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2018 National Geographic Awards

National Geographic has been investing in the work of talented explorers, scientists, and storytellers for more than 130 years. This year’s National Geographic Awards will honor innovative and inspirational individuals who are pushing boundaries and changing the world.

Carolyn Porco
Photograph by Benjo Arwas

Carolyn Porco  

She’s a rock star of the science world. As the leader of the imaging science team on the Cassini mission in orbit around Saturn from 2004 to 2017, a veteran imaging scientist of the Voyager mission to the outer solar system in the 1980s, and an associate member of the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, Carolyn Porco has earned that rock-star status. But her influence goes beyond the disciplines of space science. She ignites imaginations by bringing the public along on her scientific journeys—engaging them through the Captain’s Log on the Cassini team’s website, amazing them through iconic photographs, such as the famous Pale Blue Dot image of Earth taken with the Voyager 1 spacecraft, and broadening horizons through highly compelling presentations on television and radio.

Ma Jun
Photograph courtesy of Ma Jun

Ma Jun  

A renowned environmentalist who is igniting critical conversations—and change—across China, Ma Jun is a director at one of China’s most dynamic environmental NGOs, the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs. This influential organization developed the first public database of water pollution information in China, and brought together a coalition of Chinese NGOs to promote a global green supply chain by pushing large corporations to focus on the environmental performance of their suppliers. His 1999 book, China’s Water Crisis, was China’s first major book on the subject of that nation’s environmental issues. In 2006, Time magazine named him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Peter Raven
Photograph by Dr. Tsai-Wen Hsu

Peter Raven  

An internationally renowned botanist and powerful advocate on behalf of conservation, Peter Raven has devoted his life to educating people about the threats to Earth’s biodiversity. Described by Time magazine as a “Hero for the Planet,” he headed for 40 years the Missouri Botanical Garden, an institution he nurtured to become a world-class center for botanical research, conservation, education, and horticulture display. He is a trustee of the National Geographic Society and chairman of the Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration, and is co-author of Biology of Plants, one of the best-selling textbooks in botany.

Michelle Bachelet
Photograph by Ximena Navarro

Michelle Bachelet  

Michelle Bachelet is a world leader who implemented bold conservation initiatives. As president of Chile from 2006 to 2010 and from 2014 to 2018, she showed how true leadership can mean the difference between a planet in ascendance and one perpetually at risk. In 2017, inspired by the work of the National Geographic Pristine Seas project, she led her government to create three large marine parks—one around the Juan Fernández Archipelago, another in the area of Cape Horn, and a third around the Desventuradas Islands. No other country has protected such diverse marine environments, from subtropical islands to subantarctic waters. We are pleased to recognize her extraordinary legacy in environmental conservation—for Chile and for the world.

Joel Sartore
Photograph by National Geographic

Joel Sartore  

Joel Sartore is the founder and leader of the National Geographic Photo Ark, a multiyear effort that aims to document every species in the world’s zoos and wildlife sanctuaries and inspire action through education. Joel’s passion for giving all creatures—large and small—their moment in the sun is inextinguishable, and contagious. To date he has visited 40 countries in his quest to create a photo archive of global biodiversity, which will feature portraits of more than 12,000 species when completed. As a result of his extraordinary work, National Geographic has established Photo Ark grants and fellowships supporting on-the-ground conservation projects working to protect species and their habitats.

See what we can #SaveTogether

Léonidas Nzigiyimpa
Photograph courtesy of Léonidas Nzigiyimpa

Léonidas Nzigiyimpa  

Since 2001, Léonidas Nzigiyimpa has been the chief warden in charge of the protected areas in the southern region of Burundi. Through his commitment, passion, and leadership, he is safeguarding the critical habitats of scores of species of birds and mammals, and is addressing the challenge of agricultural encroachment by involving communities in management and conservation decisions.

Against a backdrop of political and social unrest, and even death threats, Léonidas is working toward his dream of offering Burundians and others a peaceful place where they can admire the natural beauty of the region and become advocates for its protection.

 

Pablo García Borboroglu
Photograph by Global Penguin Society

Pablo García Borboroglu  

Pablo García Borboroglu is the founder and director of the Global Penguin Society, which worked with the government of Argentina to secure the protection of 3.1 million hectares of penguin habitat in Patagonia. This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is 58 percent marine and 42 percent land and contains almost half of the global population of Magellanic penguins. This new reserve, called Patagonia Azul, was granted status in 2015.

Pablo is also passionate about inspiring and educating the next generation of our planet’s guardians: our children. His educational program, Messengers of the Sea, is in its 10th year and has taught thousands of students across Latin America about the importance of protecting our natural world.


photo credit

TOP IMAGES: Ruthi David, Scott Henderson, Taylor Mickal