National Geographic Society Board of Trustees Endorses More Than $3 Million in Latest Round of Grant Funding: Awardees represent 27 countries, including Paraguay, Kenya, Israel and Sri Lanka

At its most recent meeting, theNational Geographic Society board of trustees endorsed more than $3 million in grant funding, further strengthening the Society’s investment in the best in science, exploration, conservation, storytelling, education and technology. The 89 approved grants, the first of the 2018 funding cycle, will help address some of the most critical issues facing our world and ensure a healthier, more sustainable future for generations to come.

Applications approved by the board include grants to unravel the details of the longest migration on Earth; record the interplay between a warming global ocean and rapid glacier retreats; and assist disabled American military veterans in their transition to civilian life through participation in archaeological excavations.

The Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration reviewed and recommended the grants for funding. Fifty-two percent of the grant recipients hail from outside of the United States and represent 27 countries, including Australia, Bhutan, France, Germany, India, Israel, Kenya, Mexico, Paraguay, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

For 130 years, the National Geographic Society has been pushing boundaries to explore and document our world, supporting more than 13,000 grant projects along the way. From Hiram Bingham’s exploration of Machu Picchu to Jane Goodall’s chimpanzee behavioral research and, more recently, Lee Berger’s discovery of a new species of human ancestor in South Africa, the Society has long been committed to investing in bold people and transformative ideas and sharing these stories with the world.

Individuals interested in applying for a grant are encouraged to visit to learn more.

Grant Recipients of Note:

Ther W. Aung

Searching for Clean Air and Sustainable Energy Transitions in Yangon

This project will help bring clarity, and ultimately provide solutions, to growing urban problems of today and the future. Ther Aung, trained in both anthropology and public health in the United States, will bring her expertise to her home city—Yangon, Myanmar—and its growing peri-urban regions, where she will set up facilities to monitor air pollution inside homes and in the urban outdoors. Her work will document and help us better understand how rapid urbanization is affecting quality of life in Southeast Asia. Ultimately, her goal is to educate and empower future leaders of Myanmar to mitigate their growing pollution problems by understanding its dangers, and facilitating the implementation of sustainable energy choices for individual homes and city-wide.

Anthony Cummings

Resolving Human-Jaguar Conflict

This project seeks to reduce human-jaguar conflict in Guyana, while identifying situations and areas within the country’s borders where cases of trafficking in jaguars emanate. Over the past decade or so, an estimated 200 jaguars have been killed in interactions with humans, including reported cases of Chinese immigrants attempting to find jaguar meat for consumption. Through educational outreach activities aimed at presenting conflict resolution measures specific to Guyana, this project aims to reduce the number of jaguars killed by 50 percent. In addition, project members aim to track and document incidents of trafficking of jaguars in Guyana and Suriname while in the field. The project will bring together and engage all stakeholder groups, including cattle and livestock farmers, gold miners and national-level agency representatives involved in human-big cat conflict, to develop ways to deal with human-jaguar conflict across Guyana and provide insights into developing policy for dealing with jaguar trafficking.

Stephen Humphreys

Employing American Veterans at Archaeological Sites

The American Veterans Archaeological Recovery (AVAR) program assists disabled American military veterans in their transition to civilian life through participation in archaeological excavations. Many veterans struggle due to the absence of structure, group cohesion, individual responsibility and shared objectives, all of which are inherent to archaeological fieldwork. AVAR emphasizes these similarities to ease veterans into a civilian context while teaching transferable technical skills. AVAR is the first organization to employ peer-to-peer counseling techniques to enhance the social cohesion resulting from archaeological excavation and to attempt to assess wellness benefits through a web-based survey tool. During this first dig, AVAR will place serving soldiers and local veterans on an excavation of the most significant site for the study of the 18th- to 19th-century Shaker community at a settlement at Mount Lebanon, New York.

Erin Pettit

Listening to the Interplay between a Warming Global Ocean and Rapid Glacier Melting

Calving edges of tidewater glaciers are among the most dangerous places on Earth, on a par with active volcanoes. Because of this, almost no direct measurements have been made at these ice cliffs, despite the issue that interactions between melting ice and warming ocean are one of the most important components in climate change prediction. The team will use new remotely operated vehicle technology to listen to, and record, the complex interactions between the cold freshwater released from beneath the glacier and the warm, salty ocean water, which are causing rapid glacier retreat and sea level rise worldwide. Two young women with strong science backgrounds will join the team as scientific field assistants and media storytellers.

Yossi Yovel

Developing the Smallest GPS Tracker in the World to Study Bat Migration

After more than 100 years of research, we are still far from understanding how small aviators such as birds and bats navigate over thousands of kilometers or how butterflies find their way to the same breeding site year after year. Migrating bats are especially small, and therefore their migratory routes have not been able to be tracked with GPS accuracy. By the end of the project, this team aims to produce the lightest high-throughput GPS tracker in the world, which will weigh less than 1 gram and will be deployed on three migratory bat species in order to describe bat migration routes with GPS precision for the first time. The team also plans to make its device open for wide scientific (and public) use, allowing new opportunities to track small animals to study their migration and behavior in the wild.


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