AT A GLANCE
Susan R. Eaton is a geologist, geophysicist, journalist, polar snorkeler and conservationist based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Nine years ago, Susan suffered a scuba diving trauma that landed her in a hyperbaric chamber for three days, ending her 30-year diving career. Undaunted, her up-close-and-personal relationship with the ocean—which had included teaching scuba diving—didn’t end in the hyperbaric chamber…
Today, Susan explores the world’s oceans—from Antarctica to the Arctic—in the snorkel zone, a dynamic land-sea-ice-air interface where charismatic animals interact with snorkelers. She’s snorkeled with chatty belugas Hudson Bay, migrating salmon in Haida Gwaii, and with charging 1,400-pound leopard seals in Antarctica. During a snorkel expedition to witness the annual narwhal migration through the Northwest Passage, Susan and her co-explorers became trapped on a floating ice island, precipitating a 36-hour military air rescue off the northern coast of Baffin Island.
In the past five years, Susan has participated in three science-based expeditions to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica. Readers followed Susan, virtually, as she studied the interplay of plate tectonics, glaciers, ocean change, climate and life.
In 2015, she was named one of Canada’s top 100 modern-day explorers by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. A member of the Explorers Club, Susan was named to the Explorers Club (Canadian Chapter) 2015 Honour Roll.
Susan is the founder and leader of the Sedna Epic Expedition, an organization comprised of an international team of female ocean scientists, explorers, journalists, movie-makers, educators and scuba diving professionals. From Alaska to Greenland, according to Inuit legend, Sedna is the goddess of the sea. And, she’s the mother of all marine mammals.
During the summer of 2014, pushing the limits of physical endurance in polar seas, Team Sedna mounted a proof-of-concept snorkel expedition to Newfoundland, Labrador, western Greenland and Iceland. Snorkeling with the assistance of diver propulsion vehicles (aka “scooters”) in pack ice, bergy bits and 9,000-feet-deep seas, the women raised global awareness of disappearing sea ice and ocean change in the Arctic. Using mobile salt water aquariums and remotely operated vehicles, Team Sedna delivered ocean educational outreach—focused on empowering girls and young women—to the largely non-swimming Inuit community of Nain, Labrador. This successful proof-of-concept expedition was a critical step towards the sea women achieving their ultimate goal—mounting a snorkel relay of the 3,000-kilometre Northwest Passage during the summers of 2017 and 2018. Organizing an elite team of snorkelers to swim the length of the Canada’s remote Northwest Passage requires project management skills akin to those involved in planning a space mission—physiological, scientific, logistical, safety and financial challenges must be identified and overcome.
An advocate of encouraging girls and young women to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), Susan embraces the inclusion of the Arts—progressing from STEM to STEAM—in polar exploration. The collaboration between scientists and artists, she believes, creates a powerful communications vehicle for the general public and youth in particular. In August-September 2015, Susan will participate—as a geoscientist, polar snorkeler and science journalist—in the Elysium Epic Artists for the Arctic Expedition. Traveling from Svalbard, Norway, to eastern Greenland and Iceland, the Artists for the Arctic Expedition will create a comprehensive and compelling artistic portrait of the Arctic, scientifically documenting its current ecological status.
Susan has established a successful career in Canada’s energy sector, attaining the position of vice president of exploration in three junior energy companies. Susan holds a B.Sc. Honours Degree (geology and biology) from Dalhousie University, and a M.Sc. (petroleum geology and geophysics) from the University of London (Imperial College of Science and Technology, Royal School of Mines).
Equipped with a journalism degree from Carleton University, Susan began her journalism career—as an on-camera news reporter—with CBC-TV in Canada. Today, as a freelance writer, she reports on business, energy, science and technology, space, the environment, adventure travel and polar snorkeling. Her articles and photographs have been widely published in American and Canadian magazines and newspapers.
Susan has been involved, as a volunteer, in global conservation issues for more than twenty-five years. In 2014, she was one of the 75 founding members of Nature Canada’s Women for Nature initiative.
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Copyright 2015 © Susan R. Eaton