The National Geographic Society today announced the first annual Explorers Festival, a weeklong celebration of exploration, science and innovation, to take place in Washington, D.C., June 12-18.
The culmination of the week is a star-studded event at Lisner Auditorium on The George Washington University campus honoring the explorers, scientists and storytellers who have inspired National Geographic and led the crusade to preserve the planet for future generations. Among those being honored at the ceremony is astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson, who will be presented with the Hubbard Medal, National Geographic’s highest distinction, which recognizes lifetime achievement in exploration, scientific research and discovery. Past awardees include Amelia Earhart, Matthew Alexander Henson, Jane Goodall, Bob Ballard, Meave Leakey and Nainoa Thompson, among others. Also being recognized at the ceremony is photojournalist Brian Skerry, who will be honored as the Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year.
Additional awards include the inaugural National Geographic Further Award being presented to Dr. Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the innovators behind Solar Impulse, which has created airplanes able to fly 40,000 kilometers without fuel. The Further Award recognizes leaders in exploration whose work is a call to arms, pushing well beyond the markers of progress in their field through uniquely innovative, timely and impactful work.
The annual National Geographic Society/Buffett Awards for Leadership in Conservation in Africa and Latin America will also be presented to Dr. Olivier Nsengimana, veterinarian and founder of the Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association, who designed a unique conservation project to save his country’s endangered grey crowned cranes from the illegal wildlife trade; and Colombian Rosamira Guillen, executive director of Fundación Proyecto Tití, an organization dedicated to the protection and conservation of her country’s most endangered native primate species: the cotton-top tamarin.