NatGeo and UM join forces to tackle social and environmental issues

Photograph by Carlton Ward, Jr. Courtesy National Geographic

By Janette Neuwahl Tannen

Photograph by Carlton Ward, Jr. Courtesy National Geographic

NatGeo and UM join forces to tackle social and environmental issues

By Janette Neuwahl Tannen
The global exploration, media, and education company will kick off a national campaign at UM to offer college students a unique two-day campus experience.

Explore and photograph the Florida Wildlife Corridor, a conservation area for endangered Florida panthers, with one of their most ardent champions, National Geographic Explorer Carlton Ward Jr.

Hear about the adventures of University of Miami alumna and National Geographic Explorer Mireya Mayor, who discovered the mouse lemur in Madagascar and inspired the African island to create its first national park to protect the native species.

Or delve into a conversation about what Florida may look like in 2100 with National Geographic explorers and local experts working to protect Miami’s waterways and coastline.

These are just a few experiences that UM students can take advantage of during the first National Geographic On Campus program, set to begin on Friday, Nov. 9 and continue through Saturday, Nov. 10. The interactive program, developed through a partnership between UM and National Geographic, will connect students to National Geographic’s worldwide community of scientists, journalists, educators, and explorers. The two-day event will take place at the Donna E. Shalala Student Center, but some workshops will take students off campus Saturday.

“The idea is to try to expose younger people to the many different aspects of National Geographic,” said environmental anthropologist and Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science Professor Kenny Broad, who also received the 2011 National Geographic Explorer of the Year Award. “It’s not just about animal conservation—they are also trying to address human rights, gender related issues, environmental justice, and a host of human environmental challenges. They have moved away from just describing far away distant places and are trying to involve the next generation of storytellers and scientists.”

Professor Kenny Broad on a cavediving expedition
Professor Kenny Broad on a cavediving expedition.

Starting Nov. 9, students, faculty, and staff will be able to explore solutions to the critical issues facing the planet and its citizens during the “World Without Borders” Science and Storytelling Symposium. Speakers and panel moderators will include National Geographic Explorers, local thought leaders, and UM faculty such as Broad, who is also director of the Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy; History Associate Professor Robin Bachin, assistant provost for Civic and Community Engagement; and School of Communication Professor Sanjeev Chatterjee, to name a few. Then, on Saturday, Nov. 10, students who apply will be able to attend hands-on National Geographic-led workshops to enrich what they are learning in the classroom. All of these events are free of charge to the UM community, but students must register in advance and apply for the Saturday workshops. 

Provost Jeffrey L. Duerk said the university is thrilled about the opportunity. 

“National Geographic is one of the most interdisciplinary organizations in the world, with foci in science, communication, policy, research, technology, and advocacy,” Duerk said. “As a university that itself is interdisciplinary and aspires to do even better in this area, the partnership and synergies are a natural. It affords us access to experts, expands our networks, opens our horizons and provides new opportunities for collaboration.”

Throughout the event, National Geographic will also provide information about projects and grant programs open to young explorers in a variety of disciplines. 

All students, regardless of their field of study, are encouraged to register for the symposium since space is limited. More information about registration and the full schedule of events can be found on: www.miami.edu/natgeo