Several times a year, across the globe, National Geographic brings together the most fascinating and innovative scientists, conservationists, explorers, educators, and storytellers. One of our pinnacle convenings—the Explorers Festival London—is a multiday event comprising of training for our European and African explorers and opportunities to hear about their discoveries and solutions for creating a healthier and more sustainable planet.
Lucy Aplin is a cognitive ecologist, studying how animals acquire, process and use information to adapt to their environment. Aplin did her Ph.D. in zoology jointly at the Australian National University and the University of Oxford, remained as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford before becoming a Junior Research Fellow at St John’s College, Oxford. Aplin recently joined the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, where she started the Cognitive & Cultural Ecology Research Group. Aplin’s research focuses on the interplay between social networks and culture in birds. She is particularly interested in how innovative behaviours arise, spread and persist in animal populations, and how this might enable behavioural flexibility in the face of changing environments.Back
Glaciologist Joseph Cook works at the interface of biological, physical and computer science, blending numerical and computational science with direct measurements made on the ice in Svalbard, Iceland and the Greenland Ice Sheet. His projects include first explorations of deep ice caves, molecular biology in the extreme cold and constraining the effects of algal blooms on the melting Greenland Ice Sheet.
His 2017 documentary,“Ice Alive,” led to the formation of a polar science communication organization of the same name. He has recently become known for integrating drone and AI technology to the mapping and measurement of glacier and ice sheet melt.
Amy Dickman is the Kaplan Senior Research Fellow in Wild Cat Conservation at Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit. She has worked in Africa for over 20 years, specializing in human-carnivore conflict and community-based conservation. She founded the Ruaha Carnivore Project in 2009 in Tanzania, where she and her team work to conserve one of Africa’s most important lion populations. She’s a member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group, IUCN Task Force on Human-Wildlife Conflict and African Lion Working Group, and is a National Geographic Explorer. She’s published over 70 papers and book chapters on large carnivore conservation, and has won multiple international awards for her big cat conservation work.
Dominique Gonçalves is a Mozambican ecologist focused on elephant conservation in Gorongosa National Park. She currently manages Gorongosa’s Elephant Ecology Project, investigating elephant movement and range expansion in relation to habitat use and human-elephant conflict. Working with law enforcement and sustainable development colleagues, Gonçalves hopes to build coexistence between communities and wildlife throughout the park’s buffer zone. A passionate advocate of girls’ education to prevent early marriage, Gonçalves also works with the park’s Girls’ Club. She has an M.Sc. in conservation biology and is a Ph.D. candidate in biodiversity management at the University of Kent’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology.
Lucy Hawkes is a senior lecturer in physiological ecology at the University of Exeter. Her work focuses on the costs and drivers of migration in animals using emergent tracking technologies. She carries out work to help understand the amazing migratory performances of a range of animals. Her work has also investigated the impact of climate change and disease ecology on migration and breeding ecology.
Andrea Heydlauff is the chief marketing officer for African Parks, a conservation NGO that manages protected areas on behalf of governments across the continent. She has helped position the organization on a local and global scale, creating and telling stories of impact. Prior to joining African Parks, she was the founding employee and senior vice president of Panthera, a big cat conservation organization, and the manager of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Tiger Program across nine Asian countries. Born in England, Heydlauff earned her B.A. in British literature and M.Sc. in wildlife biology from the University of Arizona. She is also an award-winning filmmaker.Back
Sciencetelling Bootcamp & Explorer Workshops | Private
Hands-on, intensive trainings on public speaking, visual storytelling, and social media, as well as opportunities to network and collaborate with National Geographic staff and fellow explorers.
Explorer Spotlight | Invite Only
Opportunity for regional explorers to share their work with representatives from National Geographic’s media platforms and for university students interested in the fields of science, exploration, education, and storytelling to hear from those working in the field.
Explorers Symposium | Invite Only
Hear from National Geographic Explorers and other experts from across the region on how technology and innovation are driving the critical solutions needed to create a planet in balance.
Tracy R. Wolstencroft, President and CEO, National Geographic Society
GOING TO EXTREMES FOR SCIENCE
Crucial information about our planet lies in extreme environments that so far have been beyond the reach of scientific study. The National Geographic Society will be leading expeditions to tap into scientific data that can fill in these information gaps.
Paul Mayewski and Aurora Elmore
Moderated by Jonathan Baillie
PROTECTING THE LAST WILD PLACES
A conversation highlighting the power of partnership, storytelling, and community building in helping to protect and restore the world’s last remaining wild places.
Dominique Goncalves and Andrea Heydlauf
Moderated by Paul Rose
CLIMATE CHANGE - AN ORIGIN STORY
TAKING THE PULSE OF THE PLANET
The future of conservation relies on cutting-edge technology that scientists are creating and using in the field. From remote sensing to artificial intelligence and data mapping, how can technology be integrated to push the boundaries of exploration to create real impact for landscapes, oceans and species?
Joseph Cook, Lucy Hawkes, Sophie Maxwell and Gautam Shah
Moderated by Alex Moen
THE POWER OF STORYTELLING
Gary Knell, Chairman, National Geographic Partners
FINDING SOLUTIONS FOR THE OCEAN PLASTIC PROBLEM
Plastic is infiltrating our environment at an alarming rate, and while it is a known problem, we need to develop clear and actionable solutions. This conversation will approach the plastic problem from different angles, including science, storytelling, and collaboration, and will highlight solutions for a healthier planet.
Imogen Napper, Alex Crawford, and Frédéric Michel
Moderated by Emma Carrasco
THE PLIGHT OF BIG CATS
A NEW NARRATIVE FOR NATURE
In order to protect the natural world, people need to feel compelled to act, and animal culture and storytelling can inspire empathy to prompt change. Behavioural science and new narratives around nature can help develop tactics to encourage people to value nature while fostering greater appreciation of and interaction with the natural world.
Lucy Aplin and Jaime Rojo
In conversation with Claire McNulty
photographs by Huw James and Annabel Staff