As the year winds down, so does the Fall National Geographic Live programming. This fall has been packed with great programs and showcases, with still more to come. Thanks to National Geographic once again for offering two pairs of tickets to our readers, providing access to any one of the great programs listed below. To enter, simply put what two programs you’d most like to see in the comment section; make sure you use a valid email address and use your first name. Entries will be taken through Friday noon and winners will be chosen at random and contacted Friday afternoon.
Unless otherwise indicated, all programs are at the Grosvenor Auditorium, located in the National Geographic Museum building at 1600 M Street NW. Parking is free after 6 pm for those attending evening programs.
GUERRILLA GEOGRAPHY ($25)
11/13; 7 pm
Think geography is just reading maps and memorizing names of places? Don’t tell that to Daniel Raven-Ellison. A self-described “guerrilla geographer” and Nat Geo Emerging Explorer, Raven-Ellison believes in encouraging people to experience the world around them in a more meaningful, surprising way, such as taking a photo every eight steps as they travel across the urban landscape. His Mission: Explore books challenge kids to take action to improve their worlds. Come along for the adventure, as this innovative, entertaining educator redefines what you think geography is—and shows how “guerrilla” artists, explorers, gardeners, and others use geography to find solutions. Reception follows.
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REMARKABLE JOURNEY: A CONVERSATION WITH PETER MATTHIESSEN ($20)
11/14; 7:30 pm
One of the country’s most distinguished writers and thinkers, Peter Matthiessen was described by Stephen Jay Gould as “our greatest modern nature writer in the lyrical tradition.” In his extraordinarily rich life, Matthiessen has co-founded the Paris Review, been a CIA agent, become a Zen master, and won two National Book Awards for The Snow Leopard and Shadow Country.
EMPERORS OF THE ICE ($20)
11/16; 7:30 pm
Whether he’s swimming with leopard seals in Antarctica or mastering aerial shots from his ultralight plane, Paul Nicklen has made a specialty of photographing the planet’s polar regions. Growing up among the Inuit in Canada and working as a biologist in the Northwest Territories habituated him to extreme conditions. A viral phenomenon (his YouTube videos have received millions of hits); Nicklen dove beneath Antarctic ice for a feature story on emperor penguins for the November issue of National Geographic.
MEET THE PENGUINS ($16)
11/17; 1 pm
Bring your family to see captivating images of emperor penguins by Paul Nicklen, one of National Geographic’s best wildlife photographers. Nicklen specializes in photographing the world’s polar regions, and in the November National Geographic, he captured amazing images of penguins launching themselves at high speed through holes in the sea ice.
RETURN TO PITCARIN ISLAND ($20)
11/26; 7:30 pm
Voyage to the other side of the globe with Nat Geo Explorers-in-Residence Dr. Enric Sala and Michael Fay. Last spring, they explored the remote islands in the Pitcairn Archipelago, made famous by the H.M.S. Bounty mutineers. Sala’s marine team conducted 384 dives, spending 450 person-hours underwater. They discovered pristine reefs formed by pale blue rose-like corals and watched schools of sharks moving elegantly, like synchronized swimmers. Mike Fay walked the islands, meanwhile, cataloging wildlife and trading stories with the small community of Pitcairners who make the far-flung South Pacific their home.
DESERT AIR: THE WORLD’S DESERTS FROM ABOVE ($20)
11/27; 7:30 pm
Take a high-flying aerial adventure over the most remote and inhospitable places on Earth with George Steinmetz, one of National Geographic’s top expedition photographers. Inspired by a walk across the Sahara, Steinmetz wanted to see more. He taught himself to fly a motorized paraglider, then mastered the art of capturing stunning photos from above. Featured in a Nat Geo Museum exhibition, this daring aerial photographer will share stories and images of vast and surreal landscapes.
BETWEEN RISE AND FALL: THE ART OF MAYA CIVILIZATION ($20)
11/29; 7:30 pm
Hear a vivid, irresistible tale of royal intrigue, backstabbing, and war. For more than a decade, archaeologist William Saturno has sought clues to the mysteries of the Maya, making important discoveries, including the spectacular murals of San Bartolo. In the sprawling complex of Xultun, he found calculations of the Maya calendar showing that—contrary to popular belief—the Maya believed the world would continue well past 2012.
LOCUST SWARMS AND OZONE HOLES ($20)
11/30; 7 pm
How can pure science make an impact on public policy? Mario Molina shared the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for work that led to a treaty banning the production of chemicals harming the ozone layer. Behavioral ecologist and biologist Iain Couzin, a Nat Geo Emerging Explorer, studies collective behavior from locust swarms to schools of fish to human crowds. In counterpoint with moderator Boyd Matson, they will discuss how their work may help solve real-life problems. Reception follows.
KITE SKIING THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE ($20)
12/6; 7:30 pm
Eric and Sarah McNair-Landry—an adventurous brother-sister team from Baffin Island grew up with the Arctic Ocean and sled dogs in their backyard. Both have trekked across the polar regions since they were teens. Last year, on a Nat Geo Young Explorers grant, the two kite-skied over two thousand miles through Canada’s arctic archipelago, fending off polar bears and coping with unfavorable winds and rugged ice along the way.
WHAT MAKES A SOCIETY SUCCESSFUL: A LOOK AT HUMAN AND CHIMPANZEE COMMUNITIES ($22)
12/11; 7 pm
How can humans and chimpanzees use cognition to improve their societies? Two thinkers will share insights into how humans and chimps share information, resolve conflicts, and build social groups. Roger Myerson, 2007 Nobel Laureate in Economic Science, developed a theory, which could help humans build better social structures. Biological anthropologist Jill Pruetz, Nat Geo Emerging Explorer, advanced primatology by proving chimps in Senegal fashion hunting tools. Boyd Matson moderates. Reception follows.
CHEETAHS: SURVIVORS ON THE RUN ($20)
Acclaimed photographer Frans Lanting recently documented surviving cheetah populations in Africa and Asia, including “supermoms” raising litters on the run. He and filmmaker Christine Eckstrom will show images and video of these beautiful creatures. Then cinematographer Gregory J. Wilson, who took high-speed images of cheetahs in action, will share the cutting-edge technology of this new technique, which expands our understanding of cheetah bio-mechanics.
IRISH CHRISTMAS IN AMERICA ($30)
12/15; 3 and 7 pm
This holiday, bask in warmth, humor, and dazzling music, singing, and dancing—all hallmarks of our Irish Christmas concert. Bridging the Old and New Worlds, this popular annual event returns for its 7th season at Nat Geo, featuring a stellar lineup of traditional musicians. Welcome first-time guests Aaron Jones of Old Blind Dogs—adding Scottish flavor to the lineup—and Shannon Lambert-Ryan, leader of the Philly-based Celtic group Runa.