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Explorers Festival Live

Picture of Conflicts of Nature panel

Photograph by Randall Scott

National Geographic’s annual Explorers Festival brought together visionary individuals across a range of fields to meet and find ways to collaborate on innovative projects. You can watch the panel discussions online now here.

Thursday, June 15

Explorers Symposium

Each year, some of the most innovative explorers in the world come together at National Geographic headquarters to share their discoveries, breakthroughs, and amazing stories from the field. This year’s event welcomes a fascinating community of scientists and conservationists, storytellers and change makers for two days of inspirational and thought-provoking presentations. Vital topics include new challenges in conservation, the global impact of citizen science, transformative technology, and the power of storytelling to change the world. View the schedule and speakers below.

Welcome to the 2017 Explorers Festival

9:00 a.m. - 9:10 a.m. ET

  • Gary E. Knell, President and CEO, National Geographic Society
  • Brooke Runnette, Executive Vice President and Chief Program Officer, National Geographic Society

Breakthrough

9:10 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. ET

Kick off the day with a fascinating discussion featuring internationally renowned National Geographic Explorers who will share their latest breakthroughs and challenges.

Moderated by Jonathan Baillie, Chief Scientist and Senior Vice President, Grants, National Geographic Society

Featuring:

  • Sarah Parcak, Space Archaeologist and National Geographic Fellow
  • Enric Sala, Marine Ecologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence
  • Lee Berger, Paleoanthropologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence

Exploration in Progress

10:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. ET

Brief lightning-round talks allow Nat Geo Explorers to share updates on their current projects Moderated by Alex Moen, National Geographic Society Vice President, Explorer Programs

Including:

  • Naftali Honig, Wildlife Crime Investigator, National Geographic 2016 Emerging Explorer
  • Krithi K. Karanth, Conservation Biologist, National Geographic 2012 Emerging Explorer
  • Maria Fadiman, Ethnobotanist, National Geographic 2006 Emerging Explorer
  • Daniel Raven-Ellison, Guerrilla Geographer, National Geographic 2012 Emerging Explorer
  • Salam Al Kuntar, Archaeologist, National Geographic 2015 Emerging Explorer

and many more.

Introducing the 2017 Emerging Explorers

2:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. ET

Honoring our new class of innovative thinkers and change makers.

Master of Ceremony: Brooke Runnette, Executive Vice President and Chief Program Officer, National Geographic Society

Transformative Tech

2:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. ET

These creative minds are deploying innovative technology to aid new discoveries and develop a deeper understanding of our planet.

Moderated by Kaitlin Yarnall, National Geographic Society Deputy Director, Centers of Excellence

Featuring:

  • Grace C. Young, Ocean Engineer, National Geographic 2017 Emerging Explorer
  • Corey Jaskolski, Engineer and Inventor, National Geographic Fellow
  • Jennifer W. Lopez, Technologist and Data Scientist, National Geographic 2017 Emerging Explorer
  • Charlie Hamilton James, Photographer and Filmmaker, National Geographic Fellow

Community Innovators

4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. ET

Working hand in hand with local communities to protect cultural heritage as well as critical ecosystems.

Moderated by Chris Thornton, National Geographic Society Senior Director, Grants and Cultural Heritage

Featuring:

  • Keolu Fox, Human Geneticist, National Geographic 2017 Emerging Explorer
  • Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Environmental Activist and Geographer, National Geographic 2017 Emerging Explorer
  • Hotlin Ompusunggu, Dentist and Conservationist, National Geographic 2017 Emerging Explorer
  • Joe Riis, Wildlife Photojournalist, National Geographic Fellow

Friday, June 16

Explorers Symposium

Each year, some of the most innovative explorers in the world come together at National Geographic headquarters to share their discoveries, breakthroughs, and amazing stories from the field. This year’s event welcomes a fascinating community of scientists and conservationists, storytellers and change makers for two days of inspirational and thought-provoking presentations. Vital topics include new challenges in conservation, the global impact of citizen science, transformative technology, and the power of storytelling to change the world. View the schedule and speakers below.

Presentation of The National Geographic Society/Buffett Awards for Leadership in Conservation

9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. ET

Recognizing local leaders in conservation from Latin America and Africa.

  • Jonathan Baillie, Chief Scientist and Senior Vice President, Grants, National Geographic Society

Evolving Planet

9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. ET

Investigating the transformation of our planet from millions of years ago to the present day.

Moderated by Geoff Daniels, Global Executive Vice President and General Manager, Nat Geo WILD

Featuring:

  • M Jackson, Geographer and Glaciologist, National Geographic 2017 Emerging Explorer
  • Federico Fanti, Paleontologist and Sedimentary Geologist, National Geographic 2017 Emerging Explorer
  • Ryan Carney, Evolutionary Biologist and Epidemiologist, National Geographic 2017 Emerging Explorer
  • Brian Skerry, Photojournalist, Photography Fellow, 2017 Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year

Citizens for Science

11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. ET

Inspiring the next generation of explorers and activating citizen scientists around the world to help answer critical questions.

Moderated by Dan Beaupre, National Geographic Society Vice President, Education Experiences

Featuring:

  • Joe Grabowski, Educator and Scuba Diver, National Geographic 2017 Emerging Explorer
  • Gregg Treinish, Adventurer and Conservationist, National Geographic 2013 Emerging Explorer
  • Kelly Meade, Educator, 2017 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow
  • David Lang, Maker and Writer, National Geographic Fellow

Conflicts of Nature

1:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET

Researchers and conservationists share unique perspectives on how wildlife and wild places are impacted by human conflict.

Moderated by Catherine Workman, National Geographic Society Senior Director, Wildlife

Featuring:

  • Adjany Costa, Conservationist and Ichthyologist, National Geographic 2017 Emerging Explorer
  • Ricardo Moreno, Wildlife Biologist, National Geographic 2017 Emerging Explorer
  • Mateus Mutemba, Park Warden and Conservationist, National Geographic 2017 Emerging Explorer
  • Danielle N. Lee, Biologist and Outreach Scientist, National Geographic 2017 Emerging Explorer

Photography for Change

3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. ET

Harnessing the power of photography to inform, inspire, and transform public opinion. Moderated by Kathryn Keane, Vice President, Exhibitions, National Geographic Society

Featuring:

  • Ronan Donovan, Filmmaker, Photographer, Wildlife Biologist, National Geographic Grantee
  • Anand Varma, Science Photographer, National Geographic 2017 Emerging Explorer
  • Joel Sartore, Photographer, National Geographic Fellow

Closing Remarks

4:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. ET

Saturday, June 17

Red Planet vs. Blue Planet: Where Do We Explore Next?

Explore this thought-provoking question with some of the world’s best explorers and storytellers as they talk about the future of exploration on this planet and across the galaxy. Our host for the day, the entertaining environmental anthropologist and Nat Geo 2011 Explorer of the Year Kenny Broad, will take you on a journey from the surface of Mars to the depths of the ocean as we learn from the best and brightest in exploration. This daylong session will include the following conversations.

Host: Kenny Broad, Environmental Anthropologist, 2011 National Geographic Explorer of the Year

Leaving Terra Firma

9:30 a.m. - 10:35 a.m. ET

Since ancient times, humans have been driven to leave the security of land behind. Join ocean and space experts as they take part in a lively discussion about the risks and rewards of pushing the limits of our human boundaries.

Moderated by Joel Achenbach, Author and Staff Writer at The Washington Post

Featuring:

  • Bob Ballard, Ocean Explorer, Explorer-in-Residence
  • Bethany Ehlmann, Planetary Geologist, National Geographic 2013 Emerging Explorer
  • Colonel Chris Hadfield, Astronaut
  • Stephen Petranek, Writer and Technologist

A New Human Tide

10:50 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. ET

Technological breakthroughs are making long-term colonization of both Mars and the ocean real possibilities. This fascinating conversation will reveal what it would take for humans to survive the transition and make it a lasting success.

Moderated by Nadia Drake, Science Journalist

Featuring:

  • Alan Leonardi, Oceanographer
  • Lucianne Walkowicz, Astronomer
  • Constance Adams, Space Architect, National Geographic 2005 Emerging Explorer
  • Joe Quirk, Author

No Place Like Home

2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. ET

Experts shine a light on some of the breakthrough discoveries and surprising insights that are giving us a whole new perspective on just staying home.

Moderated by Ira Flatow, Radio and Television Journalist

Featuring:

  • Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence
  • Kevin Hand, Planetary Scientist and Astrobiologist, National Geographic 2011 Emerging Explorer
  • Jane Root, CEO, Nutopia