Hi, this is Casey from Team Australia. I can’t believe it’s already been three years since our trip Down Under! Anyhow, I was at the Explorer’s Symposium on June 21st, and I would like to tell you about it. I arrived a little early after a two hour drive from West Virginia, which gave me a little time to explore the garden behind the National Geographic building. It was filled with a large variety of beautiful plants, which all of the birds seemed to enjoy.
The reception started at 5:00 pm, so I had an hour to talk to the other kids from the trips to the Galapagos, South Africa, and Peru, and some of the National Geographic staff who I hadn’t seen for two years. I also enjoyed the excellent food they served from different cultures. At 6:00, two Buffett Awards were presented to Moi Enomenga and Paula Kahumbu for their role in Latin-American and African conservation, respectively. Moi, a native Ecuadorian from the Huaorani tribe was given the Buffet Award for helping to build the Huaorani Ecolodge, which helps to collect funds for the Huaorani and promotes environmental conservation. Paula is a Kenyan Emerging Explorer for National Geographic who has played a fundamental role in African wildlife conservation, such as leading the fight to ban a pesticide that is killing many of Africa’s endangered wildlife including lions and hyenas.
A panel discussion called “Stories of Exploration”, moderated by Boyd
Matson, followed the Buffet Awards. The panel featured an
Explorer-in-Residence, two Emerging Explorers, and one National
Geographic Fellow. Dr. Sylvia Earle, a marine biologist and
oceanographer, spoke about her experiences in a submersible suit,
describing the bioluminescent jungle of life she observed on the ocean
floor. Matthias Klum, a photographer, documents and photographs
stunning scenes in some of the most beautiful, but sometimes tragic,
places on Earth. An example of this is a stunning photo, which shows
the sad story of a rapidly receding Icelandic glacier. Paula Kahumbu,
who also received a Buffet Award, spoke about WildlifeDirect, an
internet-based program that allows people to support rangers and
wildlife conservationists in the field. Kevin Hand studies life in
extreme habitats on Earth, to evaluate the possibility of
extraterrestrial life in places such as the massive ocean on Europa,
one of Jupiter’s moons.
Attending the Symposium was a great
experience, I learned a lot about how lots of people are exploring our
world and protecting its animals and their habitats. I felt honored to
be considered a part of the “National Geographic family” that helps
educate the public about nature and how to protect it. To quote Dr.
Sylvia Earle, “Nature is not optional.”