About The Team

Founder

Alegra Ally

FOUNDEr, president
director of expeditions

Alegra Ally is ethnographer and award-winning explorer and photographer, best known for her in-depth work Wild Born Project focusing on indigenous women. Her ability to produce photographs with profound emotional resonance and sensitivity earned her the Scott Pearlman Field Award for her expedition: ‘Women at the End of the Land’ in 2016 and dozens of other international awards both from the photography and exploration communities. Ally was named “A Modern Explorer” by the New York Times, and her recently published book “New Path- A Window into Nenets Life”, has been titled by photography books critics as one of 2019’s best photography books. Ally’s work is featured in several publications; The New York Times, Huffington Post, The Walt Disney Company, The Guardian, Maptia, Sidetracked, Shackleton Journal London, and the British Journal of Photography. Ally first travelled solo to Papua New Guinea in 1997 at the age of 17, where she spent months living remote tribes. She crossed the Sepik River by canoe twice, trekked the Kokoda Trail, and became initiated into one of the Sepik tribes as well as into the Kosua tribe. Her first book describing her travels in Papua, “Touching Genesis”, was published in 2001. She serves as a member in the Scott Pearlman Field award and the Flag and Honours Committees of The Explorers Club. Recently she served as an advisor to the BBC Natural History Unit for a “Human Planet” series. As an internationally recognized speaker Ally was invited to present the Wild Born Project in several midwifery organizations, including midwifery departments at various hospitals, photography schools and the Explorers Club Headquarters. Ally is currently writing her memoir and her thesis as part for her Masters of Research degree with focus on Anthropology at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.
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The Board

Alegra Ally

FOUNDER / EXPEDITION LEADER / EXPEDITION DIRECTOR

Alegra Ally is ethnographer and award-winning explorer and photographer, best known for her in-depth work Wild Born Project focusing on indigenous women. Her ability to produce photographs with profound emotional resonance and sensitivity earned her the Scott Pearlman Field Award for her expedition: ‘Women at the End of the Land’ in 2016 and dozens of other international awards both from the photography and exploration communities. Ally was named “A Modern Explorer” by the New York Times, and her recently published book “New Path- A Window into Nenets Life”, has been titled by photography books critics as one of 2019’s best photography books. Ally’s work is featured in several publications; The New York Times, Huffington Post, The Walt Disney Company, The Guardian, Maptia, Sidetracked, Shackleton Journal London, and the British Journal of Photography. Ally first travelled solo to Papua New Guinea in 1997 at the age of 17, where she spent months living remote tribes. She crossed the Sepik River by canoe twice, trekked the Kokoda Trail, and became initiated into one of the Sepik tribes as well as into the Kosua tribe. Her first book describing her travels in Papua, “Touching Genesis”, was published in 2001. She serves as a member in the Scott Pearlman Field award and the Flag and Honours Committees of The Explorers Club. Recently she served as an advisor to the BBC Natural History Unit for a “Human Planet” series. As an internationally recognized speaker Ally was invited to present the Wild Born Project in several midwifery organizations, including midwifery departments at various hospitals, photography schools and the Explorers Club Headquarters. Ally is currently writing her memoir and her thesis as part for her Masters of Research degree with focus on Anthropology at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.
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Erez Beatus

Director / Head of operations

Honorary Advisors

Dr. Robbie Davis-Floyd

Honorary advisor /Medical Anthropologist/ Midwife

Dr. Davis-Floyd is Senior Research Fellow, in the Dept. of Anthropology at the University of Texas Austin. She is an international speaker, published author, medical/cultural anthropologist, and an expert in the fields of childbirth and midwifery.

As a cultural anthropologist, she has spent over 20 years researching issues in the anthropology of reproduction, focusing most closely on childbirth, obstetrics, and midwifery.

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Dr. Sarah Buckley

Honorary Advisor

Dr. Sarah Buckley is a New-Zealand-trained GP/family physician with qualifications in GP-obstetrics and family planning. Dr. Buckley’s bestselling book Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor’s Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices, was published by Celestial Arts/ PenguinRandomHouse (US, 2009).

She is a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland, where her research is focused on oxytocin and the autonomic nervous system in labour and birth, and the impacts of interventions.

Dr Buckley’s work critiques current practices in pregnancy, birth, and parenting from the widest possible perspectives, including scientific, anthropological, cross-cultural, psychological, and personal.

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Carol Gaustchi

Honorary Advisor / Midwife

Carol Gautschi is a Certified Professional Midwife (NARM certified) and is also licensed by the state of Washington. Carol is the longest continuously practicing home-birth midwife on the Kitsap & Olympic Peninsulas. She has attended home births for more than 40 years and worked as a Classical Holistic Midwife since 1979.

She is president and co-founder of the Washington Alliance for Responsible Midwifery (WARM), founding and board-member of Global Midwifery Council and chairs Olympic Peninsula Birth Matters.

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Dr. Sophie Chao

Honorary advisor /Cultural Anthropologist

Dr. Sophie Chao is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Sydney’s School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry. Dr. Chao holds a PhD from Macquarie University where her research was based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in West Papua, examining how deforestation and monocrop oil palm expansion reconfigure the multispecies lifeworld of indigenous Marind communities. Her research explores the intersections of capitalism, ecology, and indigeneity in Southeast Asia.

Dr. Chao is currently Secretary on the Executive Committee of the Australian Anthropological Association (AAS), Co-Convenor of the Australian Food, Society, and Culture Network (AFSCN), and Member of the Charles Perkins Center Early and Mid-Career Researchers Committee (University of Sydney).

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ZOË TRYON​

Honorary advisor

Zoë Tryon is a renowned activist, speaker, and artist known for her work with indigenous communities globally. She is the Founder of One of the Tribe Journeys, a travel company that offers, privately led, immersive experiences with indigenous communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon and Andes. Through One of the Tribe Zoë has led journalists, filmmakers, celebrities to witness places in the world few will ever see. Zoe also founded the One of the Tribe non-profit to raise awareness for the issues facing indigenous communities and has acted as a cultural liaison between indigenous and Western leaders since 2006 when she first began living with the Achuar Tribe in the Amazon. Since then Zoe has lived and worked with the Achuar, Shuar, Kichwa, Sapara and Waorani peoples across Ecuador. She has supported education, health and economic capacity building projects, advocated for environmental and constitutional rights, and worked closely with indigenous partners on the largest environmental lawsuit in history. Zoë speaks worldwide on the interconnected issues of environmental stewardship and corporate responsibility and how we can apply extraordinary wisdom from tribal cultures to our lives today. Zoe is currently completing her memoir, The Jungle Within, as well as a TV series, bringing to screen her own experiences with tribes. She is an ambassador for Amazon Watch, a champion for the Clearwater Campaignand a creative activist for the Creative Visions Foundation. Her artwork is held in private collections around the world and Zoë is currently based between Wiltshire, England, Ecuador and the US.
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Volunteers

RUTH CLARK

Social media coordinator

Ruth is a solo world traveler, writer, teacher, doula, and social media extraordinaire. Her work focuses on travel, mental health, and authentic living. She currently calls Denver home and finds joy in global travel, wandering the woods, hanging with her siblings, and social justice.
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Melissa Flagg

COMMUNICATIONS AND NARRATIVE

Melissa Flagg is a writer and independent filmmaker and with fourteen years of experience creating uniquely compelling films. She works across multiple genres, including short-film, documentary and narrative. Melissa is also a counsellor and teaches creative dance and embodied movement for adults and children of all abilities. She has facilitated programs and workshops on movement education and embodied dance in Canada and India. Melissa is passionate about working with communities and individuals in the areas of health and well-being and works at supporting and guiding projects that bring forth meaningful change. Collaboration is an important element in Melissa’s work and artistic practice, and she has collaborated on film, dance, and writing projects with other artists, filmmakers, therapists and youth from around the world. Melissa holds a Bachelor degree in Media Arts from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and has studied at The Victoria College of Art, The Banff Centre for the Arts, and West Coast Dance/Movement Therapy in Canada. Melissa is an experienced trekker and with a deep wanderlust and love of travel, but returns often to her home on beautiful Vancouver Island, Canada.
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MARY GIORDANO

Midwife Coordinator

Mary is a community development practitioner with fourteen years of experience supporting women and families in the for-purpose sector in Australia and overseas. Mary is committed to building inclusive communities through education, strategic partnerships and the advocacy of women with complex needs. With extensive experience working to support migrant and refugee women during their resettlement in Australia, Mary is highly skilled in intercultural communication, capacity development and stakeholder engagement. Mary is also a doula and is honoured to hold space for women and their families during some of the most transformative moments of their life. Mary has travelled extensively, speaks three languages fluently and is competent in several others. She is interested in transnational identities, cultural competence in the birth space, and the way women experience birth and the transition to motherhood in different cultural settings. Mary has a Bachelor’s degree majoring in Anthropology and Languages, a Diploma of Education specialising in Language Teaching and she has undertaken extensive professional development in Cultural Competency and Strengths Based-Practice. Mary is also an artisan and she facilitates creative mother’s circles for women in preparation for birth. She is currently working on an ethnographic research proposal to explore cross cultural experiences of birth and the emerging role that doulas play in this space. Mary loves to spend time outdoors, and every week she dances herself into a trance with ancient healing and ritualistic dances from the south of Italy as part of the Melbourne School of Tarantella.

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