Fulbright National Geographic Stories

Lately, the news about immigrant children have been bleak. The stories have been controversial, heartbreaking, and deeply disturbing. When one story, a story about immigrant children being lost by the US government, proved to be untrue, there was a moment of hope: perhaps all the horrors along the US-Mexico border that we had heard of…

Human Journey

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I drove through Punakaiki recently. Once a year this west coast town holds a festival to welcome the Westland petrel back home to New Zealand after its annual sojourn to South American waters. Amid a weekend of music and revelry, festival-goers gather on the beach at sunset to watch thousands of large black seabirds assemble…

Wildlife

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Los insectos generalmente no son muy atractivos a los ojos de muchos, fuera de las coloridas y “carismáticas” mariposas y escarabajos. ¿Cómo mostrar a las moscas y “gusanos” de una manera interesante y atractiva? El secreto está en exponer las vidas secretas de los insectos. ¿Sabías que puedes usar “gusanos” para ver si el agua del río es buena…

Changing Planet, Human Journey, Wildlife

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  Insects are not generally appealing to most, outside the “charismatic” colorful butterflies and beetles. How can flies and “maggots” be presented in an interesting and appealing way? The secret lies in exposing the insects’ secret lives. Did you know that you can use “maggots” to see if the water from a stream is good to…

Changing Planet, Human Journey, Wildlife

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“Life always changes. If you don’t accept the changes, what are you going to do? You’re going to suffer.” “But what do you expect? No one ever promised us that life was going to be easy.” “Well, that’s life: you turn around and see what happens.”   These are the voices of the very elderly…

Human Journey

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The fourth annual World Seabird Twitter Conference took place over this past week, with seabird researchers all over the globe chiming in around the clock for three days straight. You don’t need a Twitter account to peruse the presentations: #WSTC4. I had a 15-minute slot to “present” and answer questions about my own tweets:   I’m…

Wildlife

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(Patagonia’s Untold Stories)   Scraping sand grains and pebbles for nutrients, it has wandered the river bed for ten months.  After hiding from predators under submerged rocks it is time to leave the safety of the river behind. Among the rarest species of insects in the world, Araucoderus gloriosus belongs to one of four primitive crane…

Changing Planet, Wildlife

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When the United States Embassy in New Zealand asks if you’ll do an Earth Day post about impacts of mismanaged waste on the global environment—with a focus on seabirds—what do you do? Quick, call Lilly Sedaghat and Steph Borrelle! Sedaghat is one of my four fellow Fellows (2017-2018 Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellows, that is), currently studying waste…

Changing Planet

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In the far north of New Zealand lie the rugged Poor Knights Islands, off-limits to terrestrial tourism, but surrounded by a stunning marine reserve containing one of Jacques Cousteau’s top ten dive sites. Why are these prismatic waters so rich with life? One likely factor is the abundance of seabirds that breed here, bringing nutrients they’ve…

Wildlife

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Coffee is a powerful force in human history – it unites people, transcends cultures, and kindles the imagination. A cup of coffee is a cup of inspiration. For centuries, coffee has been used as a tool to invigorate the mind and inflame creativity. As a result, coffee and art are closely linked. Although they seem…

Human Journey

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Recycling is a complicated system dictated by market demand, price determinations, local regulations, the success of which is contingent upon everyone, from the product-designer, to the trash-thrower, to the waste collector, to the recycling factory worker.

We consumers play a much more critical role than we might imagine– depending on how we use our products and in what shape we throw them away, determines their value and quality post-use….

Changing Planet, Human Journey

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(Patagonia’s Untold Stories) While packrafting the southeastern edge of the Northern Patagonia Ice Field along Chile’s largest river, the Baker, in search of primitive crane flies, Anand Varma and I came across an exciting find. In a fragmented location only accessible via water, among a lichened-covered forest, we discovered a single wing of the genus…

Changing Planet, Wildlife

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It’s well past midnight on Little Barrier Island, called Hauturu in Māori—”resting place of the wind.” Six of us have been lying on our backs in the wet grass since nightfall, squinting through the spatter of raindrops on our faces. A giant inverted triangle of light looms above the forest clearing, blurred by mist and…

Wildlife

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This past week in Kyrgyzstan, two holidays were celebrated: Ak Kalpak Day and International Women’s Day. How are these two holidays connected? Well, they’re not, but both got me thinking about the role head-coverings play in how both men and women in Kyrgyzstan express their cultural and religious identities. Kyrgyz culture is one that wears…

Human Journey

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