Featuring an incredible lineup of explorers, photographers and scientists, National Geographic Live is an audience favorite each season. This captivating series returns to the Kauffman Center in 2022 with five speakers who will share their journey of exploration, triumph and discovery through award-winning photography and videography.
Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant, Carnivore Ecologist — The Secret Life of Bears
Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.
Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant is dedicated to wildlife ecology research, but she had never taken a hike, pitched a camping tent or seen a wild animal until life took her to Kenya at age 20. While there, she studied East African lions and observed that problematic interactions between the lions and local communities threatened conservation efforts.
Now, Dr. Wynn-Grant is finding similar patterns for North American black and grizzly bears. In her work to protect and restore iconic wildlife populations, Dr. Wynn-Grant studies the movements and behaviors of the bears to find ways to improve the relationship between local communities and the powerful wildlife that surround them.
Maureen Beck, Paraclimber — Improbable Ascent
Tuesday, February 22, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.
Maureen Beck loves to prove people wrong. Born with one hand, she tried rock climbing for the first time after a camp counselor told her she could skip it. Her love of the sport was instantaneous, but there was no guide for climbing with one hand. Unfazed, she decided to figure it out for herself through trial and error.
After tackling some of the hardest climbs by a one-handed athlete and securing two world paraclimbing championships, Beck joined legendary adaptive climber Jim Ewing on a month-long expedition to make the first adaptive ascent of one of North America’s most wild towers – the Lotus Flower Tower in Canada’s Cirque of the Unclimbables. With her trademark humor and wit, this 2019 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year will share how a little creativity and a whole lot of grit and determination have propelled her to the top of her field.
Damien Mander, Conservationist — Akashinga: The Brave Ones
Tuesday, March 15, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.
Damien Mander spent his early 20s in the Royal Australian Navy, risking his life to protect others—first as a Naval clearance diver, then as a special operations sniper in an elite hostage recovery unit. But in 2009, he bought a one-way ticket to Africa for his next mission: applying military solutions to the fight against poachers.
Instead, he found himself forming the first all-female ranger unit in Zimbabwe: Akashinga (“the brave ones.”) The recruits were survivors of domestic violence, single mothers, abandoned wives and AIDS orphans. The instructors were skeptical, but the results spoke for themselves—and along the way, opinions and stereotypes were rapidly altered. Be inspired by Mander’s incredible journey from special forces to conservation, and by the tenacity of the women he’s training to protect Africa’s ecosystems.
Bob Poole, Wildlife Filmmaker — Nature Roars Back*
Tuesday, April 5, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.
A childhood in East Africa gave Emmy Award-winning cinematographer Bob Poole a fierce curiosity about the natural world as well as an adventurous spirit. For a six-part PBS/Nat Geo International series, Poole drew on that experience to document the rebirth of a lost Eden: Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park. There, he joined forces with rangers and scientists, on perhaps the biggest conservation project on the planet. He’ll share secrets of filming lions, crocs, elephants and spectacular scenery, and tell how he cracked the “Gorongosa code”—learning to read the landscape and find prime locations for filming the park’s spectacular wildlife.
Thomas Peschak, Photographer — Wild Seas, Secret Shores*
Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.
For Thomas Peschak, sharks aren’t why you get out of the water—they’re why you get in. His lifelong obsession with the ocean led him first to marine biology, specializing in the impacts of illegal fishing and kelp forest ecology. But in 2004, deciding he could have more impact with photographs than with statistics, he became an environmental photojournalist—and soon found himself paddling kayaks alongside great white sharks, swimming among hundreds of one-ton manta rays and keeping pace with massive whale sharks. Get up close and personal with the ocean’s most charismatic creatures through his award-winning images and fascinating stories.
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