Last weekend, the Society welcomed over 350 enthusiastic and dedicated delegates, speakers and exhibitors to Explore 2019 – the annual expedition and field research weekend, where geographers, field researchers and explorers come together to plan, network and be inspired to conduct scientific expeditions, conservation projects and travel with purpose.
Motivational talks, advice desks and skills workshops were held throughout the weekend, covering everything from logistics, safety and how to develop and design research projects, to how to share these journeys creatively, through words, images, films and art.
Highlights included students Rosalie Wright and Matthew Jones, who returned to the Society to report on their 2018 expedition: Usun Apau Retraced. Following in the footsteps of the Oxford University expedition to the same region 64 years ago, they were joined in the field by three conservation students from the University of Nottingham, Malaysia and described how they visited the biologically unexplored rainforest region in Borneo – a region that even Google Maps didn’t have data for – to study, raise awareness of, and ultimately help conserve the area’s rich bioiversity which is under threat from deforestation.
On Sunday, in a project supported by the Society’s Fieldwork Apprentice Grants, Heather Needham spoke in the Ondaatje Theatre about how she helped academics from Kings College London install FreeStations (low cost environmental sensors made from up-cycled washing machine parts) in a cloud forest of the Colombian Andes.
The weekend also saw the premiere of two films: Voices on the Road, a documentary by multimedia journalists Bethan John and Eilidh Munro about the impact of infrastructure development on protected areas and Indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon, and The Great Green Hope made by journalist and filmmaker Reza Pakravan, who travelled across Africa from west to east to document the impact of climate change on the Indigenous people living in the Sahelian belt. Both projects had received funding from grants donated by Neville Shulman who was in the audience.
Thank you to Explore’s Chair, Paul Rose, as well as the many speakers, exhibitors, panelists and volunteers who supported the event. If you participated in the weekend and would like to stay connected to the Explore community, consider becoming a Fellow or member to make use of our extensive resources, lectures and events.
This month’s issue of Geographical explores the divisive legacy of Captain James Cook.
Before his UK tour of our regional theatre venues gets underway, we caught up with filmmaker and author Reza Pakravan to discuss his love of travel, his visit to the Sahel and the issue of desertification.
Applications for our Geography Teacher Training Scholarships for those planning to start their teacher training course in September 2020 are now open.
From 2020, the Peter Smith Award of £1,000 will be awarded biannually as part of our Geographical Fieldwork Grants.
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