Foundation Scholar Samuel McAleese


The Chicago Chapter of the Circumnavigators Club and Northwestern University are sponsoring Samuel McAleese to make a circumnavigation in 2009 while conducting research on a topic which he has selected and which has not been previously studied by other Foundation Scholars.

Sam is studying how engaging local people is a key to preserving National Parks around the world. This is the preeminent policy issue for National Parks.

Dispatches from Sam's Circumnavigation

Sam McAleese Peru

Here is Sam in Peru, the first country on his around the world research trip.

Click to see Sam's dispatches and photos on his blog. He updates these as he travels so check back often.

Northwestern University is the joint sponsor along with the Circumnavigators Club of Sam's research trip. Here is their announcement of Sam's selection by the Circumnavigators Foundation as the 2009 winner of the Circumnavigators travel-study award.

Background on Sam McAleese

Sam McAleese is a native of Columbus, Indiana. He is a Midwestern boy at heart, who grew up among the corn fields and back woods of rural Indiana. He has always loved anything involving the outdoors. Attending an urban university has not dampened his need to go out and explore! He orienteers throughout the greater Chicago area, enjoys attending multi-day adventure races throughout the Midwest, and loves walking along on the lake at night.

At Northwestern, Sam is majoring in philosophy, with a minor in political science. He is interested specifically in the ethical issues surrounding policy making. He has spent his summers either doing research and working in Wrangell St. Elias National Park in Alaska or working on research for a political science professor at Northwestern.

Outside of classes, Sam spends a majority of his time as a third-year rower of the Northwestern Crew. Whether he is rowing on the water or exercising inside on a rowing machine, rowing at a competitive level has developed every aspect of his life. Besides being a member of the crew, Sam has also been a photographer for the Daily Northwestern, an active volunteer with his church, and a certified Emergency Medical Technician.

Itinerary of Sam's Circumnavigation

  • June 16 - June 29 - Lima, Peru
  • June 30 - July 14 - Santiago, Chile
  • July 16 - July 22 - Brisbane, Australia
  • July 22 - July 27 - Cairns, Australia
  • July 27 - Aug 5 - Darwin, Australia
  • Aug 6 - Aug 14 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Aug 14 - Aug 24 - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Aug 25 - Sept 2 - Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Sept 3 - Sept 14 - Johannesburg, South Africa

Sam's Research Topic

In a globalized society, National Parks around the world face seemingly insurmountable problems as they struggle to fulfill their original mandates of preservation and protection. The early 21st century will see the end of the opportunity to preserve pristine or near-pristine environments. This end of opportunity leaves countries searching for innovative ways to manage National Parks.

Governments often fail to foster a healthy relationship with local populations, a failure which inevitably undermines any progress being made. Sam's study will compare the policies that countries enact to confront the issue of local engagement in National Parks.

Sam's research will primarily take two methods. The bulk of research will be interviews with Park officials, local populations, and visiting tourists. Some reserach will also be done by looking at nationally published Park documents. By looking at each nation's general opinions, their specific Park policies, and the implementation of these policies and beliefs on a local level, Sam will come to understand each country's way to combat the issues facing National Parks around the world.