01 | New Publication this January 2024
THE LEATHERBACK GUARDIANS
In Panama, conservationists are tracking endangered turtles — and fighting for their legal rights
The members of the Leatherback Project are nursing warm Cokes and thin coffee at a military base on the edge of Panama City. Nearby, four Panamanian air force mechanics are silhouettes against a sunlit green backdrop of jungle as they huddle around a tiny camouflage-painted Cessna. It is unclear when the little plane last flew, but it is definitely not ready for takeoff. The team’s departure hour on that plane has been a moving target all morning, and now it’s creeping into afternoon. They might not get down to the Indigenous village of Armila, near the Panama-Colombia border, before dark. Nighttime is when female leatherback turtles crawl out of a Caribbean current that is often too strong for human swimmers and lay the eggs of the next generation of their dwindling species.
Read more here.
02 | Featured Assignment
POLAR BEARS ON THE EDGE
Encounters with climate change in the Arctic
On the bay this fall morning, there’s a wind-carved rim of ice and a gathering of floes. One male polar bear, bony after a season without seal blubber, struggles along the slushy edge, haunches soaked, nearly slipping into the sea.
We are on Gordon Point, in northern Manitoba, where Hudson Bay widens into its northwest crescent. Polar winds make it colder than at comparable latitudes, and the shallow waters of the bay freeze early. Having passed the summer months in the subarctic wild of Wapusk National Park to the south, polar bears now congregate here, waiting for the ice to come in.
03 | Research Highlight
OUR SHARED HOME: REDEFINING ENVIRONMENTAL DISCOURSE
Funds provided by the National Geographic Society
The language we use to describe wildlife and wild places matters. It shapes how we understand wildlife, our relationship to wildlife, and our sense of responsibility to conserve threatened places. Yet the words we most often use — “environment,” “habitat,” and even “nature” — may act as barriers to public support for conservation efforts, in part because they increase the perceived distance and difference between humans and wildlife. Changing such perceptions by replacing the above terms with the deeply relatable and human concept of “home” may be one path towards greater public support for conservation of wild places. Or, are traditional terms still more effective?
Seeking graduate school opportunities? Consider the Trent School of the Environment and get involved in this research. Please contact National Geographic Explorer Neil Ever Osborne at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
04 | Education News
NEW PROGRAM OFFERING AT TRENT UNIVERSITY
Help tell solution stories to tackle the greatest challenge of our time: Climate change
Stories are the way people make sense of the world. And we have reached a moment in history when there are innumerable stories to tell about climate change and its impact on people and the planet.
Yet, we need more storytellers.
Leveraging Trent’s academic and research strengths in arts-based and environmental education, this new program offering in Climate Communication blends courses across disciplines to teach you a new storytelling approach that examines how to better understand media’s effect on audiences’ morals, values, and behaviours.
Equipped with this knowledge, this new offering at Trent University aims to use more effective climate change communications and visual storytelling to foster a more sustainable and equitable world where our collective well-being is at the heart.
For more information on this exciting new educational experience, please contact National Geographic Explorer Neil Ever Osborne at email@example.com.
04 | Follow NEO on Instagram at @neileverosborne