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2017 National Geographic Live Speaker Series

Terry Virts - View From Above - Wednesday Sept 13th at 7 pm
Sometimes, a little distance is all you need to see things in a brand new way. For 
astronaut Terry Virts, his newfound perspective was from the International Space 
Station (ISS), where he installed the Cupola module, granting an unprecedented 360-
degree view from the station. When he later became the commander of the ISS, he 
made good use of the Cupola, taking more photographs than any astronaut who came 
before him. Many of those images were later used in the National Geographic book View
From Above and IMAX film A Beautiful Planet,but to hear Virts tell it, no photo can 
capture the perfect shade of blue from a sunrise viewed from outer space.

Anand Varma - Beauty and the Bizarre - Wednesday Oct 11th at 7 pm

He grew up exploring the streams and wooded lots near his childhood home in Atlanta, Georgia. As a teenager, he picked up his dad’s old camera on a whim and found that he could use it to feed his curiosity about the natural world—and to share my adventures and discoveries with others. He graduated with a degree in integrative biology from UC Berkeley and now help biologists communicate their research through photographs. His work tells the story behind the science on everything from primate behavior and hummingbird biomechanics to amphibian diseases and mangrove forests.

Since 2006, he has assisted David Liittschwager, Christian Ziegler, Joel Sartore, and Tim Laman on 13 articles for National Geographic. In 2010, He was awarded a Young Explorer Grant from the National Geographic Society to photograph the wetlands of northern Patagonia. Since then, he has photographed two feature stories for National Geographic. His first story, “Mindsuckers,”appears on the November 2014 cover.

Cristina Mittermeier, Standing at the Water's Edge - Wednesday Nov 8th at 7 pm
Cristina is a Mexican-born marine biologist and photographer who specializes in conservation issues. As a writer and a photographer for the past 25 years, her work centers on the delicate balance between human well-being and healthy ecosystems. As a writer and series editor of her own publishing company, Earth inFocus editions, Cristina has produced 24 stunning coffee-table books on conservation issues and her work has been published in prestigious scientific publications including Science and Nature as well as in more popular publications and magazines, including National Geographic. She is the founder and former president of the International League of Conservation Photographers ILCP) and was recently recognized as one of the World’s top 40 Most influential Outdoor Photographers by Outdoor Magazine and is the recipient of the 2011 Nature's Best/Smithsonian Conservation Photographer of the Year award and the North American Nature Photographers Association 2010 Mission Award. She is also the 2016 recipient of the Imaging Alliance "Photographers who Give Back” Award. 

Cristina is one of Sony, Artisans of Imagery, she sits on the board of the WILD Foundation, and is part of Conservation International's Chairman’s Council. 

As a public speaker she has given presentations in forums ranging from the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to the TEDx stage. Cristina is the founder and President of SeaLegacy, a non profit organization dedicated to furthering the cause of ocean conservation through visual storytelling and photography.

Hilaree O'Neill - Point of No Return - Wednesday Dec 6th at 7 pm
In the fall of 2014, a five-person team from National Geographic set out on an
ambitious trek to summit an obscure Burmese peak, Hkakabo Razi, and
determine once and for all if it is Southeast Asia’s highest point. What unfolded
was a harrowing expedition that pushed the group to the brink mentally and
physically and carved them down to nothing. Led by mountaineer Hilaree O’Neill,
the team encountered one pitfall after another: interminable overland train rides,
sketchy motorcycle trips in the rain, hellish jungle slogs, dwindling food supplies,
logistical failures, howling winds, false summits, hypothermia, perilous
gendarmes and — perhaps the most threatening of all — personality clashes that
threatened to unravel the expedition. Down to Nothing is a searing story about
the motives that drive people to tackle the insurmountable, the suffering they’ll
endure for the sake of their dreams and the cracks that can appear in even the
best laid plans.