National Geo: Calling all Young Explorers

Posted on Tuesday, September 25, 2012

National Geographic Emerging Explorer and ecological anthropologist Kenny Broad, seen here exploring the legendary Bahamas Blue Holes, will be one of the featured speakers at a public presentation on field research and exploration at in the Leacock Building Saturday evening. The event will be preceded by a daylong workshop for McGill students on National Geographic’s Young Explorers Grants program./ Photo: Wes C. Skiles

Grant program workshop and research and exploration presentation come to McGill

By McGill Reporter Staff

A free public presentation on field research and exploration featuring National Geographic Emerging Explorer and ecological anthropologist Kenny Broad and renowned alpinist and The North Face athlete Conrad Anker will be held at McGill on Saturday, Sept. 29. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Leacock Room 132 on the downtown campus.

The public presentation will follow a daylong workshop for McGill students on National Geographic’s Young Explorers Grants program. The Young Explorers grants support aspiring scientists and researchers between the ages of 18 and 25 in their pursuit of research-, exploration- and conservation-based field projects. The workshop will enable students interested in pursuing Young Explorers grants to meet with recent grant recipients as well as National Geographic staff, explorers, conservationists and researchers. They will learn about the types of projects the grant program supports and will have an opportunity to pitch ideas for field projects to National Geographic grantees and staff.

“The Young Explorers program is a unique way for young scientists and explorers to take steps into field research. It’s their first shot, and we take a risk on them that has really paid off. We realized that, by supporting younger individuals on their first field projects, we could reach a new sector and new generation of scientists,” said John Francis, vice president of research, conservation and exploration at the National Geographic Society. “Our growing number of Young Explorers is helping National Geographic better fulfill our mission, which is to inspire people to care about the planet.”

“For anyone interested in exploration, research, or conservation, this workshop is exactly what you need to help you get started,” said Colin Chapman, a Biology and Anthropology professor at McGill and a member of National Geographic’s Committee of Research and Exploration.

Andrea Reid, one of Chapman’s former undergraduate students, received a Young Explorers Grant in 2011. The Grant has allowed Reid, whose research interests include tropical conservation, aquatic ecology and evolutionary biology, to pursue her field work in the wetlands of the Lake Victoria basin in East Africa, where she studies how some native fishes co-exist with a massive introduced predator, the Nile perch, while others have been driven to extinction. The $4,800 she received funded two months of field research, covering airfare, equipment, and salaries for two Ugandan field assistants.

“Getting a YEG provided financial support for my research expedition, but more importantly it has given me the opportunity to share my research and experiences with a larger and broader audience than I would have reached otherwise,” said Reid, who is now pursuing a Master’s in Biology at McGill.

Indeed, all National Geographic requires in return are short reports from the field and a description of how the funds were used. They also are interested in grantees’ photos, videos and recordings from the field as potential material for their various media (TV, web, magazine) or workshops, said Reid, one of three McGill students to receive a Young Explorers Grant so far.

The Young Explorers workshop is hosted by McGill with support from the National Geographic Society, Lucy and Henry Billingsley, Panasonic, the Brinson Foundation and The North Face. It begins at 8:45 a.m.

During the public presentation, Conrad Anker, an accomplished alpinist and a key member of the search team that located the remains of legendary British climber George Mallory on Mount Everest, will share highlights from his most recent expedition of Everest, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first successful American summit of the mountain.

Kenny Broad, who has a long history of diving and producing documentary films, and was named one of National Geographic’s Explorers of the Year in 2011, will recount his recent expedition to one of the most challenging and spectacular frontiers in exploration – the Bahamas Blue Holes.

The presentation gets underway at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7.

For more information on National Geographic’s Young Explorers Grants program, visit www.nationalgeographic.com/field/grants-programs/young-explorers/.

To register for the workshop, go to www.nationalgeographic.com/explorers/grants-programs/yeg-workshop/.

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