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National Geographic Photo Camp to Mentor Internally Displaced Persons in Ukraine

National GeographicNewsFeed - Wed, 07/01/2015 - 16:29

WASHINGTON (July 1, 2015)—A group of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Ukraine will learn to tell their stories through photography and writing during National Geographic Photo Camp Ukraine, July 5-10. The camp, to be held in Kharkiv, Ukraine, is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Ukraine Confidence Building Initiative project and will highlight issues faced by young people in the region. The 20 participants, ages 17-30, will be mentored by National Geographic magazine contributing photographers Anastasia Taylor-Lind and Matt Moyer and National Geographic magazine’s deputy director of photography, Whitney Johnson.

The six-day workshop, conducted in partnership with USAID and the Institute for Regional Media and Information, will train the students to document the reality of their lives as people displaced by the conflict in Ukraine. For more than a year, youth in eastern Ukraine have faced life-altering challenges: being caught up in conflict, losing friends and families, fleeing their homes and starting new lives in new cities. Much of the country’s response to the conflict has focused on addressing the urgent humanitarian needs, leaving youth with little outlet to express their experiences. There are currently an estimated 1.2 million IDPs registered as a result of the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine, with nearly 980,000 IDPs in the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk. The lives of thousands of children and young adults have been disrupted as they face the challenge of reconciling their new reality within the greater context of Ukraine’s democratic transition.

“We hope Photo Camp Ukraine will provide the participants with a creative outlet to share their unique perspectives,” said Terry Garcia, National Geographic’s chief science and exploration officer. “National Geographic believes in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. We have found that Photo Camp inspires a new generation of storytellers as well as the members of the community who view their work.”Olympus Imaging America Inc. has supplied cameras for the Photo Camp. National Geographic Photo Camp has provided programs for more than 1,500 young people in 69 locations since 2003. For more information on recent Photo Camps in South Sudan and Jordan, visit:


National Geographic previously conducted a Photo Camp in Crimea in 2010 with USAID support. The students designed a portrait of the Black Sea and the Crimean coast, with special attention to the region’s natural environment, economic resources and the participants’ own connection with water.

About the National Geographic Society

National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Each year, we fund hundreds of research, conservation and education programs around the globe. Every month, we reach more than 700 million people through our media platforms, products and events. Our work to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism and education initiatives is supported through donations, purchases and memberships. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com, and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Categories: National Geographic

National Geographic Kids Teams Up with Second Lady Jill Biden to Showcase Young Photographers at Vice President’s Residence

National GeographicNewsFeed - Wed, 07/01/2015 - 15:25

WASHINGTON (July 1, 2015)—Today, National Geographic Kids and Dr. Jill Biden, second lady of the United States, announced a new collaboration to celebrate young photographers by exhibiting their work at the Vice President’s Residence in Washington, D.C. The Bidens have always displayed rotating art in the Vice President’s Residence for guests to enjoy, and this new project will showcase the work of budding photographers.

Each month, National Geographic Kids editors will select top photographs from My Shot, National Geographic’s moderated photo community for kids that complies with federal regulations for children’s online privacy protection. Those photos will then be exhibited on a rotating digital frame at the Vice President’s Residence, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy multiple amazing photographs each month. Highlighted kids will also receive a digital “VP” badge for their Nat Geo Kids My Shot page.

“I’m thrilled to join Dr. Biden in congratulating these extraordinarily talented young photographers,” said National Geographic Society President and CEO Gary E. Knell. “National Geographic is committed to inspiring, educating and celebrating young people, because they are the leaders who will protect our planet in the future.”

“Joe and I are proud to bring the creativity of so many young photographers from across the country into our home and to see the world through their lens,” said Dr. Biden. “I am so impressed by the incredible talent and professionalism of these kid photographers, and I look forward to sharing their work with our family, friends and all those who visit the Vice President’s Residence.”

The 10 inaugural photographers whose work will be on display this month are:

Ben Alperovitz, 9, Lincoln, Massachusetts

Ann Basu, 17, Los Angeles, California

Jordana Collins, 15, Richmond, Virginia


Lauren Davies, 15, Spotsylvania, Virginia

Anna DePaulis, 15, Flat Rock, Michigan

Elias Harris, 11, Moorhead, Minnesota

Caroline Herzog, 13, Wakefield, Massachusetts

Kristin Jenkins, 13, Dayton, Ohio

Elanor Jorgenson, 17, Lincoln, Nebraska

Hannah Schroter, 16, Huntersville, North Carolina

To view the images on display in the Vice President’s Residence and other amazing photos, visit http://kids-myshot.nationalgeographic.com/.

About the National Geographic Society

National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Each year, we fund hundreds of research, conservation and education programs around the globe. Every month, we reach more than 700 million people through our media platforms, products and events. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Categories: National Geographic

Regionals day 3

Booker High Wycombe - Wed, 07/01/2015 - 11:32
Yesterday was a bit hot and blue, so the grid eventually launched on a fallback task to Towcester and back. Most competitors made it over the finish line, only a couple of landouts. Nick Jennings won the day, with overall leader Stuart Law in 2nd place and Jan McCoshim 3rd. Booker pilots are fighting back!

Briefing today at noon.

Categories: Gliding

14 New Properties Join National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World

National GeographicNewsFeed - Tue, 06/30/2015 - 19:30

WASHINGTON (June 30, 2015)—National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World has added 14 new lodges to its prestigious collection of boutique hotels in remarkable destinations around the world. These new properties have each demonstrated their commitment to authenticity, excellence and sustainability, while offering outstanding guest experiences that support the protection of cultural and natural heritage. From a historic hacienda in Mexico to beautiful log cabins at the mouth of an Alaskan fjord to a stunning safari camp in Botswana’s Okavango Delta region, the new additions exemplify the diverse offerings of National Geographic’s distinctive hotel collection and appeal to a broad spectrum of today’s travelers.

The addition of these 14 new lodges brings the Unique Lodges portfolio to a total of 38 distinguished properties on six continents. Launched in January 2015 with 24 charter members, the properties in the Unique Lodges collection offer a host of authentic and responsible travel experiences.

The 14 new National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World members are:

Every lodge is evaluated through a comprehensive vetting process in which it is judged on property, guest experience, quality of service and sustainable tourism practices. The process includes an on-site inspection by an expert to assess hotel operations, to meet staff and to evaluate the lodge’s sustainable tourism practices.

“Our growing collection of Unique Lodges of the World offers a wide range of meaningful travel experiences to all kinds of explorers,” said Lynn Cutter, National Geographic’s executive vice president for Travel and Licensing. “We are thrilled to bring on these extraordinary new members, as they embody the values National Geographic and our travelers hold close.”

Each lodge in the collection offers a special “National Geographic Exclusive” experience to guests who book their stay through National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World. This complimentary offering provides guests with the opportunity to further immerse themselves in the local culture and environment. The “National Geographic Exclusive” experiences range from cooking classes in the Australian Outback to a behind-the-scenes architectural tour in Newfoundland to visiting with marine scientists in Tahiti — truly something for everyone.

National Geographic Unique Lodges offer travelers a full-service experience from booking to checkout. Travelers can browse all of the properties on the Unique Lodges website and request a reservation at a lodge. They can join a National Geographic Expedition that features a Unique Lodge or book one of National Geographic’s new Private Expeditions, offered in partnership with Virtuoso®, the leading international luxury travel network. Lodge owners may apply to join the collection at http://www.nglodgesapplication.com.

For more information about National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, visit www.nationalgeographiclodges.com.


About National Geographic Travel

National Geographic Travel is the travel arm of the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations, founded in 1888. National Geographic Travel creates authentic, meaningful and engaging travel experiences through National Geographic Traveler magazine; National Geographic Expeditions; National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World; travel books; maps; digital travel content; and travel photography programs. National Geographic Traveler (eight issues per year) is the world’s most widely read travel magazine and has 17 international editions. National Geographic Expeditions, the travel program of the Society, offers a variety of unique travel experiences led by top experts to more than 60 destinations across all seven continents. Travel opportunities include family and student expeditions, active adventures, private jet trips and voyages on the six expedition ships in the National Geographic-Lindblad fleet, as well as photography workshops, expeditions and seminars. The National Geographic Travel digital group, shares its inspiring and authoritative digital content such as trip ideas, photo galleries, blogs and apps with its @NatGeoTravel community of 6.5 million. National Geographic Travel books bring readers curated travel advice, photography and insider tips. Follow National Geographic Travel @NatGeoTravel on TwitterFacebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+.

Categories: National Geographic

Regionals Day 2

Booker High Wycombe - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 21:02
Yesterday was scrubbed but today the sun shone and a task was set - Silverstone-Didcot-Buckingham. The key to the day was timing, with those setting off early finding it hard going and those who left late having a struggle to get home. The winner was again Stuart Law from Bicester, who is increasing his overall lead. The next two places were also taken by visitors - Ayala Truelove from Lasham was 2nd in a Libelle and Julian Hitchcock from Southdown came 3rd in a DG1000m.

The Javelot made it to a very nice field just south of Bicester and had an aerotow retrieve. George Hunter, flying his first comp after only recently completing his Silver badge, completed the task in the club's ASW19.

All the results, news and some great photos are on Soaring Spot, and there is an excellent gallery of photos here.

Another great day in store tomorrow........

Categories: Gliding

National Geographic and the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute (NZARI) Announce 3-Year Partnership to Document Antarctic Science Through the Eyes of the Men and Women Working In Scott Base, Antarctica

National GeographicNewsFeed - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 16:14

WASHINGTON (June 29, 2015)—National Geographic, the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute (NZARI) and Antarctica New Zealand announced today an unprecedented, cross-platform partnership to document the determined men and women working on the frontiers of science at New Zealand’s Scott Base, Antarctica.

The partnership includes significant funding to support scientific research and an agreement to showcase the challenging work undertaken by the researchers and support staff through a global television series for National Geographic Channel, articles in National Geographic magazine and multimedia content on the National Geographic Web platforms.

Antarctica is a continent that is entirely focused on science. Every single Antarctican is either engaged in pivotal scientific projects to learn more about the planet, or engaged in supporting this research — or both. Between the extremes of the harsh continent itself and the focused dedication of the communities around the work, life on an Antarctic base is like a fully operational extraterrestrial facility — a space station on ice. Each person on base works to keep the science running and to make this place habitable, from contemplating how to drill through the 1,000-foot-thick Ross Ice Shelf to how to serve hot meals to a cold crew to gearing up and guiding teams to brave the elements on the ice.

Now, for the first time, National Geographic is entering into an exciting new partnership which will allow us to accompany the research expeditions, and document life in this isolated outpost like never before.

“There is no one but National Geographic who can truly offer a 360-degree look inside this important scientific community,” said John Francis, vice president for research, conservation and exploration at the National Geographic Society. “The work being done here, not just by the scientists, but the army of support staff is heroic, and the world should know about it.”

“We are all about bringing our viewers a real look inside places most will never go, “added Tim Pastore, president, original programming and production, for National Geographic Channel. “Our series will document the incredible feats that take place on a daily basis on the least explored continent in the world.”

“Nat Geo Studios is thrilled to be able to document the great work that all of these men and women are doing every day,” added Brooke Runnette, president, National Geographic Studios. “Their stories are not just heroic, but inspirational, and through all of our platforms we can provide a comprehensive portrayal of the people and their projects unlike any other media company in the world.”

 “NZARI is excited to be entering into this new partnership with the National Geographic Society. It will help us launch some challenging new research expeditions deep into the interior of Antarctica to investigate how vulnerable Antarctica and its ice sheets and ice shelves are, as the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere warm. At the same time we hope to learn how the changing ice cover and temperatures will impact the fragile and iconic life of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean,” says Professor Gary Wilson, director of NZARI.

The coverage is expected to include inside access to those on the ground who keep this isolated world running, including traveling with helicopter pilots and crew who work in numbing temperatures flying teams across giant glaciers, ice shelves and to wildlife colonies, while the base team monitors storms and white-outs approaching. We will be right alongside scientists researching charismatic megafauna – the great predators of the Southern Ocean. Our camera teams will also be driving shotgun with the brave men and women who clear the roads (after building them) to transport scientists, and then build camps for their three-week field work out in the elements. These are the real heroes that make science possible.

The series is expected to air on National Geographic Channel in 440 million homes in 171 countries and 45 languages.

Further details on the specific projects will be announced in the coming months.



National Geographic Channels

Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channels US are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Networks. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society’s commitment to exploration, conservation and education with smart, innovative programming and profits that directly support its mission. Launched in January 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) celebrated its fifth anniversary with the debut of NGC HD. In 2010, the wildlife and natural history cable channel Nat Geo WILD was launched, and in 2011, the Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation’s major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with NGC currently available in more than 90 million U.S. homes. Globally, National Geographic Channel is available in more than 440 million homes in 171 countries and 45 languages. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com.

Antarctica New Zealand

Antarctica New Zealand is the Crown Entity responsible for developing, managing and executing New Zealand Government activities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Antarctica New Zealand also manage Scott Base, New Zealand’s Antarctic research station which supports science in the Ross Sea region. With almost 60 years experience working in Antarctica, New Zealand is recognised a leader in the international treaty system, and has a strong commitment to the natural environment. Enhancing the public awareness and understanding of the important role of Antarctic science is intricately linked to the vision statement of Antarctica New Zealand: Inspiring people to connect with Antarctica, through knowledge and collaboration. Demystifying science through strong outreach and education is an essential part of our mandate.

New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute (NZARI) and Antarctica New Zealand

NZARI partners with Antarctica New Zealand and research agencies to develop a global understanding of Antarctica’s impacts and vulnerability in a changing global climate. Its vision is to inform industry, government and community alike so that we can plan for impacts of change and where possible mitigate them. A particular focus is placed on the Ross Sea region, where the Southern Ocean reaches its furthest south (85◦S) beneath the Ross Ice Shelf. Funding for NZARI is from organisations and individuals concerned with global scale connections to Antarctica and consequences of its changing environment. The grand scientific challenge for NZARI is to determine how Antarctica, its ice, oceans and climate will respond in a warming global climate and indirectly what those changes in Antarctica will mean for the rest of the world in terms of sea level, climate and ecosystems. NZARI is a charitable trust.

Categories: National Geographic

Booker Regionals 2015 - Day 1

Booker High Wycombe - Sun, 06/28/2015 - 09:03
The comp got off to a flying start with all the organisation running like clockwork, thanks to the organising group led by William Parker.

The briefing facilities kindly provided by the Army's Royal Logistics Corps are extremely comfortable - and clean - and our Met Man Nils promised a good day's flying, so a task out to Badminton was set. For the higher performance gliders this meant a distance of 286, with lower handicaps allowing other gliders to turn short (for a fuller explanation of Handicapped Distance Tasks see the Comp page on the Booker website).

Met Man looking a trifle anxious
 We were treated to a visit by a Spitfire while waiting to launch.

Passing by
The HDT format allows for gliders with a spread of handicaps to take part on a equal footing, with less chance of the lower performance ones spending a week being retrieved and getting back too late for the bar.

Javelot and ASW27 about to launch
The winner on Day 1 was a visitor from Bicester - Stuart Law in an LS4 - well done Stuart.

Categories: Gliding

Regionals clean up

Booker High Wycombe - Sun, 06/21/2015 - 09:55
A hardworking team of 14, under William's direction, turned out yesterday to spruce up the airfield in preparation for the Regionals starting this coming Saturday. The trailer park is now mown almost to bowling green standard, the area round the blister hangar has been reclaimed from wilderness, and a gate into the TA centre (where briefings will be taking place) has been revealed and a path cleared.

Many thanks to the team who turned out on such a grey and drizzly day. All set now for a great Comp!
Categories: Gliding

MiniMega Introduces ‘Bonza National Geographic,’ a Follow-up to Popular ‘Bonza Word Puzzle’ Game

National GeographicNewsFeed - Fri, 06/19/2015 - 15:32

WASHINGTON (June 19, 2015)—MiniMega, the studio behind the popular “Bonza Word Puzzle” mobile game, and National Geographic, one of the world’s largest scientific and educational organizations, announced today the launch of “Bonza National Geographic,” for mobile devices. The new title is available from the Apple App Store, Google Play and Amazon App Store, and is free-to-play (with in-app purchases).

“Bonza National Geographic” combines word search, jigsaw and trivia knowledge to unlock puzzles that reflect the world of National Geographic: animals, travel, planet Earth, humanity and science. The mobile game also includes visual puzzles composed from stunning, National Geographic-inspired imagery. Other features of “Bonza National Geographic” are daily puzzles based on current events, puzzles designed by the Bonza community and a relaxing ambient soundtrack.

Named one of the App Store’s “Best of 2014,” “Bonza Word Puzzle” offers an intriguing twist on a conventional crossword puzzle by challenging players to rearrange puzzle fragments to form interlinked words. Will Shortz, crossword editor for The New York Times, commented, “Bonza puzzles are instantly addictive!”

“Bonza National Geographic” marks MiniMega’s first sequel to the word puzzle game and promises fun, challenging gameplay for puzzle enthusiasts and fans of the original “Bonza.” View the trailer.

“We’ve always respected and admired National Geographic, so it’s an honor to be working with them. We’re looking forward to making something magical. ‘Bonza National Geographic’ adds a fun twist that we think fans of the original game will appreciate, and will attract new fans as well,” said Ben Huxter, creative director of MiniMega.

Krista Newberry, senior vice president for Licensing, North America, for National Geographic, added, “We’re excited to work with MiniMega because they have experience in developing popular, award-winning and visually interesting games. The original ‘Bonza’ provides a compelling framework for our exceptional images and content in the mobile space.”

National Geographic’s net proceeds support vital exploration, conservation, research and education programs.

About the National Geographic Society

National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Each year, we fund hundreds of research, conservation and education programs around the globe. Every month, we reach more than 700 million people through our media platforms, products and events. Our work to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism and education initiatives is supported through donations, purchases and memberships. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

About MiniMega

MiniMega is an Australian game development studio that publishes their own titles, and partners with licensed properties. Their current focus is on creating clean, elegant games for mobile. Their latest, “Bonza Word Puzzle,” was recently recognized by Apple in the App Store Best of 2014 list. For further information, the press kit for MiniMega is available here.


Categories: National Geographic

National Geographic and International Finance Corporation Launch Eastern Province of Sri Lanka Geotourism MapGuide and Website with Support from European Union and Norway

National GeographicNewsFeed - Tue, 06/16/2015 - 19:43

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (June 16, 2015)—Travelers seeking unspoiled places and culturally authentic experiences for the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka now have a valuable new resource in a comprehensive online Geotourism MapGuide of the region. The project seeks to improve the contribution of tourism to local economic growth by promoting geotourism.

The “Eastern Sri Lanka” Geotourism MapGuide website is one of only 22 National Geographic Geotourism programs worldwide. It highlights the unique landscapes, people and culture of the East of Sri Lanka. The MapGuide focuses on Trincomalee, Pasikuda, Batticaloa, Arugam Bay and Ampara.

“The MapGuide presents a great opportunity for all stakeholders to work together to promote the region and its unique highlights,” said the Honourable Naveen Dissanayake, Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism. “Aside from providing a long-term resource to promote the attractions of the Eastern Province, the project will help boost tourism and support local economic growth.”

A community-based nomination process was used to create the MapGuide. Local residents and visitors were able to nominate any landmarks, attractions, activities, events and even local foods that define the region’s character and distinctive appeal. All sites and attractions that are featured on the website will also receive a certificate of participation from the National Geographic Society.

“The Eastern Province Geotourism website showcases what makes the region so culturally and geographically significant,” said James Dion, director of tourism programs, National Geographic Maps Division. “More than ever, this project underscores the importance of connecting local communities, smartly sharing the region’s tremendous assets and helping the communities thrive together for future generations.”

The MapGuide can be viewed at www.easternsrilanka.com, and the site will continue to evolve. Tourists and residents can continue to nominate new locations, events and special places to be featured on the site.

The MapGuide website will be managed by Findmyfare.com, Sri Lanka’s first online travel company, under the guidance of a council comprising representatives from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and other private-sector tourism players.

“The Geotourism project will strengthen the case for responsible tourism by embracing tourism assets that are distinctive to the locale,” said Adam Sack, International Finance Corporation (IFC) country manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives. “Effective stewardship of these assets will bring in the investments needed to preserve Sri Lanka’s unique heritage.”

Implemented by the National Geographic Maps Division, in partnership with the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, the MapGuide and Geotourism website were produced with the financial support of the European Union’s Support to District Development Programme (EU-SDDP) and the Royal Government of Norway. Instrumental support was also received from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and from Findmyfare.com.

About National Geographic Maps

Founded in 1915 as the Map Department of the National Geographic Society, National Geographic Maps is responsible for illustrating the world around us through the art and science of mapmaking. Today, National Geographic Maps continues this mission by creating the world’s best wall maps, outdoor recreation maps, travel maps, atlases and globes that inspire people to care about and explore their world. For more information, visit natgeomaps.com.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

Stay Connected



Categories: National Geographic

National Geographic Magazine, July 2015

National GeographicNewsFeed - Mon, 06/15/2015 - 20:32

Full-size PDF version of press release available here.

Categories: National Geographic

Virunga National Park Rangers to Accept National Geographic Explorers of the Year Honor

National GeographicNewsFeed - Wed, 06/10/2015 - 15:07

WASHINGTON (June 10, 2015)—On Thursday, June 11, an extraordinary group of individuals will be honored by the National Geographic Society at the 2015 Explorer Awards, presented by Rolex.

Emmanuel de Merode and Innocent Mburanumwe will accept the Rolex National Geographic Explorers of the Year award on behalf of the rangers of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in recognition of the rangers’ tireless efforts to halt illegal wildlife trafficking. George Schaller, legendary conservation biologist, will receive the Hubbard Medal, National Geographic Society’s highest honor, for his unwavering commitment to the well-being of the world’s most endangered species. Polish kayaker Aleksander Doba, who was named National Geographic People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year earlier this year, will be recognized for his solo, unsupported transatlantic expedition.

“Our honorees are true leaders in research, conservation and exploration,” said Gary E. Knell, president and CEO of National Geographic. “They embody National Geographic’s goal of inspiring and educating people to be global citizens and stewards of the planet. We salute their efforts, and we are privileged to share their stories and experiences with our worldwide audiences.”


The Explorers of the Year award is bestowed on individuals whose actions, achievements and spirit personify leadership in exploration and reflect a commitment to the Society’s purpose to inspire, illuminate and teach. Knell and Stewart Wicht, president and CEO of Rolex Watch USA, will recognize the Virunga National Park rangers’ profound courage and continued commitment to protecting their country’s natural treasures. De Merode and Mburanumwe will accept the award on behalf of the rangers.

Virunga National Park is Africa’s oldest national park and a World Heritage site. It is home to all of the DRC’s critically endangered mountain gorillas as well as important populations of chimpanzees, elephants and other wildlife. Virunga has been at the center of the DRC’s civil wars for decades, threatened by armed militias and foreign corporate interests intent on destroying the park for profit. The ongoing conflict decimated the mountain gorilla population and caused serious economic damage to the park’s surrounding communities. Virunga is now in the midst of a resurgence, thanks to the park’s committed force of rangers. Today, there are about 880 mountain gorillas because of the efforts of the rangers, over 140 of whom have died while on duty protecting the park’s wildlife.

De Merode is director and chief warden of Virunga National Park. In 2008, the year de Merode became director, armed militia controlled the southern portion of Virunga. De Merode negotiated with militia leaders to allow park rangers to return. Threats continued, including illegal trafficking of the park’s natural resources, militia activity and foreign oil interests, and, in 2012, the park was temporarily closed to tourism. By early 2014, Virunga, led by de Merode, reopened to tourists seeking to see the DRC’s mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. De Merode has a Ph.D. in anthropology from University College London.

Mburanumwe is the Southern Sector warden of Virunga National Park. His 15-year career has focused on protecting the DRC’s mountain gorillas, ending forest destruction for charcoal and patrolling against militias. Mburanumwe knows every habituated gorilla in the park individually, enabling him to detect the slightest change in the gorillas’ behavior that could signify disease or other forms of stress. Mburanumwe is considered the DRC’s foremost expert on mountain gorillas. His work is the key to the success of protecting these animals that, in addition to being a critical species, are crucial to the economic stability of the region. Mburanumwe is a 2015 National Geographic Emerging Explorer.


The Hubbard Medal is named for the National Geographic Society’s first president, Gardiner Greene Hubbard, and is given in recognition of a lifetime of achievement in exploration, discovery and research. Spending most of his time in the field over the past six decades in Asia, Africa and South America, George Schaller has helped protect some of the planet’s most endangered species, from jaguars to giant pandas to mountain gorillas. He has written 16 books and hundreds of articles and has been instrumental in establishing more than 15 protected areas worldwide. Schaller is vice president of Panthera and a senior conservationist with the Wildlife Conservation Society. Schaller, who has received multiple grants from National Geographic for his conservation work, was honored in 2006 with National Geographic Adventure magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award.


The National Geographic People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year is selected from a group of innovative adventurers whose extraordinary achievements in exploration, conservation, humanitarianism and adventure sports distinguished them over the past year. This year, a record number of votes — more than 521,000 — were cast on the National Geographic Adventure website, and Aleksander Doba was chosen as the winner. At the age of 67, Doba padded 7,716 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to complete the longest unsupported open-water kayak expedition ever made. The journey, which began in October 2013 in Lisbon, Portugal, and ended in April 2014 in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, took two months and almost 2,000 miles longer than expected after storms and equipment failure stranded Doba for weeks in the Bermuda Triangle. It was his second transatlantic expedition by kayak — his first crossing was between Africa and South America in 2010-11.

The National Geographic Explorer Awards celebration is the culmination of this year’s National Geographic Explorers Week, an annual event at which National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence, Fellows, Emerging Explorers, grantees and others affiliated with the National Geographic Society highlight findings from their research and fieldwork. Each year during Explorers Week, the Society presents its new class of Emerging Explorers, the next generation of scientists, innovators and storytellers pushing the boundaries of discovery, adventure and global problem-solving.

About the National Geographic Society

National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Each year, we fund hundreds of research, conservation and education programs around the globe. Every month, we reach more than 700 million people through our media platforms, products and events. Our work to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism and education initiatives is supported through donations, purchases and memberships. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Editor’s note: For photos of the award recipients and Thursday evening’s event, visit http://Bit.ly/ExplorerAwards2015.


Categories: National Geographic

14 Visionary Trailblazers Are Named 2015 National Geographic Emerging Explorers

National GeographicNewsFeed - Tue, 06/09/2015 - 14:30

WASHINGTON (June 9, 2015)—The National Geographic Society has selected its 2015 class of Emerging Explorers, a group of 14 inspiring young trailblazers from around the globe whose creative ideas and accomplishments are making a significant difference in the world. The Emerging Explorers Program recognizes and supports uniquely gifted and inspiring scientists, conservationists and innovators who are at the forefront of discovery, adventure and global problem-solving while still early in their careers. Each Emerging Explorer receives a $10,000 award to aid further research and exploration.

The 2015 Emerging Explorers are archaeologist Salam Al Kuntar; paleoanthropologist Ella Al-Shamahi; marine conservationist Jessica Cramp; nuclear engineer Leslie Dewan; urban agriculturalist Caleb Harper; biologist Elaine Hsiao; wildlife conservationist Onkuri Majumdar; conservation ranger Innocent Mburanumwe; biophysicist Manu Prakash; neuroscientist Steve Ramirez; biomedical engineer David Moinina Sengeh; infectious disease ecologist Daniel Streicker; materials architect Skylar Tibbits; and engineer and physicist Topher White.

They will be introduced this week at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., during the Society’s annual Explorers Week, when National Geographic explorers, grantees and others affiliated with the Society gather to share findings from their research and fieldwork and take part in panel discussions.

National Geographic Emerging Explorers may be selected from virtually any field, ranging from the Society’s traditional arenas of anthropology, archaeology, photography, space exploration, earth sciences and cartography to the worlds of technology, art, music and filmmaking.

“National Geographic believes in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Our Emerging Explorers are inspiring young visionaries who are looking at ways to remedy global problems and are undertaking innovative research and exploration. They will help lead a new age of discovery,” said Terry Garcia, National Geographic’s chief science and exploration officer.


Salam Al Kuntar, a Syrian-born archaeologist, is one of the leading advocates for the protection of her war-torn homeland’s historical sites and treasures. More than 90 percent of Syria’s cultural sites are located in areas of fighting and civil unrest. Before leaving Damascus for the United States three years ago, Al Kuntar was co-director of excavations at the Chalcolithic/Bronze Age site of Hamoukar. She was also a member of the Syrian Directorate of Antiquities and Museums. Al Kuntar, who earned her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, England, is now a research scholar at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University and a consulting scholar at the Penn Cultural Heritage Center in Philadelphia, where she works with a range of people and institutions to protect Syria’s cultural heritage. In collaboration with the Smithsonian Institute and by working with a network of Syrian scholars in Europe and a dedicated group of heritage professionals inside Syria, Al Kuntar and her colleagues have been able to provide much needed emergency preservation work, conservation materials and training in the hopes of salvaging damaged collections and sites during the conflict. She is also working with refugee populations that have taken refuge in a World Heritage site in Syria, trying to help them preserve the ruins.


Paleoanthropologist and archaeologist Ella Al-Shamahi specializes in Neanderthals — and is also a stand-up comic. Her Ph.D. research focuses on the rates of evolution of Neanderthals so as to better understand the reasons for their extinction. Al-Shamahi measures their evolutionary changes by studying variations in their teeth over tens of thousands of years. Much of her work involves searching for fossils in caves in disputed, hostile or unstable regions such as Yemen, her father’s country of origin, where she has to wear a burka, even while doing fieldwork. She is currently trying to find Paleolithic caves in Yemen to test a theory that early humans may have migrated out of Africa via land bridges between East Africa and Yemen and to test whether Neanderthals went that far south. Al-Shamahi uses comedy as both a coping strategy for the darker side of her work and to communicate to people why science is important. She has performed a stand-up routine on Neanderthals in London and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Al-Shamahi holds degrees from Imperial College London/Natural History Museum in London and University College London.


Marine conservationist Jessica Cramp is a shark researcher and policy advocate who is passionate about stopping the overexploitation of sharks, and she is combining science with politics, outreach and a deep respect for Pacific cultures to do it. While living in the Cook Islands, she managed the locally based Pacific Islands Conservation Initiative (PICI), whose founder had a dream to create a shark sanctuary. Together, they led the grassroots campaign that rallied overwhelming community and international support and resulted in the 772,204-square-mile (2-million-square-km) Cook Islands Shark Sanctuary (the entire Exclusive Economic Zone of the Cook Islands), banning all commercial import, export, sale, trade, possession or transshipment of shark parts. During the campaign, Cramp realized that there were gaps not only in scientific knowledge about sharks, their fisheries and ecosystems, but also in linking conservation policies to action. Building on her experience, she is currently completing a Ph.D. through James Cook University in Australia on the effectiveness of large-scale marine reserves in reducing mortality of threatened sharks. Through the creation of the research, outreach and advocacy organization Sharks Pacific, she and her team will work toward filling those gaps. Cramp believes that by engaging communities and taking an interdisciplinary approach to conservation and sustainable use of sharks and their ecosystems, ending the overexploitation of threatened shark (and ray) species is possible in her lifetime.


Nuclear engineer Leslie Dewan, co-founder and chief executive officer of Transatomic Power, is helping revolutionize the nuclear power industry. She and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) colleague have designed a new type of nuclear reactor, which is a safer, more efficient alternative to the current light-water reactors in use today. Called the “Waste-Annihilating Molten-Salt Reactor,” Dewan’s design is based on molten-salt reactors that were originally proposed in the 1950s as a way to power aircraft. The main advantage of molten-salt reactors is that they use liquid rather than solid fuel, making them more efficient and safer. The original molten-salt prototypes, however, were bulky, expensive and had a low power density. Dewan has introduced new materials and a new shape that allowed her to increase power output by 30 times. With the Waste-Annihilating Molten-Salt Reactor, 96 percent of the energy can be extracted, compared to only 3 or 4 percent with conventional reactors. By extracting more of the energy, the radioactive life of the majority of the waste can be reduced to just a few hundred years, compared to conventional nuclear waste that is radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. An environmentalist at heart, Dewan says we need nuclear power if we are to have any hope of reducing fossil fuel emissions and preventing climate change. Dewan was named one of Time magazine’s “30 People Under 30 Changing the World” in 2013.


For urban agriculturalist Caleb Harper, the future of agriculture lies in urban farms, where plants will be grown in controlled environments close to consumers, allowing for cheaper, fresher produce. Harper is the principal research scientist and director of the Open Agriculture (OpenAG) Initiative and MITCityFARM at the MIT Media Lab. He leads a group of diverse engineers, architects, urban planners, economists and plant scientists in the exploration and development of high-performance urban agricultural systems. Harper believes that if we create a perfect growing environment, there is the potential of speeding up growth and of producing plants that are two or three times more nutritious than what we can buy at a store — all while using fewer natural resources. Fundamental to his work is not only the production of food, but also the production of food innovators. For this, Harper and his team are creating open-source agricultural platforms, or food computers, and deploying them all over the world. One of his platforms is designed for a high-intensity production environment, much like a plant data center, where everything will be monitored, the food will not need pesticides or chemicals, and production will be predictable 365 days a year. He is also creating shipping container-sized farms for small-scale local producers, such as corporate or school cafeterias, growing their own food. The smallest farm the group is working on fits on a table top and is designed as a hacker-friendly kit-of-parts meant to inspire a community of students, makers and at-home users to join in the next agricultural revolution.


Biologist Elaine Hsiao, research assistant professor at the California Institute of Technology, studies how the microbiome — the trillions of microbes and bacteria that live in and on our bodies, especially our gut — influences brain development and function, and behavior. Research conducted in animal models has shown that microbes are involved in regulating social, communicative, emotional and anxiety-like behaviors, and alterations in the composition of the microbiome are implicated in a variety of neurological disorders, including multiple sclerosis, depression and autism. Hsiao’s group studies the molecular interactions underlying how gut microbes communicate with the nervous system. The hope is that studying microbiome-nervous system interactions could reveal novel approaches for treating disorders such as depression or autism. Microbe-based therapeutics may one day enable persistent and relatively non-invasive treatments for various disorders of the brain and body.


Wildlife conservationist Onkuri Majumdar is committed to ending wildlife trafficking that is decimating species in her country, India, and the world. Wildlife trafficking is one of the world’s largest illegal trades, earning organized crime networks billions of dollars each year. India is a rich source for most species exploited by the trade. After drafting wildlife class action suits for the Supreme Court of India, training enforcement officials and conducting a tiger census, Majumdar expanded her work to Southeast Asia to better investigate global syndicates. As part of specialized teams focused on dismantling these syndicates, she was deputized by Thai police to go undercover, helping to arrest traffickers in tigers and exotic species. She provided analytic support in successful police operations against wildlife and human traffickers. Today, Majumdar is the managing director of Freeland India, which facilitates hands-on action against traffickers, conducts anti-poaching and investigation training for enforcement officers, and runs a wildlife law help center for prosecutors and investigators.


Following in his father’s footsteps, conservation ranger Innocent Mburanumwe, warden of the Southern Sector of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), began working at the park 15 years ago. Virunga, Africa’s oldest national park and a World Heritage site, is home to the world’s last mountain gorillas. It is also Mburanumwe’s home. His career has focused on the protection of Congo’s mountain gorillas and commanding Virunga’s gorilla protection rangers, some 140 of whom have been killed in the line of duty during Mburanumwe’s career. The sacrifice of Virunga’s rangers has seen the gorilla population increase threefold in the past 20 years. Fulfilling his duties requires Mburanumwe to know every gorilla individually and to ensure that he and his fellow rangers monitor the animals every day. This enables Mburanumwe to detect the slightest change in the gorillas’ behavior that could signify disease or other forms of stress, which is the key to successfully protecting the gorillas. This conservation strategy has been maintained during periods of peace and armed conflict. Mburanumwe’s work and that of the other rangers was featured in the film “Virunga,” released last year.


Biophysicist Manu Prakash designs inexpensive scientific instruments that can spread science, appreciation of the microcosmos and medical opportunity around the world. He heads the Prakash Lab at Stanford University, where his team has designed Foldscope, a fully functional optical microscope that is printed and folded from a single flat sheet of paper, similar to origami, and a music box that doubles as a microfluidic lab. A Foldscope — made from die-cut paper embedded with micro-optics — costs less than a dollar to make. One of the goals when the lab was established was to enable “frugal science” — making available low-cost scientific tools to scientists, health care workers, even children, in the global community. One of Prakash’s visions for Foldscope is to get every child in the world to carry a microscope in their pocket so they can do things like test their own drinking water and look at their own cells. Last year, the first 50,000 units were built in the lab and shipped to 130 countries. Prakash, who earned a B.Tech. degree at the Indian Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in applied physics at MIT, is an assistant professor at Stanford University. A nature lover, Prakash is currently a Pew scholar and studies biophysics of organisms.


Neuroscientist Steve Ramirez studies memory. As a Ph.D. student at MIT’s Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department, he is pursuing research into how memory works and how to “hijack memory and get it to do what we want it to do,” he says. The main focus of his work is finding brain cells that house a particular memory and then tricking those cells to turn on or off in response to pulses of light. Using mice as subjects, Ramirez and his team are also learning how to change the contents of memories, such as making a traumatic memory less fearful. This may lead to being able to erase unwanted memories or to create memories of things that never happened. Though seemingly the stuff of science fiction, this memory manipulation may one day be able to alleviate conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, even Alzheimer’s. Ramirez’s fascination with how the brain works began as a teenager when his cousin went into labor, suffered a lack of oxygen and fell into a coma, from which she has never woken. This curiosity about how consciousness can be snuffed out by a damaged brain led to Ramirez’s career in neuroscience.


Biomedical engineer David Moinina Sengeh is a doctoral student at MIT, using magnetic resonance imaging, soft tissue modeling and 3-D printing to develop an innovative prosthetic socket to make artificial limbs more comfortable and more functional for amputees. He grew up in Sierra Leone where he was first motivated to develop better designed and more comfortable prostheses, especially for children living with amputations. He eventually realized that many amputees around the world did not use their prostheses because their sockets were badly designed and generally uncomfortable. The system he is pioneering allows for the development of a custom socket in a repeatable and quantitative process for an amputee. The prostheses can be produced quickly and at low cost, making them accessible for amputees across the globe. Sengeh is also president of a global organization, GMin, which inspires and supports the next generation of innovators in Africa to think creatively to solve problems and tackle challenges facing their communities. Additionally, he is the owner of a clothing design company, Nyali Clothing, which employs over 10 designers in Sierra Leone. And, last but not least, Sengeh is an afrobeat rapper.


Infectious disease ecologist Daniel Streicker studies the transfer of disease between bat species and from bats to humans and domestic animals. Last year, he was awarded the Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists for his work on the transmission of the vampire bat rabies virus in Peru. Many pathogens of humans and animals come from other animal species ­— the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa likely originated from bats, and HIV was originally a virus from non-human primates — and Streicker’s research on cross-species disease transmission may help health care workers anticipate and prevent the next pandemic while also guiding control measures for diseases like rabies that recurrently jump from animals to people. Streicker strives to integrate his fieldwork data into the decisions of health policymakers by maximizing the visibility of his work through websites and blog posts and working directly with governmental partners in Peru. Streicker is a Wellcome Trust/Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Research Fellow, jointly hosted by the Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine at the University of Glasgow and the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research in Scotland. He is also an adjunct graduate faculty member of the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia, where he earned his Ph.D.


Materials architect Skylar Tibbits is pioneering 4-D printing — multimaterial 3-D printing with the added element of transformation. At the Self-Assembly Lab at MIT, where Tibbits is director, he and a team of designers, scientists and engineers create innovative manufacturing, products and construction processes to investigate the possibility of creating objects that assemble themselves, that zip together like a strand of DNA or that have the ability for transformation embedded in them. They study how to program materials so they can change shape or property, build themselves or error correct. “The idea behind 4-D printing is that we try to add the element of time,” Tibbits says. “When we print things, they’re not finished. Rather, that’s the start of their life.” The objects reconfigure, adapt to their environment and transform over time, like strands that transform into text, sheets that can be shipped flat and then transform into 3-D objects, or surfaces that can mold into a desired shape. Tibbits’ team works with sportswear, automotive, furniture and other industries and is currently collaborating with Airbus on morphable components to control airflow to jet engines.


Using recycled cell phones, engineer, physicist and inventor Topher White has come up with an ingenious method of detecting illegal logging and poaching in remote rain forests. Deforestation is one of the main contributors to climate change and the extinction of endangered species. Interpol estimates 50 to 90 percent of rain forest logging is illegal. In 2012, White founded Rainforest Connection, which, according to the organization’s website, works to “transform recycled cell phones into autonomous, solar-powered listening devices that can monitor and pinpoint chainsaw activity at great distance, providing the world’s first audio-based logging detection system, pinpointing deforestation activity as it occurs and enabling real-time intervention.” The organization has helped stop illegal logging and poaching operations in Sumatra and is expanding its activities to rain forest reserves in Africa and Brazil. White, who has a B.A. in physics from Kenyon College, is currently working in Brazil, helping the indigenous Tembe people in the northern Amazonian state of Para monitor their lands to prevent poaching and illegal logging and settlement.


National Geographic’s Emerging Explorers are part of the Society’s Explorer Programs, which include National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence and National Geographic Fellows. More information on the 2015 Emerging Explorers can be found at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/emerging.


About the National Geographic Society

National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Each year, we fund hundreds of research, conservation and education programs around the globe. Every month, we reach more than 700 million people through our media platforms, products and events. Our work to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism and education initiatives is supported through donations, purchases and memberships. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.


NOTE: For images of the 2015 Emerging Explorers, visit http://Bit.ly/EmergingExplorers2015.

Categories: National Geographic

Environmentalists from Ecuador and Cameroon Win 2015 National Geographic/Buffett Award for Leadership in Conservation

National GeographicNewsFeed - Mon, 06/08/2015 - 14:37

WASHINGTON (June 8, 2015)—Conservationist Mónica González, who works to empower local residents in the Choco rain forests of northwestern Ecuador to slow and reverse the tide of habitat and species loss in the tropical Andes, is the 2015 winner of the National Geographic Society/Buffett Award for Leadership in Latin American Conservation. Ornithologist and conservationist Roger Fotso, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Cameroon country program — one of the most effective field conservation programs in the country — is this year’s recipient of the National Geographic Society/Buffett Award for Leadership in African Conservation.

Dr. González and Dr. Fotso will receive their $25,000 awards at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, June 11, during National Geographic’s annual Explorers Week, when National Geographic explorers, grantees and others affiliated with the Society gather to share findings from their research and fieldwork and take part in panel discussions.

Established through a gift from The Howard G. Buffett Foundation in 2002 to celebrate and recognize unsung conservation heroes working in the field, the National Geographic Society/Buffett Award for Leadership in Conservation is given each year to two outstanding conservationists, one in Latin America and one in Africa. The award acknowledges the winners’ remarkable work and lifetime contributions that further the understanding and practice of conservation in their countries.

“It is an honor to participate with National Geographic in recognizing the achievements of these two remarkable visionaries who are making such a positive difference to conservation in their countries. Both are inspirational mentors and role models to their communities,” said Howard G. Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of The Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

Dr. Mónica González, executive director of Fundación para la Conservación de los Andes Tropicales (Foundation for the Conservation of the Tropical Andes) (FCAT), began working in the 1990s with communities living near the Mache Chindul Reserve in northeast Ecuador, a biodiverse tropical rain forest region. The heavily populated area offers few financial opportunities, thus people rely heavily on exploiting natural resources. González focused her efforts on finding financial support to develop environmental education programs in the villages around the reserve. She traveled long distances through difficult terrain to reach the most isolated communities. Several times she was injured getting to these areas: Once, a mule kicked her, breaking her leg; another time, she broke her arm falling off a horse. But the enthusiasm of the people and their desire to learn kept her going back.

In 2011, she created FCAT to implement on-the-ground conservation measures. The organization focuses on scientific research, environmental education, community development, capacity building and the empowerment of local leaders. The imminent construction of a highway crossing the reserve is of great concern to the communities. Although the reserve is a protected area, much of it is composed of private fragmented patches of forest that vary from 2 to 200 hectares. A new highway will bring an increase in logging and settlers. Because of this, González and her team have spent the last year documenting the diversity of birds, amphibians, orchids, bees, beetles and soil microbes in 23 forest fragments. The project is also implementing reforestation to link priority forest fragments and is promoting ecotourism by fragment owners to bring financial benefits to the local communities. So far, more than 12,000 hardwood tree species have been planted and ecotourism projects are underway at six priority fragments.

After years of working in the area, González has witnessed changes in the communities’ management of water and soil, a decrease in the use of pesticides, and coordinated communal ways of managing trash that used to contaminate the rivers and watersheds. One of her success stories is the awareness she has brought to the plight of the threatened long-wattled umbrella bird, which is disappearing as the forest becomes more fragmented. With the trust and cooperation of local communities, González has made important steps toward protecting the species, which is now a symbol for conservation among the local people.

Although the challenges faced at the Mache Chindul are huge, González stays optimistic as she witnesses the local residents’ commitment to protecting the area’s natural resources.

Dr. Roger Fotso was born and raised in rural Cameroon and became passionate about nature at an early age. He obtained a Ph.D. in zoology from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium in 1994, one of the first Central African conservationists to obtain such a qualification.

His first conservation work was interning on the Kilum Ijim Montane forest project by BirdLife International in 1990-91. He worked with local communities to protect the Oku forest in western Cameroon, one of the last remaining patches of montane forest in western central Africa and home to many endemic species of plants, amphibians, rodents and birds. He then joined the European Union’s Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa (ECOFAC) program, serving for two years as director of research for the Dja Wildlife Reserve in southern Cameroon. From 1995 to 1998, he led a biodiversity priority-setting exercise for Cameroon using birds as indicator species. The project identified Cameroon’s Important Bird Areas and served as a basis for the Cameroon National Biodiversity Action Plan.

Fotso has been the director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Cameroon country program since 1998, building it into arguably the most effective conservation program in the country. Fotso has been involved in many successful conservation initiatives, including a project with the World Bank, the Cameroonian government and the country’s national railway to halt the illegal rail transport of bushmeat, which has decreased the volume of bushmeat transported by train by nearly 70 percent. Other initiatives include the creation of five protected areas — three national parks (Mbam Djerem, Takamanda and Deng Deng) and two wildlife sanctuaries (Banyang Mbo and Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary). Under Fotso, WCS has been involved in managing and protecting these parks through support for law enforcement, research and monitoring, preparation of management plans and engagement with surrounding communities.

Fotso and his team have been instrumental in saving the world’s rarest and most endangered great apes — Cross River gorillas, which number only about 300. Habitat that is critical to their existence is now protected in Takamanda and Kagwene, while Deng Deng protects the most northerly lowland gorilla population in eastern Cameroon.

Under Fotso’s leadership, WCS Cameroon has also engaged effectively with companies such as Exxon Mobil, CAMRAIL and Electricity Development Corporation Cameroon to mitigate negative environmental impacts of infrastructure development and find win-win solutions for people and nature. Additionally, Fotso has helped a new generation of Cameroonian conservationists through graduate opportunities and scholarships.

National Geographic Society/Buffett Award recipients are chosen from nominations submitted to the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration, which screens the nominations through a peer-review process.

“This year’s awardees are recognized for their outstanding leadership and the vital role they play in managing and protecting the natural resources in their regions. They are exemplary conservation advocates who often battle difficult odds with courage and commitment,” said Peter Raven, chairman of the Committee for Research and Exploration.

Howard G. Buffett is chairman and CEO of The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, which focuses on humanitarian and conservation issues. A farmer, businessman and widely published author and photographer, Buffett is a member of the Commission on Presidential Debates and serves as a UN Goodwill Ambassador Against Hunger on behalf of the World Food Programme. He has traveled to more than 130 countries documenting the challenges of preserving biodiversity while providing adequate resources to meet the needs of a growing global population. He has been recognized globally for his commitment to food security, conservation and journalistic freedom. He has written eight books on conservation, wildlife and the human condition.


About the National Geographic Society

National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Each year, we fund hundreds of research, conservation and education programs around the globe. Every month, we reach more than 700 million people through our media platforms, products and events. Our work to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism and education initiatives is supported through donations, purchases and memberships. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.


NOTE: Images of Mónica González and Roger Fotso are available at http://Bit.ly/BuffettAwards2015.

Categories: National Geographic

Klippeneck finale and auf wiedersehen

Booker High Wycombe - Sat, 06/06/2015 - 18:21
The last couple of days of the expedition came up trumps. Thursday produced excellent conditions enabling trips to Ulm and other places.
Weighty matters under discussion
Klippeneck ridge viewed towards the south west...
.......... and towards the north eastThe sky seemed to be full of insects, the wings were covered by the top of the launch.

BuggedConditions were good until late into the evening......

.....which makes it all the more surprising that Jack L and Jim P made like a javelin for a field by the local equivalent of Chinnor. They were visited by the local constabulary but presumably had the correct paperwork as they did eventually make it back to base.

Smile for the cameraOn Friday the forecast was for thunderstorms by early afternoon but in the event the storms held off till the evening, allowing for yet another day of excellent flying.

Evening cunimThe warmth of the evening allowed for al fresco dining at the Schutzenhaus restaurant halfway down the hill which has been feeding us for the last two weeks.

This morning it was time for convoys of trailers to start heading back to Booker.

Many thanks to Richard for all his hard work in organising a fantastic expedition and to him and Doug for making it such a success and ensuring that everyone had a good and safe time. Roll on next year!

Thanks, Richard!!
Categories: Gliding

National Geographic Traveler Magazine Arrives in Germany

National GeographicNewsFeed - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 19:14

HAMBURG, Germany (June 4, 2015)—National Geographic Traveler will appear in German shops for the first time tomorrow at an introductory price of €5. The travel magazine is already published in 27 countries around the world. With the introduction of National Geographic Traveler, publisher Gruner + Jahr is bringing another publication of the National Geographic Society to the German-speaking market alongside National Geographic magazine.

With National Geographic Traveler, readers will be shown the most beautiful and exciting corners of the world in quarterly instalments. Reporters will give vivid accounts of their experiences, from witnessing religious rituals in the rain forests of Bali to meeting Native American tribes in the national parks of North America., while National Geographic’s legendary photographs will allow readers to immerse themselves in unfamiliar worlds. The magazine’s service section will contain all relevant travel information regarding the featured destinations to allow travel plans to be turned into reality.

The cover story of the first issue spotlights the 18 most beautiful national parks in America. The article features compelling pictorials of the parks, practical travel information and plenty of tips for dream destinations between Alaska and Florida. Other highlights of the magazine include a city tour around Tel Aviv, where people continue to enjoy their lives despite political unrest, and an author’s vivid tale of her encounter with a great white shark off the coast of Australia.

Florian Gless, editor-in-chief of National Geographic Deutschland and National Geographic Traveler, said: “I’m often asked what the difference is between a story in Traveler and a report in National Geographic magazine. It’s quite simple: All of the stories we relate in Traveler can be experienced by the readers themselves. Sometimes a little adventurous spirit is required for this, but a desire to discover other countries and cultures will do just as well.”

Alexander Schwerin, managing director of National Geographic Deutschland, said: “With National Geographic Traveler, we were able to secure a blue-chip travel magazine for the Gruner + Jahr publishing house, thus strengthening our portfolio. Germans are active travelers — during the last year alone, they made over 70 million holiday trips. National Geographic Traveler will inspire. We’re very excited about this new product.”

The first 100,000 copies of the 116-page National Geographic Traveler appear in shops tomorrow with an introductory price of €5. The next issue, due for release on Sept. 4, 2015, will cost €7.50. Traveler will be published quarterly and will also be available by subscription.

National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Each year, we fund hundreds of research, conservation and education programs around the globe. Every month, we reach more than 700 million people through our media platforms, products and events. Our work to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism and education initiatives is supported through donations, purchases and memberships. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.


Categories: National Geographic

National Geographic Photo Camp to Mentor Young Photographers in Sarajevo

National GeographicNewsFeed - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 19:08

WASHINGTON (June 4, 2015)—A group of Bosnian youth will have the opportunity to tell their stories through photography during National Geographic Photo Camp Sarajevo, June 11-16, 2015. The camp will highlight the commonalities and issues shared by young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 20 years after the Dayton Accords were signed.

Photo Camp is conducted in partnership with Internews, with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Embassy in Sarajavo’s Office of Public Affairs. The camp participants, aged 14-19, will be mentored by National Geographic contributing photographer Stephanie Sinclair along with editors and trainers Jeanne Modderman, Ross Goldberg, Jim Webb and Jake Rutherford.

The six-day workshop will provide the students with the skills to become visual storytellers in their own communities. Through practical training, these young people will have the opportunity to document and share, through photography, the aspects of their community and country that they value most — from nature and the environment, to humor and spirit, to multi-ethnicity and culture. The workshop will culminate with a multimedia presentation of the students’ work at a local exhibition center on Tuesday, June 16, at 3 p.m.

Photo Camp will bring together Bosnian teenagers from different ethnic groups and cultures, and give them the opportunity to collaborate on a joint project in an enlightening and unifying learning environment — transcending the positions and regional attitudes that have kept them apart. The camp will encourage the young photographers to explore each other’s lives, document shared values and create meaningful visuals that inspire and build trust.

“We hope Photo Camp Sarajevo will provide these young photographers with a creative outlet to share their unique perspectives,” said Terry Garcia, National Geographic’s chief science and exploration officer. “National Geographic believes in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. We’ve found that Photo Camp inspires a new generation of storytellers as well as the members of the community who view their work.”

Olympus Imaging America Inc. supplies cameras for the Photo Camp. Since the inception of the program in 2003, National Geographic Photo Camp has provided programs for more than 1,500 young people in 68 locations around the world. This year, Photo Camps have also taken place in South Sudan and Jordan. For more information on these Photo Camps, visit:


About the National Geographic Society

National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Each year, we fund hundreds of research, conservation and education programs around the globe. Every month, we reach more than 700 million people through our media platforms, products and events. Our work to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism and education initiatives is supported through donations, purchases and memberships. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

About Internews

Internews is an international nonprofit media development organization whose mission is to empower local media worldwide to give people the news and information they need, the ability to connect and the means to make their voices heard. Formed in 1982, Internews has worked in more than 90 countries and currently has offices in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and North America. Internews is currently implementing USAID’s five-year project in Bosnia-Herzegovina designed to strengthen independent media: www.internews.ba;   www.internews.org.


The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is the relief and development assistance arm of the U.S. government. Since the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994, the U.S. government, primarily through USAID, has spent more than $1.6 billion to improve the lives of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina and help lay the foundations for a bright future. U.S. government assistance has helped to accomplish post-war reintegration and development, economic restructuring, and progress towards democracy and governance.

Categories: National Geographic


Booker High Wycombe - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 05:28
Yesterday was a bit tricky, with wave everywhere and a rather character forming approach. However, the flying was fun, and with the temperature rising it was very pleasant at the launchpoint enjoying the sunshine. The day ended with an excellent meal in the garden at the local Italian, and views of the sunset from outside the hotel.

Wave skyInfluence of Black ForestThe Log Dog
Sunset cliff
Moon one day past full
Categories: Gliding

Dragonboating - Open Day

Water Sports Braylake - Wed, 06/03/2015 - 19:30

If you fancy a splash, come along to the Colenorton Dragons open day at Bray Lake Water Sports on Sunday 7th June.

Time: 10.30am – 12.30pm

Equipment will be provided for you, please wear something light such as a tracksuit. Spare change of clothes & a towel may be needed.

Weekly Training Times are as follows:

Sunday Mornings: 10.00am to 12.00 noon

Thursday Evenings: 7.00pm

You can visit our website at www.colenorton.co.uk or e-mail enquiries@colenorton.co.uk

Categories: Water Sports

Klippeneck Monday

Booker High Wycombe - Wed, 06/03/2015 - 08:44
Monday offered a variety of amusements. The model fliers went exploring and found the local model launching site and enjoyed slope soaring along the cliff.

Free spirits
The local wildlife came for a look......

Those that stayed on the airfield for the day had a great time winching, others went off to sightseeing to Lake Konstanz where there were plenty of lakeside cafes and restaurants, parks and picturesque buildings to be enjoyed.

Yesterday offered strong thermals mixed with wave which gave fantastic views and interesting xc conditions. Photos to be provided when anyone has time to sort some out.

Sitting outside the restaurant halfway down the hill watching the sun go down and the sky turn to red was a perfect end to the day, completed by a full moon and - for those still up at midnight - shooting stars.

Categories: Gliding