wake of a broken childhood, and part spiritual quest to find a wholeness science cannot fill. Both an eye-opening look from the frontlines of the climate crisis and a layered, intimate portrait of a brilliant scientist, this is memoir writing at its finest: beautiful, complex, revelatory, and moving.

Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Ph.D, 2011 WINGS Humanity Award

Walking With Gorillas: The Journey of an African Wildlife Vet (Available for pre-order)

Uganda’s 1st wildlife vet and founder of Conservation Through Public Health, Dr. Gladys Kalema- Zikusoka, tells the remarkable story from her animal-loving childhood to her career protecting endangered mountain gorillas and other wild animals. She is also a groundbreaking promoter of human public health and an advocate for revolutionary integrated approaches to saving our planet. In an increasingly interconnected world, animal and human health alike depend on sustainable solutions, and Dr. Gladys has developed an innovative approach to conservation among the endangered Mountain Gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and their human neighbors.

Walking with Gorillas takes the reader on Dr. Gladys’s personal journey, from her early days as a student in Uganda, enduring the assassination of her father during civil war, to her veterinarian education in England, to establishing the first veterinary department for the Ugandan government, to founding one of the first organizations in the world that enables people to coexist with wildlife through improving the health and wellbeing of both. Her award-winning approach reduced the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on critically endangered mountain gorillas.

In the face of discrimination and a male dominated world, one woman’s passion and determination to build a brighter future for the local wildlife and human community offers inspiration and insights into what is truly possible for our planet when we come together.