2018 National Geographic Explorers Festival to Convene Innovative Changemakers from Around the World: Weeklong Event Includes National Geographic Awards Honoring Internationally Renowned Botanist and Conservation Advocate Peter Raven, Planetary Scientist Carolyn Porco and Others

Today, the National Geographic Society announced this year’s Explorers Festival, a series of events that will ignite a spirit of exploration and inspire people to help change our world, to take place in Washington, D.C., June 11-18, 2018. This celebration of National Geographic’s 130 year history of investing in the work of talented explorers, scientists, educators and storytellers brings together 140 National Geographic Explorers from around the world, spanning multiple disciplines, to share how their discoveries and ideas are creating solutions for a healthier and more sustainable future.

The National Geographic Explorers Festival is proudly supported in part through the organization’s partnership with Rolex. The partnership supports explorers who are engaged in scientific research and exploration, and aims to raise awareness of the planet’s challenges, inspiring the next generation of explorers who will be seeking solutions to ensure a “perpetual planet.”

One of the hallmarks of this weeklong celebration is the annual presentation of the National Geographic Awards, which will be held on Thursday, June 14, at Lisner Auditorium on The George Washington University campus. This inspiring event honors trailblazing changemakers who are leading the charge to protect our planet for future generations. This year’s star-studded show is open to the public and will feature musical entertainment by singer-songwriter, guitarist and activist Melissa Etheridge.

Among those being honored at the ceremony is Peter Raven, internationally renowned botanist and powerful conservation advocate. He will be presented with the Hubbard Medal, National Geographic’s highest honor, which recognizes lifetime achievement in research, discovery and exploration. This prestigious award was first presented to Arctic explorer Robert E. Peary in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt, and it exemplifies National Geographic’s passionate belief in the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to change the world. Other distinguished Hubbard Medal awardees have included astronaut John Glenn, aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, marine archaeologist Bob Ballard and primatologist Jane Goodall. Last year’s recipient was astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Other innovative and inspirational individuals who are pushing boundaries and changing the world who will be honored at this year’s National Geographic Awards are:

Additional events at this year’s Explorers Festival are:


Thursday, June 14, and Friday, June 15 (Invitation Only; Watch Online via Live Stream)

Each year, some of the most innovative explorers in the world gather at National Geographic headquarters to share their discoveries, breakthroughs and inspiring stories from the field. This year’s event, hosted by award-winning journalist and science communicator Cara Santa Maria, welcomes a fascinating community of scientists, conservationists, storytellers and changemakers for two days of thought-provoking presentations.


Friday, June 15: 6PM-10PMThis event will bring together some of the world’s most celebrated explorers, scientists and changemakers for an evening takeover of the National Geographic campus featuring live music, cocktails and sustainable food. Not only will attendees be able to spend the evening with people changing the world, they will also be able to join National Geographic’s mission to create a planet in balance by significantly reducing the amount of single-use plastic used in the world.


Saturday, June 16: 9AM-4PM

This daylong event brings together National Geographic Explorers with other leading experts in science and conservation for a lively discussion about how attendees can use technology, and human ingenuity to create solutions for a more balanced future.


Sunday, June 17: 11AM-5PM

National Geographic hosts the second annual FURTHER Film Festival, showcasing the amazing work — and inspired vision — of its explorers in the field. Join the filmmakers and explorers for an inside look at the stories behind the stories.

The full schedule for this year’s Explorers Festival as well as ticket purchase information can be found here. Join the conversation on social media with #natgeofest.

About the National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a leading nonprofit that invests in bold people and transformative ideas in the fields of exploration, scientific research, storytelling and education. The Society aspires to create a community of change, advancing key insights about the planet and probing some of the most pressing scientific questions of our time, all while ensuring that the next generation is armed with geographic knowledge and global understanding. Its goal is measurable impact: furthering exploration and educating people around the world to inspire solutions for the greater good. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.org.