On Thursday, May 19, Redmond High School (RHS) students will get a chance to meet Trip Jennings, a recipient of a National Geographic Young Explorer grant, when he gives an illustrated presentation titled “Congo: Conservation Under Fire” in the school’s Performing Arts Center.
There will be two presentations — one during third period, from 9:20-10:10 a.m. and one during fifth period, from 12:15-1:05. Jennings will also conduct some visits to various classrooms.
“I am looking forward to talking to the students at Redmond High School,” said Jennings, who recently returned from the Congo in Africa. “I remember in high school wondering how I could pursue my passion for exploring nature and thinking it was next to impossible. I want to inspire the students to believe that with motivation, luck, and a willingness to think outside the box, amazing things can happen.”
In his presentation, Jennings will tell the tale of two adventures in science, conservation, and survival in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2008 Jennings led a team of whitewater kayakers on the first successful descent of the Lower Congo Rapids.
The goal of the project was to collect data for the American Museum of Natural History in New York, to help explain the unusually high biodiversity in the lower Congo River before a mega dam floods it forever.
Then, in March and April of this year, Jennings traveled deep into the Congolese jungle to complete a DNA map of African elephants. The map allows anti-poaching organizations to pinpoint source populations for illegal shipments of ivory seized around the world.
Over the course of the two expeditions in Congo, Jennings was held up by rebels with assault rifles, sucked into giant whirlpools, and shared a dugout canoe for two days with captured poachers. Each time he has made it home with data, stories, and images he hopes will help inform and inspire conservation success.
In his talk, Jennings will also address questions submitted by teachers and students at RHS. Some of the topics include the challenges of working with foreign governments, the role of journalism in conservation, forensic science and its application in the context of conservation.
The event at Redmond High School is modeled on the highly successful National Geographic Live series that has been presented locally in Seattle for 14 years.
National Geographic Live events and companion student matinees allow the general public to hear directly from National Geographic’s most experienced explorers, researchers, and photographers.
These lectures are presented to sold-out audiences at Benaroya Hall in Seattle and in other major cities across North America.
“We think this Young Explorers presentation is a great way to inspire young people to pursue their dreams and to strengthen their interest in life sciences and research,” said Rebecca Martin, Executive Director of National Geographic Society Expeditions Council and Young Explorers Grants. “There’s nothing more powerful than young people talking to young people to send the message that a career in research, conservation, and exploration is attainable.”
The Young Explorers Grants program funds “up and coming” explorers, ages 18 to 25 years old.
For more information on the RHS lecture program, contact John Stilin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (425) 922-3435. For more information on the National Geographic Young Explorers Program, contact Barbara Moffet at email@example.com or (202) 857-7756.