In 1988 Dr. Patricia (Pat) Potter Wilson and her husband Wendell visited Antarctica with a program sponsored by New York City’s prestigious American Museum of Natural History. The voyage on the World Discoverer departed for Antarctica out of Chile and visited various international research stations in Antarctica. From lecturers aboard the ship Pat learned that a Boy Scout was selected to go on Commander Richard Byrd’s 1928-1930 expedition to Antarctica. Thousands of scouts from from across the United States applied, and after meeting stringent selection criteria a nineteen-year old Eagle Scout named Paul Siple was selected to go to Antarctica with Byrd.

At this time Pat was a university professor who taught courses in children’s and Young Adult literature. What an interesting role model for young people! She tucked this information away with the idea of someday writing a book about this scout and his adventures. After returning home from Antarctica she contacted Paul Siple’s widow, Ruth Siple. They immediately became friends, and over the years Ruth shared many photographs and stories about Paul who had died in 1968.

After retiring Pat seriously pursued the research and writing of the book about this extraordinary piece of history, the 1928-1930 Byrd Antarctic Expedition. In 2006 she and her husband returned to Antarctica—this time out of New Zealand on a Russian icebreaker, the Kapitan Khlebnikov. This expedition followed in the footsteps of Commander Byrd, Eagle Scout Siple, and the other explorers from this early period of Antarctic discovery. With the new knowledge gained from this unique tour Dr. Wilson was able to complete Eagle On Ice.