July 2020

Terra Explore Expeditions (www.TerraExplore.bz) was set to launch this summer, with trips developed to support the work of Terra Conservation partners in Papua New Guinea, Kenya and South Africa. Mother nature had other ideas, and as we contend with the pandemic and its devastating fallout, our focus remains on the needs and concerns of our conservation partners in the field. Stay tuned, as we will continue this discussion with further focus on shaping our 2021 Terra expeditions. In the meantime, Director John Holder sat down for a Q & A to introduce his philosophy, and how Terra Explore sets itself apart as an impactful expeditionary experience.

Terra Team Q & A:

Meet John Holder: Founder/Director Terra Explore Expeditions

Q. Please give us a bit of your background; what drew you to expeditionary exploration?

A. I have been exploring our planet for over 40 years, enjoying locations as far flung as Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Panama, Costa Rica, Tanzania, and Mozambique, to name a few. I founded Oceanic Expeditions (OE) in 1993 as a unique, projective company focusing on travel to remote regions.  After over a decade of pushing the envelope and having shared so many unique experiences with clients and providers alike I became aware of an acute void within this elite community—a lack of purposeful mission.

I decided to create a methodology to fill this significant void; this required strategy and tactics which did not exist at the time.  As a student of history, I was impressed with the singular focus and purpose of the British Admiralty during the golden era of exploration, and the formula which they applied some 270 years ago. I thought, what would Dampier, Cook, and Fitzroy do now with our technology and associated procedures?  I decided to transition OE into completely different and purposeful entity, focused on science. Thus, I developed both a new strategy and supportive tactic, and the FitzWinian and Triphibious process was born in 2001 to fill this void, and further the human exploratory experience.

The inclusion of highly qualified field scientists on expeditions set the stage for a revolution in field exploratory efforts.  FitzWinian is a multidisciplined scientific process (geophysics, biology, anthropology, history, etc.). Couple this with what I call Triphibious Tactics (land, sea, air) and you have an effective integrated process which results in discovery. That sense of purpose on our trips brought a next level experience to our participants. This purpose now resides within Terra Explore.

Q. With Terra Explore you tie conservation, backed by science, to each and every expedition. How is this part of the mission?

A. The function of conservation is the action of exploration. To explore is to discover, in discovery knowledge is achieved. When you know something, appreciate its beauty, understand its place in being, you grow to love it. This results in protection, or conservation, which is our mission at Terra Explore, in concert with our Terra Conservation Initiative partners.

When we started Terra Explore, our goal was to make a significant difference in global conservation.  With a targeted approach, unique strategies and specialized tactics, The Terra Explore team is singularly capable of mission focused experiential scientific exploration.  When I founded Explore my desire was to give back to the planet which has given so much to me. Knowing is loving.

That desire has resulted in specific focus upon three primary regions: The Panamic Region, Melanesia, and East Africa. By taking an immersive and multi-disciplined scientific approach, our exploratory expeditions with mission focus, result in amazingly unique discovery.

It is through these exploratory efforts that we achieve our focused conservation and can contribute not only time and effort, but the monetary component which is essential to effective and lasting conservation.

Q. With travel having been restricted due to COVID 19, when do you see a return to the field with expeditions?

A. We are beginning to plan trips for 2021. We must re-engage. Indigenous people in the prior stated regions of Terra Explore focus, and the flora and fauna which comprise the environment in which these amazing people live is in a state of emerging disaster.  Many of these communities are completely interlaced within their beautiful environment, subsistence to commercial.

It is no secret that when systems collapse and attritive processes evolve within a vacuum, that void will be filled, nature abhors a vacuum. At Terra Explore we choose to engage and fill these vacuous bubbles with action and love for the natural world.