National Geographic Picks 14 Future Edmund Hillarys, Jacques Cousteaus, and Dian Fosseys

cagan sekercioglu tracking birds costa rica photo

'Emerging Explorer' Çağan Şekercioğlu radio-tracking birds in Costa Rica. Photo: Kuzey Doğa.

They work in Cambodia, South Central Los Angeles, and East Africa, online and in the ocean. They chase after rare birds and insects, develop solar irrigation systems and eco-friendly composting toilets. All, though, are "making a significant contribution to world knowledge through exploration while still early in their careers," according to National Geographic, which has named 14 young trailblazers to its 2011 class of Emerging Explorers.Turkish ornithologist Çağan Hakkı Şekercioğlu is among the members of this group, who will each receive $10,000 to assist their research and help enable their further exploration. The subject of a Treehugger Interview focused on his conservation efforts in Eastern Turkey, Şekercioğlu also runs projects in biodiversity hot spots around the world and has gathered a wealth of data on bird ecology, conservation status, biogeography, and migration. "[His] rare ability to combine world-class science with local conservation efforts gives communities new reasons to protect threatened bird habitats," National Geographic wrote.

Other 2011 Emerging Explorers focused on environmental issues include:

  • Jennifer Burney, an environmental scientist trying to figure out approaches to agricultural production that are win-win for the planet and poor farmers, such as solar irrigation systems.
  • Paula Kahumbu, a wildlife conservationist connecting people who care about wildlife and wild places with fieldwork projects they can support online.
  • Sasha Kramer, an ecologist helping provide environmentally friendly sanitation solutions for Haiti, including dry composting toilets that turn human waste into fertilizer.
  • Juan Martinez, an environmentalist from South Central Los Angeles working to get urban and disadvantaged youth into the great outdoors.
  • Dino Martins, an entomologist working to protect the most useful plants and pollinators in East Africa.
  • Tuy Sereivathana, a conservationist involved in efforts to protect Cambodia's elephants through programs that directly benefit local people.
Each, according to National Geographic's Terry Garcia, is helping inspire people to care about the planet: "They are innovators in their respective fields and represent tomorrow's Edmund Hillarys, Jacques Cousteaus and Dian Fosseys."

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Meet Fabien Cousteau, Grandson of Jacques & Deep Sea Explorer
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