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Nat Geo Experts
Outstanding. Encouraging. Inspiring.
National Geographic’s researchers, explorers, and storytellers have been inspiring people for more than 125 years. They’ve pursued their dreams, become leaders in their fields, and are excited to share their stories and knowledge with students. National Geographic experts join most of our programs. As you explore together, they’ll share their insights and experiences, and inspire you with their passion for the work they do and the places you’ll discover. Below, meet the experts who will join our trips this summer.
National Geographic Emerging Explorer Adjany Costa is a conservationist, ichthyologist, and assistant director for National Geographic’s Okavango Wilderness Project—an initiative to survey and record the extraordinary biodiversity of the Okavango Delta. Adjany has participated in six different expeditions in the Okavango River Basin, studying the system’s freshwater fish. She hopes that her work will support the creation of a marine protected area along the southwest coast of Angola, adjoining the Skeleton Coast in Namibia. Adjany will join the June 23 departure of the Botswana and Victoria Falls expedition.
National Geographic grantee Andrés Ruzo is a geoscientist, conservationist, author, science communicator, and educator who grew up between Peru, Nicaragua, and the United States. His childhood summers spent playing amid steam vents and hot springs on the flanks of Nicaragua’s Casita Volcano kindled a personal and professional fascination with volcanic landscapes around the world, including Iceland, where he led a National Geographic-documented research expedition in 2018. Andrés is the founder and director of the Boiling River Project, a non-profit dedicated to understanding and protecting Peru’s sacred Boiling River of the Amazon by bringing together modern science, conservation economics, and traditional Amazonian knowledge. Andrés will join the June 25 departure of the Iceland middle school expedition.
National Geographic Emerging Explorer Asha de Vos is a Sri Lankan marine biologist, ocean educator and pioneer of blue whale research within the Northern Indian Ocean. Asha is the first Sri Lankan to earn a Ph.D. in marine mammal research; founded the nonprofit Oceanswell; and runs the Sri Lankan Blue Whale Project, which is the first long-term study of blue whales in the region. She is passionate about inspiring the next generation of ocean heroes and through her work, hopes to change the current marine conservation model. Asha’s work has been showcased by the BBC, the New York Times, CNN, WIRED UK, and TED. Asha will join both departures of the Bali high school expedition in Pemuteran.
Photographer and filmmaker Ashima Narain is the former editor for National Geographic Traveler (India). She has covered a diverse range of topics that have sent her wading through mudflats in search of flamingos in Mumbai, hiding out in bear caves, climbing sail masts mid-sea, dining with Maharajas, and documenting the conditions of sari weavers in the holy city of Varanasi. In 2017, Time named Ashima one of the “34 women photographers to follow now.” Ashima was a judge on the first ever photography-based reality show on the National Geographic Channel, called Mission Covershot and her work has been published in National Geographic Traveler, Vanity Fair, Vogue, GQ, Marie Claire, Elle, and Teen People. Ashima will join the Bhutan high school expedition.
Filmmaker and scientist Birgit Buhleier helped develop National Geographic’s Crittercam, a video camera system that has provided fascinating insights into the daily lives of hundreds of species. She has deployed over 100 Crittercams on a broad range of animals around the world. Through her work with Crittercam, she has sidled up to sea lions, studied the secret lives of great white sharks, and dived with hawksbill sea turtles. Birgit will join the July 20 departure of the Belize middle school expedition.
Conservationist and wildlife tracker Boone Smith has traveled the world helping scientists study big cats. He has developed some of the best and safest techniques for attaching radio collars to large mammals so we can learn about their lives and reduce human-predator conflict. Boone is a host on National Geographic WILD, and has assisted National Geographic magazine photographers in the field. Currently, Boone is working in Alaska’s backcountry, searching for lynx dens and studying the population and health of kittens. Boone will join the June 26 departure of the Alaska high school expedition.
South African photographer Brent Stirton spends most of his time working on long-term investigative projects for National Geographic magazine, and is committed to issues related to wildlife and conservation, global health, diminishing cultures, sustainability, and the environment. He has shot 20 stories for National Geographic magazine, including recent stories on human-lion conflict, elephant poaching, and the rhino horn trade. Brent appeared in National Geographic’s documentary Virunga National Park in Conflict, which won the Emmy for Best Documentary Feature. In Botswana, Brent has covered bush pilots in the Okavango Delta, and indigenous bushmen communities. Brent has been recognized by the United Nations for his work on the environment and in the field of HIV/AIDS. His work has received 9 World Press Photo awards, and has been published in many respected international titles including Vanity Fair, Time, The New York Times Magazine, GEO, and Le Monde. Brent will join the Tanzania Photo Workshop.
Based in Europe, Dave Yoder is a contributing photographer to National Geographic magazine and National Geographic Traveler. His assignments have included a cover story on Pope Francis and the Vatican; photographing a lost city in the Mosquitia jungle of Honduras; the high-tech search for a lost Leonardo da Vinci painting; and documenting the largest ground-based telescope (ALMA) in Chile’s Atacama Desert. Dave focuses on human interest projects, and his work has appeared in worldwide publications including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, and Forbes. Dave will join both departures of the Italy and Greece Expedition.
Drew Rush is a wildlife and natural history photographer with a passion for following wildlife in national parks around the world. Before embarking on a career in photography, Drew spent ten years guiding on the Snake River and taking people into the heart of Yellowstone National Park. His photography has appeared in numerous international publications and books, such as National Parks magazine and National Geographic: Complete Photography. Drew has a long history of working in and teaching about the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and Grand Tetons region on several long-term photographic projects for National Geographic magazine. He has also worked on collaborative projects studying long-distance lynx migration through Alaska with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as monitoring wolf populations with the U.S. National Park Service. Drew’s images have been displayed at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming, and he is represented by Nat Geo Creative. Drew will join the Yellowstone photography workshop.
Eric Stackpole created the OpenROV submarine, an open source, low cost “Remotely Operated Vehicle” (or ROV) underwater robot that can be piloted from the surface and stream live video to its operator. He co-founded OpenROV, Inc., with 2016 National Geographic Emerging Explorer David Lang. Their intention is to democratize underwater exploration by making tools capable of exploring the deep available to anyone. OpenROV has grown into a business that distributes kits for the submarine to researchers, educators, technology enthusiasts, and explorers across the globe. Eric has worked on numerous other projects that utilize telerobotics as a means for exploration, including piloting ROV submarines under the Ross Sea in Antarctica and developing low-cost spacecraft used to carry out scientific missions in low Earth orbit. Eric will join the Technology and Innovation workshop in the Silicon Valley.
For more than a decade, Erika Larsen has used photography to learn intimately about and document cultures that maintain strong connections with nature. She has followed Sami reindeer herders in the Scandinavian arctic and explored the significance of the horse in Native American culture for National Geographic magazine. Her work has been shown in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Swedish Museum of Ethnography, the Ájtte Sámi Museum and as part of National Geographic’s Women of Vision photography exhibit. Erika received a Fulbright Fellowship to study the North Sami language and recently published her first book of photographs, Sámi, Walking With Reindeer. Erika recently spent a year photographing the people of Yellowstone National Park for the May 2016 issue of National Geographic magazine. Erika will join the July 8 departure of the Norway Expedition.
National Geographic Big Cats Initiative grantee Florian Weise has spent more than a decade on the African continent conserving endangered species. His work helping to reduce conflicts between Southern Africa’s large cats, like cheetahs and leopards, and local farmers has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Africa Geographic, and the Financial Times London. Florian has combined his passion for the outdoors with research in the Serengeti, the Okavango Delta, the Namib Desert, and at the N/a’an Ku Sê Wildlife Sanctuary. Florian will join the Namibia high school expedition.
Originally from Italy, Gianluca Colla has traveled and photographed around the world, from the Arctic Circle to Africa’s deserts and from the Amazon to the streets of Edinburgh. He has covered a diverse range of topics including the secrets of the longest-living centenarians in the world, a lost Da Vinci painting, and hidden mummies in Sicilian crypts. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including National Geographic magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, Newsweek, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Gianluca will join the July 6 departure of the Iceland middle school expedition.
Discover the wildlife of Alaska with biologist and filmmaker Greg Marshall. Greg invented the Crittercam—a device that can be attached to an animal to study its behavior. Greg’s Crittercam has enabled him to document life in the oceans and on land from the perspective of more than 80 species, including blue whales, black turtles, emperor penguins, and most recently, giant oceanic manta rays. Greg will join the Alaska middle school expedition and the July 6 departure of the Belize middle school expedition.
Delve into Peruvian culture with ethnomusicologist Holly Wissler, who specializes in the musical rituals of Peru’s Q’eros and Wachiperi indigenous groups. Based in Cusco, Holly works with these indigenous communities to preserve their culture and traditions, and is a guest lecturer for National Geographic and a number of U.S. university study abroad programs. She has produced documentaries about the largest pilgrimage festival in the Peruvian Andes and the Q’eros’ musical rituals, and presented a small group of Wachiperi representatives at the 2015 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Holly is fluent in Spanish and Quechua, the main indigenous language spoken in the Andes, and is conversant in both American and Peruvian Sign Languages. Holly is a classical flutist, and plays a number of traditional Andean instruments as well. Holly will join the Peru expedition.
Photographer Ian Teh’s work is often driven by a concern for social, environmental, and political issues. He honed his craft while traveling throughout China in his early twenties, documenting the enormous political and economic changes the country was undergoing. He has worked throughout Asia and internationally, and his recent work on China’s Yellow River was featured in the March 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine. Ian has published three books, and his work has appeared in numerous publications including the New Yorker, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Granta. His photography is part of the permanent collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and was displayed in Paris as part of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. Ian will join the China expedition.
Conservationist and research biologist Jamal Galves is a 2017 Nat Geo Photo Ark EDGE Fellow and program coordinator for the Sea to Shore Alliance. Jamal grew up in a small village in southern Belize, where he developed a love for animals—particularly manatees. Today, his work centers on conserving the endangered Antillean manatees of his home country. Jamal is an alumnus of the Conservation Leadership Programme and the Caribbean Emerging Wildlife Leaders program. For his efforts, he has been named an Oceana Ocean Hero, Belize National Hero, and World Wildlife Fund Planet Hero. Jamal will join both departures of the Belize expedition.
Documentary storyteller, James Whitlow Delano has made Tokyo his home for over two decades while pursuing his passion for the environment, human rights and indigenous cultures. Since 2011, he has documented the aftermath of the Great East Japan earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, resulting in his fourth book, “Black Tsunami: Japan 2011.” His photography series documenting the 1.5 million sacks of radioactive soil in Fukushima Prefecture on the fifth anniversary of the disaster, was featured by National Geographic. Recently, his work for National Geographic has shifted to the US/Mexico border where he has been documenting the border wall and fence in panoramas, as well as families whose houses rest up against the border wall in Tijuana, Mexico. In 2015, James founded the @EverydayClimateChange Instagram feed, where photographers document global climate change on all seven continents. The project has been exhibited around the world. James is a grantee at the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, and his award-winning work has been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times Magazine, Time, the New Yorker, and Foreign Policy. James will join the Tokyo photo workshop.
Award-winning Australian photographer Jason Edwards has been at the forefront of natural history photography for two decades. A passion for animals and the environment defines his extensive career. Since embarking on that career at the Royal Melbourne Zoo, Jason has produced images for everything from environmental campaigns to Hollywood blockbusters. His work has appeared in hundreds of publications including National Geographic magazine, BBC Wildlife, Australian Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Condé Nast Traveler, and The New Yorker. Jason is also the host of the National Geographic Channel’s Pure Photography, and an author of science education books. Jason will join the July 15 departure of the New Zealand expedition.
Travel and conservation photographer Jonathan Irish specializes in documenting adventure lifestyles, landscapes, and cultures. He spent eight years on the National Geographic staff, where he launched and directed the National Geographic Adventures program, bringing travelers on active trips. Jonathan is passionate about national parks across the globe—from Chilean and Argentinean Patagonia, where he has traveled and photographed extensively, to the United States, where he spent a full year in 2016 documenting all 59 of America’s national parks. Through his work, Jonathan seeks to share the wonders of the natural world while highlighting important conservation stories, so that future generations may enjoy the same beautiful world in which we live today. Jonathan will join the Patagonia Expedition.
National Geographic Fellow Dr. Katy Croff Bell uses technology to investigate the depths of the ocean. Katy currently leads the MIT Media Lab Open Ocean Initiative, dedicated to reimagining the future of ocean exploration and storytelling. Since 1999, she has led or participated more than 25 oceanographic and archaeological projects, using robotic and telepresence technologies to explore what lies at the depths of the ocean. At the Ocean Exploration Trust, she was Chief Scientist of the Nautilus Exploration Program, working with a large, global team of scientists, engineers, and educators to conduct multidisciplinary expeditions aboard E/V Nautilus in the Mediterranean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and Pacific Ocean. Nautilus expeditions were shared with the world live, revealing the wonders of the undersea world in real time, in an effort to maximize the scientific outputs of expeditions and engage and inspire a new generation of young explorers. Katy is a proud alumna of MIT, where she received her SB in ocean engineering, before completing her masters at the University of Southampton and doctoral work at the University of Rhode Island. Katy will join the MIT university workshop.
National Geographic grantee and ecologist Kevin McLean can often be found high up in forest canopies, studying some of the world’s least-known wildlife. Kevin combines camera trapping and GPS technologies with field science to study wildlife living in tropical treetops. As he collects his scientific data, he writes stories, takes photos, and creates videos to provide a view of his life as a researcher and the interesting species he encounters. Kevin is a Research Fellow at the University of California Davis, and recently traveled to Malaysian Borneo and the Ecuadorian Amazon as a Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling fellow, surveying canopy wildlife in two of the most biodiverse areas of the world. Kevin will join the June 24th departure of the Ecuador and the Galapagos expedition in Mindo and Cotopaxi.
Award-winning photographer Kiliii Yüyan specializes in Arctic photography and has traveled throughout the polar regions to document indigenous cultures and wildlife. On assignment, he has fled collapsing sea ice, chased fin whales in Greenland, and found kinship in some of the most remote corners of the world. Kiliii’s four-year project on the subsistence whaling culture of the Alaskan Iñuit will be featured in the December 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine. His work has also been published by National Geographic Traveler (China), TIME, NPR, and The Nature Conservancy; and his images have won awards from Communication Arts and The World Photo Organization. Kiliii will join the July 9 departure of the Alaska high school expedition.
Conservation educator Koketso Mookodi grew up and studied in Gaborone—Botswana’s capital—and then moved to the Okavango Delta to pursue her passion for wildlife. She earned a degree in tourism management, and began educating and empowering the local communities of the Okavango Delta. Koketso is committed to bringing knowledge and self-esteem to the people of the Okavango, and helps equip them to make conscious decisions regarding wildlife and the environment that they share. She is also the Botswana director for the Wild Bird Trust. Koketso will join the July 21 departure of the Botswana and Victoria Falls expedition.
For more than a decade, Krista Rossow has worked as a photographer, photo editor, and educator for National Geographic. She began her career as a photo editor at National Geographic Traveler magazine, where she shaped compelling stories from world-class imagery. In her freelance career, she has shot feature stories as a contributing photographer for Traveler in South Africa, Morocco, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Japan, and various U.S. cities. She regularly judges Instagram contests for @NatGeoTravel and photo edits for National Geographic Books. Krista is also a photography instructor, having joined multiple trips for National Geographic Expeditions and National Geographic Student Expeditions around the world. She sees the camera as a tool for understanding new cultures, meeting the locals, and exploring the natural world. Krista will join the Lisbon Photo Workshop.
Zoologist Kristofer Helgen is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer who has led research expeditions to remote areas on almost every continent in his search for undiscovered species. From the jungles of Papua New Guinea to the slopes of the Andes, Kris has identified some 100 new mammal species and documented viable populations of animals previously thought to be in major decline or even extinct. He is a professor of biological sciences at the University of Adelaide in Australia, and has served as curator of mammals at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Kris will join the July 13 departure of the Australia expedition.
Adventure photographer and cinematographer Krystle Wright hails from Australia and has made a career of capturing unique moments on expedition and in extreme sports. She strives to tell the stories of impassioned physical feats that might otherwise go undocumented. Krystle’s assignments have taken her to all seven continents, and she continues to find ways to challenge herself—from paragliding in Pakistan to swimming through unexplored caves. Her images have been featured in National Geographic magazine and on the @NatGeoTravel Instagram account, as well as in Outside magazine, GQ, the Huffington Post. Krystle will join the June 24 departure of the Australia expedition.
National Geographic Emerging Explorer, geographer, and environmental educator M Jackson can often be found exploring some of the world’s most remote Arctic environments. M’s research is focused on glacial environments and climate change. She spent a year in Iceland on a Fulbright Fellowship studying how climate change is affecting communities near the fishing village of Höfn. Her first book, While Glaciers Slept: Being Human in a Time of Climate Change, blends her own personal history with climate science. M’s research has taken her around the globe, and she has spent more than 10 years as a glacier guide and naturalist. M will join the June 25 and July 1 departures of the Iceland expedition.
Author, wildlife photographer, and cinematographer Matthias Breiter has spent most of the past 30 years researching the daily lives and habits of black, brown, grizzly, and polar bears. He has authored nearly 20 books, and his articles and photography have appeared in National Geographic magazine, and BBC Wildlife. Matthias’s most recent documentary, Polar Bear Summer, was nominated for an Emmy. He has also been involved with Nat Geo WILD productions like Grizzly Empire and The Wild West. Matthias Matthias will join both departures of the Canadian Arctic expedition.
Melissa Farlow is known for her personal approach when photographing people, and has worked on over 20 projects for National Geographic in South America, Quebec, Alaska, the Alps and throughout the American West. She has also traveled throughout and photographed Ireland on various assignments. From an early age, Melissa had a passion for horses and she recently co-produced Wild at Heart, a young adult book about mustangs and the teens who are trying to save them and preserve America’s wild horse legacy. Melissa was awarded a Pulitzer Prize with the staff of the Louisville Courier-Journal and her work has been published in National Geographic magazine, National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian, LIFE, and in over seventy books. Melissa has photographed throughout Ireland on a book assignment for TIME. Melissa will join the Ireland high school expedition.
As a senior photography editor at National Geographic magazine, Molly Roberts focuses on stories related to culture, history, archaeology, paleontology, and the intersections of these topics. She recently worked on the magazine’s 2018 “Diversity in America” series, and is an advocate for powerful visual storytelling and depicting diverse voices in the media. In 2014, she created HumanEyes USA, a non-profit that uses imagery to help illuminate complex issues facing America. Molly will join the Journalism and Multimedia at Nat Geo in DC university workshop.
Photojournalist and filmmaker Nick Cobbing aims to highlight themes of science and natural history through personal stories. A native of the United Kingdom, Nick frequently works in Norway, the Arctic and Antarctica, and has accompanied scientists on research expeditions, based on icebreaking ships or even camped on the Arctic ice. His story on the future of Arctic sea ice appeared in the January 2016 issue of National Geographic magazine. Nick’s work has been exhibited and screened worldwide in galleries and at festivals, as well as to policymakers at the U.S. Congress and the Stockholm Parliament. He has won many awards for his photography and short films, including from World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year, and American Photography. He teaches regularly in Antarctica, Norway, and the Arctic, using the camera to connect students with the landscape and themselves. Nick will join the June 22 departure of the Norway Expedition.
National Geographic Explorer and photographer Octavio Aburto focuses his photographic outreach and scientific research on the conservation of marine habitats and fisheries. He has been photographing marine ecosystems off the coastal waters of Mexico since 1994, and also works in Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and the United States. Octavio earned a Ph.D. at the Center of Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), where he currently serves as an associate professor and research scientist. His images have been part of several conservation projects worldwide and have won international photography contests. Aburto is a National Geographic grantee, was awarded the Conservation of Nature prize by the Mexican Ministry of the Environment, and a Pew Marine Fellow. In collaboration with National Geographic Pristine Seas, Octavio played a large role in establishing Revillagigedo National Park that now protects 5% of Mexican seas and is the largest marine reserve in North America. Octavio will join both departures of the Baja and the Sea of Cortez expedition.
Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, National Geographic photographer Rena Effendi grew up in the U.S.S.R.—witnessing her country’s rough path to independence, one marred by war, political instability and economic collapse. These experiences inspired Rena to focus her lens on issues of conflict, social justice, and the impact of the oil industry on people and the environment. She has photographed throughout Europe, and has taught previous photo workshops in Prague. Rena received National Geographic’s “All Roads” photography award and her stories for National Geographic magazine include documenting the art of hay-making in Transylvania and the legacy of Akhenaten, Egyptian pharaoh and the first monotheist in history. She has traveled and photographed throughout India, and covered the abiding impact of Mahatma Gandhi in modern-day India for the July 2015 issue of National Geographic magazine. Her work has received World Press Photo awards, has been published in The New Yorker, Newsweek, TIME, VOGUE, Marie Claire, and the New York Times Magazine, among others. Rena will join the Prague Photo Workshop and the India Expedition.
You can often find adventurer and visual storyteller Robbie Shone capturing images of the world’s most remote places, where natural light doesn’t reach and the art of photography is at its most challenging. Over the past ten years, Robbie has lit up and captured stunning images of the deepest, largest, longest and even smallest cave systems known. Robbie’s National Geographic assignments have taken him to the remotest areas of Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Uzbekistan and the Alps, and his work has been published in National Geographic magazine and National Geographic Science. During magazine assignments in China, Robbie has explored the caves of Wulong and trekked across mountainous Sichuan. When not on assignment, Robbie spends his time chasing adventures in the heart of the Alps, and has photographed local Alpine cultural events, rock climbers on Via Ferratta, tobogganing competitions, and the first Youth Winter Olympic Games. Robbie will join the Swiss and French Alps expedition.
A biologist turned photographer, Ronan Donovan’s camera has taken him around the world to all seven continents in search of elusive wildlife. Ronan’s career as a biologist began amongst the towering cliffs and sequoias of Yosemite National Park where he spent two summers banding and monitoring spotted owls. This work ignited a passion inside Ronan for conserving wild animals and wild places. He aims to raise awareness about critical species through his photography. Ronan’s first National Geographic magazine assignment sent him to Yellowstone National Park to photograph wolves. His work was featured in National Geographic’s May 2016 issue, which was entirely devoted to coverage of the park. More recently, he’s been on assignment photographing mountain gorillas in Rwanda and chimpanzees in Uganda. Ronan’s photographic work has been featured in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, and he has contributed cinematography to multiple PBS Nature programs. Ronan will join the Yosemite and San Francisco photo workshop.
Ruddy Roye is a Brooklyn-based portrait and documentary photographer. Inspired by the lives of grassroots people—especially those of his homeland of Jamaica—he strives to tell stories about the human condition, injustice, resilience, and compassion. Ruddy contributed to National Geographic magazine’s 2018 series on race and diversity in America, and he shot an assignment about the National Museum of African American History and Culture for the October 2016 issue. Ruddy will join the New York City photo workshop.
Salomé Buglass is a marine ecologist who is passionate about aquatic ecosystems and also deeply interested in the intersection of ecological processes, people, and sustainable development. She currently works at the Charles Darwin Foundation in the Galapagos, where she collaborates in several research projects that support the management of the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Salmoé recently received National Geographic’s Early Career Grant to lead a pioneer study exploring shallow seamounts, aka “bajos”, which are important fishing areas for the local artisanal fleet in Galapagos. Buglass believes healthy oceans and land resources are the foundation for human well-being, and her focus is to research policy-oriented solutions to counter their degradation while ensuring community-based sustainable practices. Salomé will join both departures of the Ecuadorian Amazon & Galápagos Expedition in the Galápagos.
Sarah Joseph combines her passions for travel, animals, and storytelling in her career as a wildlife filmmaker. She has journeyed across the globe to create films that spotlight the work of National Geographic grantees, covering topics that range from translocating leopards in Namibia to uncovering mummies in Peru. Sarah has taught filmmaking workshops for the Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica and the Harvard Planetary Health Scholars program. Sarah will join the Journalism and Multimedia at Nat Geo in DC university workshop.
Stephen Alvarez is an award-winning photographer and filmmaker covering stories on archaeology, exploration, culture, and adventure. He has published more than a dozen feature stories for National Geographic magazine, going on assignment in extreme places—from the highest peaks of the Andes to some of the planet’s deepest caves. His latest National Geographic story on the Origins of Art led from early human sites on the southern coast of Africa to Paleolithic art caves in France and Spain. Moved by the power of humanity’s earliest artworks, Alvarez founded the non-profit Ancient Art Archive, which is dedicated to using the photography and the newest image-based VR technology to explore, preserve and share the humanity’s oldest artworks. Stephen also explores how new photographic technology is changing our world; in 2016, he set out to photograph the seven natural wonders of the world using Microsoft smartphones. See the story here. More recently, he traveled Iceland’s Southern Coast as the National Geographic/Canon digital nomad. Stephen will join the July 15 departure of the Iceland high school expedition.
National Geographic Emerging Explorer T.H. Culhane is a professor of environmental sustainability and justice with a passion for transforming food waste into fuel and fertilizer. Culhane is co-founder and president of Solar CITIES Inc., an environmental technology organization with the goal of eliminating all waste. T.H. will join the Engineering and Robotics on the MIT Campus university workshop.
Conservation biologist Taylor Edwards is an Associate Staff Scientist at the University of Arizona Genetics Core, where he helped conduct public testing for National Geographic’s Genographic Project. Taylor specializes in reptile and amphibian studies, and he is a leading expert on tortoise genetics. At home in both deserts and rain forests, his interests have taken him to Costa Rica, China, Cameroon, and beyond. Taylor will join the group the Costa Rica middle school expedition.
National Geographic Emerging Explorer and grantee Dr. Tierney Thys is a marine biologist and filmmaker studying some of the ocean’s largest animals, including the giant ocean sunfish. She has led and participated in research expeditions worldwide from Alaska to the Galápagos, Indonesia, and Africa. Tierney works with all ages to promote ocean conservation through numerous creative means: from exploring how nature imagery impacts the brain to filmmaking to serving as a digital explorer in National Geographic’s online world, Animal Jam. She is currently working with National Geographic Emerging Explorer Tan Le to study the brain’s response to nature. Tierney will join both departures of the Hawai’i middle school expedition and the Technology and Innovation in the Silicon Valley university workshop.
Photojournalist, filmmaker, and adventurer Ulla Lohmann has sailed around the world, explored volcanoes in some of the most remote places on the planet, and traversed the African continent using only biodiesel. She spends much of her time working with indigenous cultures in Australia and the South Pacific. Based in the German Alps, she is a regular contributor to the National Geographic Channel and National Geographic magazine (France and Germany), and recently published a book about Italy’s Dolomites with National Geographic Books. Ulla will join the June 27 departure of the New Zealand expedition.
William Saturno is an anthropologist, archaeologist, and storyteller specializing in early civilizations. He has been exploring the cities and ruins of Europe—from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia—since childhood. As a National Geographic Explorer and avid student and scholar of the ancient world, he is an expert at narrating the tales of adventurers, artists, commoners, and kings to bring the past vividly to life. He has received numerous grants from the Society to support his ongoing excavations of ancient murals in Guatemala. His breakthrough discovery at San Bartolo of the oldest intact Maya murals yet found became the focus of the National Geographic magazine articles “The Sistine Chapel of the Early Maya” in December 2003 and “The Dawn of Maya Gods and Kings” in January 2006. The June 2012 issue described his recent unearthing of murals at Xultún. Bill has taught university courses that encompass major archeological and historical sites all over the world. He is equally passionate about Europe’s past and present and has taught extensively on how its modern nations continue to build upon their varied Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance foundations. William will join the Italy & Greece middle school expedition.