National Geographic wildlife conservation photographer Shannon Wild was born in Australia but now makes her home in South Africa. She is on a mission to document a rare black panther (melanistic leopards) living in a forest in southern India. Shannon has worked for NatGeoWild, WildAid, and the United Nations, founded a jewelry store whose proceeds give back, and written three books.

Use the resources in this collection to prepare your students for her upcoming National Geographic Live! student matinee experience. Use the “Before the show” ideas to introduce students to Shannon Wild and the topics (wildlife, adventure, exploration, photography) that she will discuss during the show. Use the “After the show” ideas to extend the learning after the event has ended.

Before the Show:

  • Have students review Shannon Wild’s biography using the links in the Explore More tab on this page.

  • Download and print the provided maps of Africa and India, or use the MapMaker Interactive, to explore the area where Shannon Wild works. 

  • Have students read the habitat encyclopedic entry. After reading, ask: What is a habitat? What are the main components of a habitat? What are some local habitats? How might a plants habitat differ from that of an animal?
  • As a class, watch the film clip Master Trackers (2:31) to more about how wildlife filmmakers like Shannon capture images of elusive animals like the black leopard.

  • Explore how animals are tracked over long distances with the GeoStory Tracking Animal Migrations.

  • Use the Big Cats and Their Habitats (1 hour, 30 minutes) activity to help students learn to identify big cats and explore their species ranges.
  • Need more activities exploring Indian wildlife? Check out this idea set!

  • Provide each student with a KWL Chart. Introduce the program they will attend and, who the speaker is, and offer a brief description of the speaker’s topic(s). Have students fill out the What I Know and What I Want to Know columns of the KWL Chart. Have them fill out the What I Learned column after the show.

  • Use the graphic organizer collection to select a graphic organizer to help your students organize their questions and new knowledge before, during, and after the program. For example: 

    • Download and print the T Chart. Have students label the left column with Questions I Have and the right column with Answers, and then conduct research about the speaker and their topic ahead of the program. Have students record answers to their questions during or after the program. Have students conduct research to complete any unanswered questions for homework. Have each student share a question and answer with the class. 

    • Download and print the provided Five Ws Chart. Have each student bring their copy to the matinee program and take notes. Have students share and discuss their notes after the show.

After the Show:

  • Use the Explorer Comparisons worksheet and have a class discussion to help students make connections between themselves and Shannon Wild. Distribute the worksheet to students before the presentation and review the directions with them. Review any terms with which they are unfamiliar with. After the presentation, have students share the notes that they took during the show. Have a class discussion about attitudes and skills and how students demonstrate them in their everyday lives. Have students record their personal examples on the worksheet.

  • Review the continents, countries, or areas that the speaker presented. Ask: What continents, countries, or areas does the speaker work in? Have younger students imagine that these places were characters in the stories that Shannon Wild shared. Ask: What role did place play in Shannon Wild’s story? Why was location important to the story? How did the characteristics of the place influence the story? Note: You may need to introduce the concept of place for your students before they can answer and discuss these questions. 

  • Discuss and define any unfamiliar terminology that the speaker used. Ask: What vocabulary words did Shannon Wild use that were new to you? Invite volunteers to write the words on the board, and have the class define them as a group using the information they learned from the speaker or through research. If desired, have students record unfamiliar terminology during the show on one-half of a T Chart. Then, have them write the definitions on the other side following this class discussion.

  • Have a class discussion about the attitudes National Geographic explorers embody. Ask: What attitudes did Shannon Wild talk about today? In what ways does Shannon Wild demonstrate curiosity, responsibility, empowerment, and persistence in his work? Why do you think these attitudes are important for explorers? Students can use their Five Ws Chart for reference and a graphic organizer to organize their ideas.

  • Have a whole-class brainstorm on how students can make changes or support the speakers’ work. Ask: What, if any, call to action did the speakers make? How can you implement any changes in your day-to-day life? What can we work on together as a group?


continent and nation between the South Pacific and Indian oceans.


story of a person's life.


to transmit, transport, or carry.


management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.


one of the seven main land masses on Earth.


geographic territory with a distinct name, flag, population, boundaries, and government.


desire to know more about a subject.


to keep track of.


difficult to capture.


to give authority or power.


environment where an organism lives throughout the year or for shorter periods of time.


to carry out plans.


force that effects the actions, behavior, or policies of others.


large, spotted cat native to Africa and Asia.


important goal or purpose.


lasting, stubborn, or tenacious.


to go forward.


scientific observations and investigation into a subject, usually following the scientific method: observation, hypothesis, prediction, experimentation, analysis, and conclusion.


available supply of materials, goods, or services. Resources can be natural or human.


being accountable and reliable for an action or situation.


native, geographic area in which an organism can be found. Range also refers to the geographic distribution of a particular species.


set of terms used in a specialized subject.


organisms living in a natural environment.