March 23, 2011 — A free public presentation on field research and exploration featuring John Francis, vice president of research, conservation and exploration for the National Geographic Society; National Geographic photographer and explorer Carsten Peter; and renowned alpinist and The North Face athlete Conrad Anker, will be held Saturday at the University of Virginia. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Newcomb Hall Theater.
Francis will discuss his role at National Geographic and the organization's support of exploration around the globe. Peter will recount his documentation of the dramatic and treacherous Nyiragongo Volcano in Congo and show images from his exploration of Vietnam's Hang Son Doong, one of the world's largest caves. Anker will share highlights of his 275-mile journey on foot through the remote Chang Tang to locate the birthing grounds of the highly endangered Tibetan antelope, a project undertaken with renowned adventurers Rick Ridgeway, Galen Rowell and Jimmy Chin under the direction of conservationist Dr. George Schaller.
The public presentation will follow a daylong workshop for U.Va. students on National Geographic's Young Explorers Grants program, to be held Saturday in Newcomb Hall. The Young Explorers grants support individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 in their pursuit of research, exploration and conservation-based field projects.
The workshop begins with registration and breakfast at 9:45 a.m., and is scheduled to end at 3 p.m.
It will enable those interested in pursuing Young Explorers grants to meet with recent grant recipients and National Geographic staff, explorers, conservationists and researchers. They will learn about the kinds of projects the program aims to support and will have an opportunity to discuss their ideas for field projects with National Geographic grantees and staff.
Michael "Nick" Nichols, National Geographic magazine photography editor-at-large, and elephant communication scientist Michael Garstang, a former National Geographic grantee and former U.Va. professor of environmental sciences, will take part in the workshop.
"Until starting the Young Explorers program in 2006 we tended only to fund more established researchers. We realized that, by supporting younger individuals on their first field projects, we could reach a fruitful, new sector," Francis said. "With our increasingly diverse media and growing number of Young Explorers, we hope to better fulfill our vision, which is to inspire people to care about the planet."
Saturday's workshop is hosted by U.Va. with support from the National Geographic Society, the Brinson Foundation, The North Face, Kiehl's, Lucy and Henry Billingsley and ProBar, a producer of healthy snack options.