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Schedule of Events

Single tickets and a full festival pass are available for purchase.


Monday, June 11 - Wednesday, June 13

Explorer Meetings & Trainings

By Invitation Only

Three days filled with valuable trainings, workshops, interdisciplinary collaboration, and networking with National Geographic staff and fellow explorers.

Thursday, June 14

Explorers Symposium

9 AM - 5 PM | By Invitation Only | Watch Online via Live Stream

Each year, some of the world’s most fascinating innovators and changemakers come together at National Geographic headquarters to share their discoveries, breakthroughs, and inspiring stories from the field. This year welcomes an exciting lineup of scientists, explorers, conservationists, and storytellers for two days of thought-provoking presentations with one audacious goal in mind: connecting to ignite change on behalf of a planet in balance.

Hosted by Cara Santa Maria, Science Journalist and Corespondent on National Geographic’s Explorer

Watch Live

 

9 AM

Welcome by Mike Ulica, Interim President and CEO, National Geographic Society


Opening Remarks by Jonathan Baillie, Chief Scientist and EVP, Science and Exploration, National Geographic Society

 

9:15 AM

INNOVATION IGNITES CHANGE
The biggest, most impactful changes often begin by shifting our own perspectives. In every discipline, from education to exploration, it’s critical that we embrace creative thinking and innovative problem solving, and ask ourselves, what are new ways to look at old problems?

Featuring:

  • Bob Ballard, Oceanographer, National Geographic Explorer-at-Large
  • Steven Brumby, Senior Advisor, National Geographic Labs
  • Corey Jaskolski, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Developer, National Geographic Fellow
  • Kakani Katija, Bioengineer, 2011 National Geographic Emerging Explorer
  • Kavita Gupta, Educator, National Geographic Fellow
  • Moderator: Jonathan Baillie, Chief Scientist and EVP, Science and Exploration, National Geographic Society

 

UNDERSTANDING OURSELVES
An important step toward a planet in balance is understanding ourselves as a species—not just our past, but how we think and act today—to help shape a more sustainable tomorrow.

10 AM

WHO ARE WE?
Advances in technology and science are changing the way we see ourselves, redefining what it means to be human, and transforming how we approach the major issues facing our planet.

Featuring:

  • Lee Berger, Paleoanthropologist, National Geographic Explorer-at-Large
  • Kim Young, Educator, National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow
  • Gyaneshwer Chaubey, Biological Anthropologist, National Geographic Grantee
  • Evgenia Abrugaeva, Photojournalist, National Geographic Fellow
  • Introduction and Moderated by: Jamie Shreeve, National Geographic Magazine Contributing Writer and Editorial Consultant

 

10:55 AM

UPDATE FROM THE FIELD
Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek shows us how old communication tools can open our eyes to our past. Paul is on a 21,000-mile storytelling odyssey on foot across the globe. He recently led a National Geographic Photo Camp for students in Banbasa, India, helping them share their unique outlook on the world through photography.

 

 

Break

 

11:25 AM

EXPLORATION IN PROGRESS
National Geographic Explorers take the stage to give you a glimpse into their critical work.

Featuring:

  • Stephen Humphreys, Archaeologist, National Geographic Grantee
  • Tatjana Rosen, Conservationist, National Geographic Grantee

 

11:35 AM

THE HUMAN CONNECTION
As the world’s population inches toward 10 billion, now more than ever we need to understand and appreciate one other and what makes us all human. Discover how we can inspire empathy and encourage sustainability, even in the most conflict-heavy places on the planet.  

Featuring:

  • Aziz Abu Sarah, Cultural Educator, 2011 National Geographic Emerging Explorer 
  • Erika Larsen, Photographer, Multidisciplinary Storyteller, National Geographic Fellow
  • Sayed Gul Kalash, Archaeologist, 2013 National Geographic Emerging Explorer
  • Losang Rabgey, Tibetan Studies Expert, 2006 National Geographic Emerging Explorer
  • Moderated by Debra Adams Simmons, Executive Editor of Culture, National Geographic magazine

 

 Break for lunch

 

CONSERVING LAND AND OCEAN
Our planet’s systems and habitats are under siege. Bold, creative, and impactful conservation efforts have never been more critical—or urgent.

1:30 PM

PROTECTING THE LAST WILD PLACES
We must act now to protect the last wild places of our planet–from biodiverse watersheds like the Okavango Delta, to the most pristine and endangered areas of our ocean. Explore the unique challenges, and surprising success stories, of our mission to protect these critical habitats around the world.

Featuring:

  • Naftali Honig, Wildlife Crime Investigator, 2016 National Geographic Emerging Explorer
  • Dominique Goncalves, Ecologist & Conservationist
  • Sean Gerrity, Conservationist, Founder & Managing Director of American Prairie Reserve, Former National Geographic Fellow
  • Enric Sala, Marine Ecologist, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence
  • Moderated by David Quammen, Award-Winning Author and National Geographic magazine contributor

 

2:15 PMUpdate From the Field
Emmanuel de Merode, 2015 Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year and chief warden of Virunga National Park in Congo, joins Jonathan Baillie in conversation. Emmanuel will give an update from the front lines of conservation, sharing what he and the Virunga rangers are up against as they fight to preserve one of the last wild places in Africa.

 

2:30 PM#CUANDO18
National Geographic’s Okavango Wilderness Project is an effort to survey and protect the greater Okavango River Basin and Delta—an area rich in biodiversity and natural resources whose long-term health is threatened. National Geographic Fellow Steve Boyes and team will share highlights from their current expedition covering uncharted territory among the vast marshy floodplains and endless channels of southeastern Angola.
 

 

 

Break

 

3 PM

EXPLORATION IN PROGRESS

National Geographic Explorers take the stage to give you a glimpse into their critical work.

Featuring:

  • Ameer A. Abdullah, Marine Ecologist  & Conservationist, National Geographic Grantee
  • Katlin Bowman, Oceanographer, National Geographic Grantee
  • Erika Woolsey, Marine Biologist, Technologist, National Geographic Grantee
  • David Lang, Entrepreneur, National Geographic Fellow

 

3:15 PM

PLANET OR PLASTIC?
We made plastic. We depend on it. Now, we’re drowning in it. Look at the drastic impact plastic is making in the ocean, the grants we’re funding to study its river pathways, and some of the innovative ways to keep plastics from reaching the ocean in the first place—including bringing global attention to this critical issue.

Introduction by Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer, National Geographic Explorer-at-Large and Rolex Testimonee

Featuring:

  • Heather Koldewey, Marine Biologist, National Geographic Fellow
  • Lillygol Sedeghat, Humanitarian Journalist, Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storyteller
  • Imogen Napper, Marine Biologist, National Geographic Grantee
  • Moderated by Valerie Craig, Deputy to the Chief Scientist & VP, Operating Programs, National Geographic Society

 

4:10 PM

CLOSING PERFORMANCE BY JANNA BENAVIDES

Janni leads the Jacana art/music project in Colombia, which works to create a space where artistic learning, communication, and community work are fostered around a knowledge of nature, weaving new social bonds and navigating toward a more peaceful future.

 

National Geographic Awards

$25 | 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM (Doors 7 PM) | Lisner Auditorium

Join the biggest names in exploration for an evening of celebration and inspiration as National Geographic presents its most prestigious awards. This star-studded show featuring musical entertainment will honor trailblazers leading the push to protect our planet for future generations.

We will proudly honor a photographer saving species, a world leader protecting the ocean, an environmentalist fighting pollution in China, a rock star of outer space, a “Hero of the Planet, and more! You’ll hear firsthand from these extraordinary recipients who have dedicated their lives to changing the world. The night will be hosted by actor and director Ravi Patel and feature special performances by Melissa Etheridge, Ben Harper, and Amber Riley.

Awardees include:

  • Carolyn Porco, Eliza Scidmore Award
  • Ma Jun, Further Award
  • Peter Raven, Hubbard Medal
  • Michelle Bachelet, Planetary Leadership Award
  • Joel Sartore, Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year
  • Leonidas Nzigiyimpa, National Geographic Society/Buffett Awards for Leadership in Conservation
  • Pablo Garcia Borboroglu, National Geographic Society/Buffett Awards for Leadership in Conservation

Buy Tickets

Friday, June 15

Explorers Symposium

9 AM - 5 PM | By Invitation Only | Watch Online via Live Stream

Each year, some of the world’s most fascinating innovators and changemakers come together at National Geographic headquarters to share their discoveries, breakthroughs, and inspiring stories from the field. This year welcomes an exciting lineup of scientists, explorers, conservationists, and storytellers for two days of thought-provoking presentations with one audacious goal in mind: connecting to ignite change on behalf of a planet in balance.

Hosted by Cara Santa Maria, Science Journalist and Corespondent on National Geographic’s Explorer

Watch Live

9 AM

Welcome by Emma Carrasco, Chief Marketing and Engagement Officer and SVP, Global Strategy, National Geographic Society

 

PROTECTING SPECIES
The interaction between animals and their environments is the engine that keeps the planet healthy for all of us. But for many species, time is running out.

9:15 AM

UPDATE FROM THE FIELD
Beverly and Dereck Joubert, National Geographic Explorers-at-Large and co-founders of the Big Cats Initiative, join Emma Carrasco in conversation. Their journey to save and document big cats has been filled with successes, challenges, setbacks, and insights into globalizing this critical conservation movement.

 

9:25 AM

LIVING WITH WILDLIFE
Although protected areas play a crucial role in conserving wildlife, equally important is the successful sharing of landscapes. In order to build threatened animal populations, it is imperative that we successfully coexist and build peace between people and animals.

Featuring:

  • Pablo Borboroglu, Marine Biologist, Penguin Conservationist, 2018 National Geographic Society/Buffett Award Recipient
  • Asha de Vos, Marine Biologist, Ocean Educator, 2016 National Geographic Emerging Explorer
  • Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Wildlife Veterinarian, Conservationist, National Geographic Grantee
  • Laly Lichtenfeld, Wildlife Conservationist, National Geographic Grantee
  • Moderated by Shivani Bhalla, Wildlife Conservationist, 2014 National Geographic Emerging Explorer

 

10:15 AM

EXPLORATION IN PROGRESS
National Geographic Explorers take the stage to give you a glimpse into their critical work.

Featuring:

  • Tarin Toledo-Aceves, Forest Ecology Researcher, National Geographic Grantee
  • Brian Gratwicke, Conservation Biologist, National Geographic Grantee
  • Deogratias Tuyisingize, Conservation Biologist, Field Ecologist, National Geographic Grantee

 

 

Break

 

10:45 AM 

EVERY ANIMAL DESERVES A STORY
The National Geographic Photo Ark sheds a spotlight on creatures in captivity and launched a movement to protect them. In partnership with the Zoological Society of London’s EDGE (Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered) of Existence programme, National Geographic developed the Nat Geo Photo Ark EDGE Fellowship to protect lesser-known animal species at risk of extinction who have been featured in the Photo Ark. Meet the weird and wonderful animals these conservationists are working to save and hear their critical conservation stories.

Featuring:

  • Joel Sartore, Photographer and Founder of National Geographic Photo Ark, National Geographic Fellow
  • National Geographic Photo Ark EDGE Fellows
    • Jamal Galves, Wildlife Conservationist
    • Marina Rivero, Wildlife Conservationist
    • Vinicius Alberici, Wildlife Conservationist
    • Daniel Arauz, Wildlife Conservationist
    • Yajaira García Feria, Wildlife Conservationist
  • Moderated by Gael Almeida, Senior Director, International (Latin America), National Geographic Society
 

Break

 

11:35 AM

EXPLORING THE SECRET LIVES OF ANIMALS
National Geographic has a legacy of showcasing the diversity of animal behavior, from the disgusting to the delightful, the heartwarming to the inspiring, the weird to the weirder. Discover how revealing both relatable and surprising behaviors not only drives forward our understanding of the planet’s biodiversity, but creates empathy and inspires people to protect these animals.

Featuring:

  • Shane Gero, Marine Biologist, National Geographic Grantee
  • Thomas Peschak, Conservation Photographer, National Geographic Photographer and Grantee
  • Mimi Kessler, Ornithologist, Wildlife Biologist, National Geographic Grantee
  • Jacinta C. Beehner,  Biopsychologist and Biological Anthropologist, National Geographic Grantee
  • Moderated by Catherine Workman, Senior Director, Wildlife Grants, National Geographic

 

12:30 PM

UPDATE FROM THE FIELD

Throughout his career, Brian Skerry, National Geographic Fellow and 2017 Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year, has always strived to find new ways to draw people’s attention to the critical problems faced by some of our world’s most iconic species. Brian will share insights on how we can use engaging storytelling to get people to not just care, but to act.

 

 Break for lunch

INNOVATE & INSPIRE
When people value the planet they live on, they want to protect it. Through innovative and engaging storytelling, we can touch hearts as well as minds, and ignite change

2:00 PM

CUTTING-EDGE SOLUTIONS
Technology has changed the way we explore our planet. We’ll look at some of the latest breakthrough innovations that are revealing amazing new insights—from a previously unseen microscopic world to the deepest depths of the ocean.

Featuring:

  • Peg Keiner, Educator, National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow
  • Martin Wikelski, Zoologist, Physiological Ecologist, National Geographic Fellow
  • Jonatha Giddens, Deep-sea Research Ecologist
  • Topher White, Engineer and Physicist, 2015 National Geographic Emerging Explorer
  • Moderated by Albert Lin, Research Scientist and Engineer, 2010 National Geographic Emerging Explorer

 

2:55 PM

THE POWER OF DATA-DRIVEN STORYTELLING
Data can be a powerful tool to create change when it’s shared effectively. These incredible explorers are finding creative ways to present data that are visual, emotional, appealing, and most importantly, inspiring action.

Featuring:

  • Dan Hammer, Environmental Data Scientist, National Geographic Fellow
  • Jeff Kerby, Ecologist and Photographer, National Geographic Grantee
  • Xaquin G.V., Visual Journalist, National Geographic Fellow
  • Jennifer W. Lopez, Technologist and Data Scientist, 2016 National Geographic Emerging Explorer
  • Moderated by Kaitlin Yarnall, Senior Vice President, Media Innovation, National Geographic Society

 

 

Break

  
4:10 PM

EXPLORATION IN PROGRESS
National Geographic Explorers take the stage to give you a glimpse into their critical work.

Featuring:

  • Katy Croff Bell, Archaeological Oceanographer, National Geographic Fellow
  • Charlie Hamilton James, Conservation Photojournalist, National Geographic Fellow
  • Anand Varma, Science Photographer, National Geographic Fellow
  • David Gruber, Marine Biologist, 2014 National Geographic Emerging Explorer
4:20 PM

MAKING THE CASE FOR NATURE

What's the most effective way to communicate nature? How do we get people to feel empathy for other life forms and act to protect them? We will hear insights from neuroscience, photography, journalism and behavioral science and discuss how best to get our message across to people all over the world.

Featuring:

  • Steve Ramirez, Neuroscientist, 2015 National Geographic Emerging Explorer
  • Emma Marris, Environmental Writer, National Geographic Fellow
  • Julia Lee, Behavioral Scientist
  • David Doubilet, National Geographic Photographer and Rolex Testimonee
  • Moderated by Andy Revkin, Journalist and Strategic Adviser for Environmental and Science Journalism, National Geographic Society
5:10 PM

CLOSING PERFORMANCE: “LIBERATED CARBON”
Special Performance by Andy Revkin, Journalist and Strategic Adviser for Environmental and Science Journalism, National Geographic Society

   

Party for the Planet

$25 | 6 PM - 10 PM | National Geographic

Join some of the world’s most celebrated explorers, scientists, and changemakers for an evening takeover of the National Geographic campus featuring live music by The Suffers. Plant your stake and join our journey to create a planet in balance by significantly reducing the amount of single-use plastic we put out into the world.

Pledge to end use of plastic bags, water bottles, and straws, sip explorer-themed cocktails, buy food from Swizzler, Rito Loco, From Scratch, Roro's, and other sustainable food trucks, park your bike with our complimentary bike valet, explore the National Geographic Museum, and more. Not only will you spend the evening with people changing the world, you’ll start making an impact yourself.

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Saturday, June 16

Saving Ourselves From Ourselves: Solutions for Creating a Planet in Balance

$50 | 9 AM - 4 PM | National Geographic

Human creativity has brought about a wealth of innovations that have expanded horizons and improved lives. But some of this progress has come at the expense of our planet, creating unprecedented threats—from climate change to ecosystems and species at risk.

Now more than ever, it’s up to our species to use our creativity to reverse these destructive trajectories. This daylong event, hosted by NBC News correspondent Stephanie Ruhle and National Geographic Explorer Kenny Broad, brings together explorers with leading experts in science, conservation, and other fields. They’ll discuss these critical issues, and start building an action plan. We invite you to join us, and to participate in a facilitated luncheon discussion on these important topics. Because together we can change the world.

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9 AM

Doors Open

9:35 AM

WHAT TIPPED THE SCALE?

From a pristine world to a planet in peril, how did we get to this current state? Join some of the world’s leading thinkers from a variety of disciplines as they share their ideas on the various forces that led us to where we are today.

Featuring Victoria Herrmann, Emma Marris, Leland Melvin, Andrew Revkin, and Iain Stewart

 

10:45 AM

Break

10:50 AM

WHAT DOES BALANCE LOOK LIKE?

By 2050, our planet will support two billion more people than it does today. This lively discussion will focus on what a sustainable, balanced future could look like. One based not just on choices, but compromises.

Featuring Mustafa Ali, Jonathan Baillie, Jessica Cramp, Natalie Kofler, and Ian Urbina 

11:50 AM

Lunch provided

2:00 PM

HOW FAR CAN TECH GET US?

Human innovations have improved lives, but progress has come at the expense of our planet itself, creating unprecedented threats. With our future hanging in the balance, should we focus our efforts on reversing what we have helped bring about, or use technology to help us adapt to the troubled environment in which we live?

Featuring Cory Doctorow, David Gruber, Arthur Huang, Laura Sydell, and Jessika Trancik

2:30 PM

Break

3:15 PM

IGNITE CHANGE
Despite all the knowledge and tools we have at our disposal, a sustainable planet can come about only through a committed collaboration among diverse groups and individuals. Listen in as experts lay out a joint action plan for the future of Earth.

Featuring Vicki Arroyo, Dekila Chungyalpa, Susan Goldberg, Heather Koldewey, and Lyndon Rive

4:15 PM

Closing and Final Thoughts
 
 

Sunday, June 17

FURTHER Film Festival

$10 | 11 AM - 5 PM | National Geographic

National Geographic opens the curtain on the second annual FURTHER Film Festival, showcasing the amazing work—and inspired vision—of our explorers in the field. See captivating documentaries that affirm National Geographic’s mission of working to create a planet in balance, including the critically acclaimed film JANE, and join the filmmakers and explorers for an inside look at the stories behind the stories.

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Film Schedule

(films will be shown in order listed below)

The Last Nomads of India (2 minutes)
The nomadic gypsies of India live a life of constantly questioning and searching for the unknown. Originating from the northern Indian state of Rajasthan, the gypsies cross the nation and transcend international borders on a lifelong quest for new beginnings and prosperity. This short video captures a rare inside look into the lives of some of the last nomadic people in the world.

Symphony for Our World (55 minutes)
This breathtaking masterpiece draws on stunning National Geographic natural history footage combined with an original symphony created by Emmy- and BAFTA-nominated Bleeding Fingers Music to create a captivating musical journey through some of the world’s most incredible wildlife spectacles.

Untamed With Filipe DeAndrade (10 minutes)
After winning the Nat Geo Wild to Inspire short documentary contest Filipe DeAndrade went on to host his own adventurous series documenting the lives of wild creatures around the world.

Person of the Forest (17 minutes)
In the disappearing rainforests of Borneo, researcher Cheryl Knott and her husband, photographer Tim Laman, uncover unique cultural behaviors in wild orangutans.

Dive to the Edge of Creation (58 minutes)
In this 1977 National Geographic special, a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution expedition, led by Robert Ballard discovers hydrothermal vents deep in the Pacific Ocean’s Galapágos Rift, and makes the first-ever discovery of plants and animals not dependent on photosynthesis for life.

The Last Honey Hunter (36 minutes)
National Geographic Explorers Renan Ozturk and Mark Synnott follow a man from the Kulung culture in Nepal to sky-scraping heights as he harvests psychotropic honey that is guarded by capricious spirits and the world’s largest honeybees.

Fallen Tree (7 minutes)
World renowned biologist Nalini Nadkarni pioneered the use of mountain climbing equipment to assist her climbs of rainforest canopies in the early 1980’s, but years of research and countless ascents came to an abrupt halt during a normal afternoon 50 feet above ground in Olympic National Park.

Sun Bear (11 minutes)
An explorer looks at the world through the eyes of a resilient young sun bear as it struggles to survive amid deforestation and poaching in Borneo.

In Search of Tzotz (10 minutes)
Dr. Rodrigo Medellín began studying bats as an eight-year-old, when he raised vampire bats in a bathroom at his parents' house. Today, the biologist is internationally known as The Bat Man of Mexico, having spent his career thus far studying bats all over his country. But there are two species that Rodrigo has longed to study. Both species are very rare, very large, and very carnivorous.

Leaders of the Pack (14 minutes)
Explorer and photojournalist Katie Orlinsky, whose work focuses on the everyday lives of people in extreme situations, covers a hopeful in the 2016 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Beneath the Canopy (6 minutes)
Members of the Tembé tribe, in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil work with National Geographic Explorer Topher White to use cell phones and a machine learning tool to combat illegal logging.

Outnumbered in Africa (8 minutes, world premier)
Sometimes beauty follows tragedy. Such is the case of what occurred after Cecil the Lion’s death. Most people know the story of Zimbabwe’s most famous lion and how he was illegally shot by an American dentist in 2015. The world reacted by donating over $1 million, which money funded cutting edge research to better protect Cecil’s pack and his extended lion family. Few people know that some of that research was done by Moreangels Mbizah, a young Zimbabwean woman, Oxford University Ph.D. candidate, and mother. Outnumbered in Africa follows Moreangels’ journey after Cecil’s death, revealing a deeper story of beauty and tragedy that receives far less attention in the world of African wildlife conservation.

JANE (90 minutes)
Produced from National Geographic’s treasure-house of archived footage, this film offers an intimate look at the life and work of renowned primatologist Jane Goodall, and her pioneering chimpanzee research in Tanzania.

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More at Explorers Festival 2018

photo credit

TOP IMAGES: Randall Scott, Ruthi David, Randall Scott