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Schedule of Events

Explorers Festival: June 15-18, 2017

Thursday, June 15

LIVE STREAM   |   Welcome to the 2017 Explorers Festival

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

Part of Explorers Symposium

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


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LIVE STREAM   |   Breakthrough

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

Part of Explorers Symposium

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


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LIVE STREAM   |   Exploration in Progress

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

Part of Explorers Symposium

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.


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LIVE STREAM   |   Introducing the 2017 Emerging Explorers

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

Part of Explorers Symposium

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


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LIVE STREAM   |   Transformative Tech

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

Part of Explorers Symposium

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


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LIVE STREAM   |   Community Innovators

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

Part of Explorers Symposium

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


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EVENT   |   Nat Geo Nights: Into the Okavango

5:30 p.m - 8:30 p.m. ET

Part of Nat Geo Nights

Sold Out

Join Nat Geo Explorers for a night of great music, food, and drinks. In a special Explorers Festival presentation, guests will meet members of an amazing team that have spent the past two years navigating the Okavango River Basin as part of an impressive endeavor to help document and protect one of the last truly wild places on Earth.

Friday, June 16

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

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

Part of Explorers Symposium

Recognizing local leaders in conservation from Latin America and Africa.

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


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LIVE STREAM   |   Evolving Planet

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

Part of Explorers Symposium

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


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LIVE STREAM   |   Citizens for Science

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

Part of Explorers Symposium

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


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LIVE STREAM   |   Conflicts of Nature

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

Part of Explorers Symposium

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


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LIVE STREAM   |   Photography for Change

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

Part of Explorers Symposium

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


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LIVE STREAM   |   Closing Remarks

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

Part of Explorers Symposium


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EVENT   |   BYT & Nat Geo’s Excellent Adventure

8:00 p.m. - 12 a.m. ET

National Geographic is teaming up with Brightest Young Things to bring you an excellent adventure to remember. This special Explorers Festival after-hours campus takeover will feature great music, explorer talks and experiences, bars, exclusive museum access, lasers, and (maybe...just maybe) a time traveling phone booth!

Saturday, June 17

LIVE STREAM and EVENT   |   Leaving Terra Firma

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

Part of Red Planet vs. Blue Planet

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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


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LIVE STREAM and EVENT   |   A New Human Tide

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

Part of Red Planet vs. Blue Planet

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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


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LIVE STREAM and EVENT   |   No Place Like Home

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

Part of Red Planet vs. Blue Planet

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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


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EVENT   |   Celebration of Exploration

5:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. ET

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Join the biggest names in exploration as we pay tribute to the visionaries who push boundaries and change our world for the better. Festivities will begin with a reception featuring cuisines prepared by D.C.’s most celebrated chefs, complemented by cultural performances highlighting Nat Geo’s work around the world. We’ll continue the evening in Lisner Auditorium with a show honoring awardees, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, photojournalist Brian Skerry, and clean-energy visionaries Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg of Solar Impulse, hosted by writer and comedian Mo Rocca, with filmmaker and explorer James Cameron, TV host Jason Silva and a special performance by X Ambassadors lead singer Sam Harris.

Sunday, June 18

EVENT   |   The Forgotten Coast: Return to Wild Florida (2017)

12 p.m.

Part of FURTHER Film Festival

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In “The Forgotten Coast: Return to Wild Florida,” directed by Eric Bendick, three friends—photographer and National Geographic Explorer Carlton Ward Jr., conservationist Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, and biologist Joe Guthrie—leave civilization and enter a lost American wilderness on a rugged thousand-mile journey by foot, paddle, and bike. Traversing Florida’s vast and seldom seen “forgotten coast,” the expedition encounters stunning and rare wildlife including black bears, manatees, alligators, ancient river fish, and endangered woodpeckers—all living within a fragile wildlife corridor stretching from the Everglades to the Florida-Alabama border. Run Time: 57 min.

EVENT   |   Elk River (2016)

1 p.m.

Part of FURTHER Film Festival

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“Elk River” is a short film led by filmmaker Jenny Nichols that follows scientist and National Geographic Explorer Arthur Middleton, National Geographic Explorer and photojournalist Joe Riis, and contemporary artist James Prosek as they interpret elk migrations through their individual mediums—data-driven science, photography, and original painting. Traveling deep into the heart of the rugged and beautiful landscape of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, they work with landowners, ranch managers, outfitters, guides, agency biologists, an unusual mule named Rosie, and many others to walk in the footsteps of the awe-inspiring elk. Run Time: 28 min.

EVENT   |   A House Without Snakes (2016)

1:30 p.m.

Part of FURTHER Film Festival

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“A House Without Snakes” is an intimate coming-of-age portrait that explores the tension between modernity and tradition through the lens of two individuals’ hopes and fears. It follows two young men in Botswana who struggle to build their futures in the wake of their people’s relocation from their ancestral homeland. Ketelelo looks to education as a way to reinvent himself and provide for his family, while Kitsiso wonders whether he should stay in his ancestral homeland to honor his father or seek a new life in town. Run Time: 29 min.

EVENT   |   Miss Goodall and the Wild Chimpanzees (1965)

2 p.m.

Part of FURTHER Film Festival

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In 1960 Jane Goodall entered the Gombe Stream Reserve in East Africa to study the chimpanzee like no one had before. For five years she lived in this harsh environment to study and compare the likeness of humans and chimps. She is the first scientist to prove that like human beings, the chimpanzee is a toolmaker. Narrated by the renowned actor and director Orson Welles, “Miss Goodall and the Wild Chimpanzees” gives everyone a glimpse of the first successful study of chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Run Time: 50 min.

EVENT   |   Soul of the Elephant (2015)

3 p.m.

Part of FURTHER Film Festival

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National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence and wildlife filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert take an intimate look at one of the world’s most intelligent and sensitive animals: the elephant. “Soul of the Elephant” tracks the Jouberts’ quest to understand the lives of two elderly elephants whose skulls they discovered, ivory tusks intact, in Botswana—one of the last places on Earth these animals can still live out a natural life. To understand the mystery of why these elephants died in the same place and at the same time, the Jouberts spent two years traveling through what would have been the elephants’ home range, spending time in very close contact with elephant herds, capturing extraordinary moments on film, and eventually finding an explanation for the elephants’ deaths. Run Time: 52 min.

EVENT   |   Adaptation (2017) and selections from the Short Film Showcase

4 p.m.

Part of FURTHER Film Festival

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Directed by: National Geographic Explorer Justin DeShields

The “new normal” of global climate change is, generally, a harrowing reality to contemplate. Cultural anthropologist and National Geographic Explorer Alizé Carrère helps us see, however, that it does not need to be a reality devoid of hope. In Bangladesh—the most densely populated country in the world and one that will bear a disproportionate share of the impact of global climate change—Carrère shows us the kind of resilience, flexibility, and innovation that will be requisite for the survival of our species. Run Time: 12 min.

Selections From the Short Film Showcase

National Geographic’s digital video team curates the most captivating shorts from filmmakers around the world.

EVENT   |   New Wave Warriors (World Premiere)

5 p.m.

Part of FURTHER Film Festival

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When we hear all the bad news about how climate change, pollution, and overfishing are destroying marine habitats, it’s easy to get discouraged. Is there hope? The answer is: yes. This is the story of innovators, photographers, adventurers, and scientists who are risking everything to protect the oceans. Despite the daunting, sometimes thankless task of going against the tide, these intrepid conservationists are succeeding. Because the cost of not doing so would be too great. Run Time: 45 min.

Picture of Breakthrough panel

Videos and Stories

Did you miss this year’s Explorers Festival? Catch up here on conversations with the world's most fascinating and innovative scientists, conservationists, explorers, and storytellers.
 

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Picture of Sylvia Earle speaking

Explorers Festival Speakers

Check out 2017’s incredible line-up. Speakers include Sylvia Earle, Kenny Broad, and more.

Meet Our Speakers

National Geographic Museum

Picture of Sharks exhibition

The National Geographic Museum is great for all ages and features a wide range of changing exhibitions, from interactive experiences to stunning photography showcases featuring the work of National Geographic explorers, photographers, and scientists. Our current exhibitions include Earth Explorers, Sharks: On Assignment with Brian Skerry, and National Geographic: Exploration Starts Here. The National Geographic Museum is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

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PhotoS: Breakthrough panel by Randall Scott, SYLVIA EARLE BY Rebecca hale, and SHARKs EXHIBITION BY MARK THIESSEN