Montana State University

National Geographic explorers speak Feb. 11 at MSU

January 20, 2012

Michael Fay and his Pygmy guides and porters prepare to cross the Ivindo River near Kongou Falls. Fay will be one of three prominent explorers to speak at a free Feb. 11 lecture at MSU sponsored by National Geographic. National Geographic will also conduct a free daylong workshop Feb. 11 at MSU for students wishing to learn more about National Geographic's Young Explorers Grants program, Photo by Michael Nichols © National Geographic    High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
A free public National Geographic Society presentation about field research and exploration featuring three of country's most prominent explorers is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at Strand Union Building Ballrooms on the campus of Montana State University.

John Francis, National Geographic Society vice president of research, conservation and exploration; Mike Fay, Wildlife Conservation Society conservationist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and Conrad Anker, renowned alpinist and The North Face athlete, will speak about their experiences.

Francis will discuss his role at National Geographic and the organization's support of exploration around the globe.

Fay will share highlights from his 1,800-mile trek through the entire redwoods range and his current work on resource use and ecosystem balance in Alaska and British Columbia.

Anker will recount his 275-mile journey on foot through the remote Chang Tang to witness births of the elusive Tibetan antelope at their high-altitude calving grounds.

The public presentation will follow a daylong workshop for MSU students on National Geographic's Young Explorers Grants program, to be held in Gaines Hall from 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 11.

The Young Explorers grants support aspiring scientists and researchers between the ages of 18 and 25 in their pursuit of research, exploration and conservation-based field projects. The workshop will enable students interested in pursuing Young Explorers grants to meet with recent grant recipients as well as National Geographic staff, explorers, conservationists and researchers. They will learn about the types of projects the grant program supports and will have an opportunity to pitch ideas for field projects to National Geographic grantees and staff.

"The Young Explorers program is a wonderful way for these individuals to make their first foray into research. It's their first shot, and we take a risk on them that has really paid off," Francis said. "We realized that, by supporting younger individuals on their first field projects, we could reach a new sector and new generation of scientists.

"With our increasingly diverse media and growing number of Young Explorers, National Geographic has a great, growing grant program that is helping us better fulfill our mission to inspire people to care about the planet."

The MSU workshop is free, but students must apply in advance at the MSU Leadership Institute's webpage: More information about the National Geographic's Young Explorers Grants program can be found at:

The Feb. 11 workshop is hosted by MSU with support from the National Geographic Society, the Brinson Foundation, The North Face and Lucy and Henry Billingsley.

"Montana State University is thrilled to be hosting National Geographic, the Young Explorers Grants Program Workshop and three outstanding speakers of such high caliber," said Carmen McSpadden, director of the MSU Leadership Institute, one of the campus sponsors.

Other campus sponsors include the MSU Office of the President, Office of the Provost, ASMSU, MSU Leadership Institute, Department of Earth Sciences, University College and ASMSU Sustainability Center.

Kelsey Flora, National Geographic,, (202) 828-8023 or Carmen McSpadden, MSU Leadership Institute,, (406) 994-7275