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The Outdoors Almanac | MIGRATIONS

Waiter, I'll have the tarantula

March 09, 2004

Cram a hundred years of groundbreaking human adventure into a single society affair and you wind up with a lot of turf to cover and dressed-up survival food to eat. The Explorers Club straddles the centuries to celebrate its 100th anniversary in New York with a handful of frontier superstars who'll nosh on tarantulas (two types on the menu: Thai zebra and Burmese bird-eater, marinated in fine spirits) at its annual dinner this month. Everest conqueror Edmund Hillary will share the podium with scientist Steven Squyres, Mars man-of-the-moment. "As much as we're celebrating our past 100 years, we're also celebrating the future of exploration," says Jeff Stolzer, communications director. Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin and record-setting balloonist Bertrand Picard also will address the mountaineers, paleontologists, spelunkers, mammalogists, deep-sea divers and other members of the private club. One of its oldest card-carriers, Col. Norman Vaughan, who was on Adm. Richard Byrd's first expedition to the South Pole in 1928, is expected to attend the black-tie affair at the Waldorf Astoria. Then there's the food: scorpion served as logs that float in a dollop of herbed cream cheese or sandwiched between baby asparagus shoots with pepper slices, Cajun alligator, beaver and West Virginia cave crickets. No endangered species are dished up. "When explorers are out in the field, they eat what's available," Stolzer says. "We serve dry-roasted mealworms every year." For information on the club, go to www.explorers.org. To view winners of its Centennial Photography Competition, go to explorers.org/projects/photocomp2003/photocomp2003.php.

Alice McNulty shot grand prize winner "Chinstraps on Blue Ice," below, in the Antarctic.

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