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RTPI Presents Traveler and Photographer Jeanne Wiebenga November 28 at 7pm

Posted on Nov 8, 2018

Jeanne Wiebenga will share photographs and stories from her Antarctic journeys during a presentation at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute (RTPI) on November 28 at 7:00pm.

Jeanne Wiebenga

The Antarctic Peninsula and the subantarctic island of South Georgia are near the top of Jeanne Wiebenga’s list of favorite places. Twice, eighteen years apart, she made the trip by boat from Argentina, most recently in 2016 with a group of photographers under leadership of Dutch National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting. In her mind, nothing on this planet compares to the vast, pristine, untouched Antarctic landscapes still teeming with abundant marine wildlife of penguins, seals and whales. South Georgia is the home of large King Penguin colonies, fur and elephant seals, and also a breeding site for albatrosses and other bird species. On these journeys, she visited some of the same places that were seen by Roger Tory Peterson, who made more than a dozen trips to Antarctica and the subantarctic islands half a century ago, and brought home tens of thousands of slides and photographs, some of which were included in his book Penguins (1979).

Wiebenga was born and raised in The Netherlands where she went to medical school. During summer vacations, she traveled abroad and her experiences in the U.S., South America and Israel sparked her interest in photography. She moved to Ghana as a young physician to work for 3 years in a mission hospital. She loved living in Africa and decided to become an obstetrician gynecologist, planning to return in the future. After completing a residency in Buffalo, she accepted a job in a government hospital in Malawi and for the next 3 years was able to combine work with extensive travel through south and east Africa. Safaris in Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe inspired her to become a wildlife photographer.

Gentoo Penguins photographed by Jeanne Wiebenga

In the early 1990’s, she returned to the U.S. and worked in private practice in Jamestown for ten years before deciding to return to a lifestyle that allowed her to better be able to combine work with travel and photography. During the past fifteen years, she took jobs in various countries around the world and had a chance to visit all seven continents, with her last overseas assignment in South Sudan for Doctors without Borders. She lives in Chautauqua, working part-time and planning new adventures.

This program is offered by the RTPI Ornithology Club, which generally meets at RTPI on the last Wednesday of each month at 7:00pm. The club arranges natural history and bird-related programs free of charge to anyone who is interested, and the public is encouraged to attend.