Monday, June 29, 2009

The group has arrived

We've received word from the expedition leaders that the group has arrived in Sydney. They were headed to breakfast with National Geographic Expert Ulla Lohmann.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Meet the Expedition Leaders

2009 Australia Expedition Leaders, left to right: Charles Dye, Britt Basel, Patrick McLaughlin

Wildlife & Conservation

Patrick McLaughlin. St. Lawrence University, B.S.; Drexel University, Ph.D. candidate. Patrick majored in Biology and Environmental Studies at St. Lawrence, where he developed a passion for field research and travel. He was awarded a University Fellowship and The Crowell Summer Award in Field Biology, allowing him to pursue research in the Bahamas where he studied juvenile fish populations. As a senior Patrick studied at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, focusing on conservation and development in East Africa. In 2006 he participated in the Mongol Rally, a charity car rally across the 10,000 mile expanse from England to Mongolia to raise money for impoverished communities in Africa and Asia. He worked as a fisheries technician for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service in Vermont, a snow-coach guide and naturalist in Yellowstone National Park, and as director of the environmental education program for the Grand Teton Lodge Company. In January of 2009 Patrick served as a research assistant for the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program in Equatorial Guinea (West Africa), studying the endemic and endangered primates of Bioko Island’s volcanic calderas. While on the island, he was part of a small team that collected frogs hoping to document a completely new species. Patrick is pursuing his PhD in Environmental Science at Drexel, with a focus on biodiversity conservation.


Charles Dye. University of Arizona, B.A.; Montana State University, M.F.A. Charles is an independent filmmaker and photographer based in Bozeman, Montana. He spent six years racing cyclo-cross and mountain bikes professionally for the Cannondale-New Balance racing team in Europe, Japan, and North America. After earning a certificate in Documentary Video Production from the University of Washington, Charles made a short film, Saving the Snow Leopards of Mongolia, which appeared in National Geographic Wild Chronicles in 2002. Last of the Gum Men, about the chicle harvesters in the jungles of Guatemala, was seen nationwide on PBS in 2003. A Cat Called Elvis (2007), about his search—with his wife and son—for snow leopards in the western highlands of Mongolia, is currently the #1 downloaded show on the 2007 Webby-award winning Terra podcast ( Charles teaches film at the Berks Community Television's FilmCamp in Reading, Pennsylvania, and helped establish the Montana Outdoor Science School's new Natural History Filmmaking Workshops. Still a devoted cyclist, he recently earned his Master in Fine Arts in Science and Natural History Filmmaking at Montana State University. Charles co-led the National Geographic Student Expedition to Iceland in 2008.


Britt Basel. University of Colorado, B.A. A freelance and fine art photographer, Britt has traveled and photographed extensively around the world. As a teenager she went to Ecuador on a youth photography scholarship. She studied photography and art history at the Aegean Center for Fine Arts in Greece, and went on to study with the School for International Training in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Britt graduated with honors in Anthropology from the University of Colorado, where she focused on indigenous culture and Mesoamerican archaeology. She worked as a scuba instructor and translator in Costa Rica, conducted fieldwork with and photographed the GuaranĂ­ people of Paraguay, and led Putney Student Travel’s Global Awareness in Action program in El Salvador. Britt worked as the translator and still photographer for a surfing documentary in El Salvador, and led a university semester abroad to Peru and Ecuador with Carpe Diem International Education. She is a PADI-certified scuba instructor, an Emergency First Response Instructor, a Wilderness First Responder, and an avid snowboarder and sailor. Britt is the Director of International Programming for the Body Form Photo Workshop. She spent the last several months studying sustainable development, permaculture, and whole-systems design in New South Wales, Australia. She co-led National Geographic Student Expeditions to Spain and Belize in 2008. Some of her work is available for viewing on-line at


Welcome family and friends of National Geographic Student Expeditions participants!

We have created this blog in order to keep you updated on the progress of your child’s National Geographic Student Expedition this summer. We hope that occasional updates throughout the expedition will help keep you informed about the activities, projects and successes of the program.

The expedition leaders will post entries approximately once per week during the program. The leaders’ first priority is the students and the program. If updates are infrequent, it is likely due to the group’s very busy schedule and inconsistent internet access. Please know that any important issues that arise during the program will be discussed and resolved with leaders and parents by phone, not through the blog.

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Best wishes from us all at National Geographic Student Expeditions