All speakers will address their work with citizen science and education.
John Francis, PhD, recently retired from the National Geographic Society, where he was Vice President for Research, Conservation, and Exploration. He directed the Society’s grant-making programs around the world as well as its sustainable tourism efforts. A marine biologist and National Geographic grantee, John began his career studying seals and sea lions on remote islands in North and South America. A film on his work led to his role as a producer of wildlife films, covering everything from chimps and tigers to whales and sharks. He also helped to develop National Geographic’s BioBlitz programs, including a ten year partnership with the US National Park Service culminating in a nationwide Centennial event. Now retired, he continues to serve on NGS, NPS, and other advisory boards and travels worldwide furthering National Geographic’s global research and conservation efforts.
Jason Grant, PhD, is curator of the herbarium at the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. His primary research focuses on the systematics, speciation, biogeography, and natural history of North and South American plants using macro and micro-morphology and molecular techniques, though he also studies the plant taxonomy of Western Switzerland. In October 2016 he brought a large group of university students to Leysin to participate in our LETS Study (Local Environmental Transect Survey), where his students conducted a bioblitz of species on our mountain.
Chris McOwen, PhD, works in the Marine team at the United Nations Environment Programme–World Conservation Monitoring Centre, better known as UNEP-WCMC, and is affiliated to the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge. His PhD work included developing models capable of predicting the extinction risk of plant species yet to be assessed under criteria for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). He currently researches marine capture fisheries, specifically the drivers of fisheries production so that future fisheries can be predicted and marine ecosystems exploited sustainably. He also works on building public awareness of the state of the world’s oceans.
Alys Mendus, a PhD candidate at the University of Hull, UK, has been traveling the world in search of “ideal schools”. She’s been inside more than 70 different schools in 18 countries. These have included international boarding schools, refugee schools in Greece, progressive schools in the United states, a Steiner Waldorf school in Siberia, forest schools in Scandinavia, democratic schools in Australia, environment- and sustainability-focused schools in Indonesia, and state funded schools in the UK that are trying to incorporate alternative pedagogies into mainstream schools.