Who they are
SYLVIA A. EARLE
National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, called Her Deepness by the New Yorker and the New York Times, Living Legend by the Library of Congress, and first Hero for the Planet by Time Magazine, is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with experience as a field research scientist, government official, and director for corporate and non-profit organizations including the Kerr McGee Corporation, Dresser Industries, Oryx Energy, the Aspen Institute, the Conservation Fund, American Rivers, Mote Marine Laboratory, Duke University Marine Laboratory, Rutgers Institute for Marine Science, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and Ocean Futures.
Formerly Chief Scientist of NOAA, Dr. Earle is the Founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, Inc. (DOER), Founder of the Sylvia Earle Alliance (S.E.A.) / Mission Blue, Chair of the Advisory Council of the Harte Research Institute, inspiration for the ocean in Google Earth, leader of the NGS Sustainable Seas Expeditions, and the subject of the 2014 Netflix film, Mission Blue. She has a B.S. degree from Florida State University, M.S. and PhD. from Duke University, 27 honorary degrees and has authored more than 200 scientific, technical and popular publications including 13 books (most recently Blue Hope in 2014), lectured in more than 90 countries, and appeared in hundreds of radio and television productions.
She has led more than 100 expeditions and logged more than 7,000 hours underwater including leading the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Project in 1970, participating in ten saturation dives, most recently in July 2012, and setting a record for solo diving in 1,000 meters depth. Her research concerns marine ecosystems with special reference to exploration, conservation and the development and use of new technologies for access and effective operations in the deep sea and other remote environments.
Her special focus is on developing a global network of areas in the Ocean, “Hope Spots,” to safeguard the living systems that provide the underpinnings of global processes, from maintaining biodiversity and yielding basic life support services to providing stability and resiliency in response to accelerating climate change.
Her more than 100 national and international honors include the 2013 National Geographic Hubbard Medal, 2011 Royal Geographical Society Patron’s Medal, 2011 Medal of Honor from the Dominican Republic, 2009 TED Prize, Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark, Australia’s International Banksia Award, Italy’s Artiglio Award, the International Seakeepers Award, the International Women’s Forum, the National Women’s Hall of Fame, UNEP 2014 Champion of the Earth, 2014 Glamour Woman of the Year, Academy of Achievement, Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year, UN Global 500, and medals from the Explorers Club, the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences, Lindbergh Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, Sigma Xi, Barnard College, and the Society of Women Geographers.
Dr. Denise Herzing, Founder and Research Director of the Wild Dolphin Project, has completed 35 years of her long-term study of the Atlantic spotted dolphins inhabiting Bahamian waters. She received her B.S. in Marine Zoology; her M.A. in Behavioral Biology; and her Ph.D. in Behavioral Biology/Environmental Studies. She is an Affiliate Assistant Professor in Biological Sciences at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida. Dr. Herzing is a 2008 Guggenheim Fellow, a fellow with the Explorers Club, a scientific advisor for the Lifeboat Foundation and the American Cetacean Society, and on the board of Schoolyard Films. In addition to many scientific articles (http://www.wilddolphinproject.org/research/library/), she is the coeditor of Dolphin Communication and Cognition, author of “Dolphin Diaries: My 25 years with Spotted Dolphins in the Bahamas” and “The Wild Dolphin Project (2002)”.
Coverage of her work with the spotted dolphins has appeared in National Geographic Magazine 1992 and 2015, BBC Wildlife, Ocean Realm and Sonar magazines and featured on Nature, Discovery, PBS, ABC, BBC, NHK, PBS, and TED2013
Dr. Herzing has spoken at the Society for Marine Mammalogy, European Cetacean Society, International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Explorers Club, TED2013, Boston Museum of Science, American Cetacean Society and others.
National Geographic magazine’s senior editor
Kathy Moran is National Geographic magazine’s senior editor for natural history projects. A 38-year member of the Society, Moran has been producing stories about terrestrial and underwater ecosystems for the magazine since 1990. At last count she has edited over 350 stories for the magazine. Recent highlights include overseeing The Year of the Bird series celebrating the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and curating the Society’s traveling exhibition “50 Bes Wildlife Photos”. She was the project manager for the National Geographic Society/Wildlife Conservation Society’s award-winning collaboration of photographer Nick Nichols and Dr. Michael Fay’s trek across Central Africa. The resulting stories were the impetus for the creation of Gabon’s national park system. In May 2016, her single-topic issue on the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem was published. This was a team effort with 11 photographers and writer David Quammen.
Moran has edited several books for the Society, including Women Photographers at the National Geographic, The Africa Diaries – An Illustrated Life in the Bush, Cat Shots and most recently, Tigers Forever. She was the photo editor for two anthems of wildlife photography, “100 Best Wildlife Pictures” and “Wildlife, The Best Photos.” She was named “Picture Editor of the Year” for her winning portfolios in the 2006 and 2017 Pictures of the Year competition and the 2011 Best of Photo competition.
She is a founding member of the International League of Conservation Photographers and has served on the Executive Committee. In that role, she has edited numerous books for ILCP photographers published with the University of Chicago Press. She served on the Executive Committee of Wildscreen USA and has been on the jury for numerous photo competitions including Por el Planeta, Big Picture Natural World Competition, POYi, Wildlife Photographer of the Year and European Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
She lives in Arlington, VA, with her husband and three bad cats.
THOMAS P. PESCHAK
Thomas P. Peschak is a National Geographic Photographer and National Geographic Explorer who specializes in documenting both the beauty and fragility of the world's oceans, islands and coasts. Originally trained as a marine biologist he embraced photojournalism after realizing his photographs could have greater conservation impact than scientific statistics. Since 2009 he has shot ten stories for National Geographic Magazine on a range of subjects, from manta rays to seabirds, and the Seychelles to the Galapagos islands. His most recent feature assignment on sea turtle conservation will be published in the October 2019 issue. Thomas is a Founding Director of the Manta Trust, a senior fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and the former Director of Conservation of the Save our Seas Foundation. He has written and photographed seven books including the recent Sharks and People and Manta: The Secret Life of Devil Rays. He is a multiple winner in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards and received 7 World Press Photo Awards for his image and stories. In 2015, he gave the TED talk ‘Dive into an ocean photographer’s world’ which has been viewed more than 1 million times. When not travelling the world on assignment he calls Cape Town in South Africa home.
Lucas Bustamante has been bitten by countless snakes, chased by elephants, and has dived along with sharks. He is an Ecuadorian biologist and wildlife photojournalist whose main goal is to use photography to promote environmental and cultural conservation. Lucas is the CEO and director of photography at Tropical Herping and Associated Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). He manages research and photography projects in different countries through South America, Africa, and Asia. Lucas is an author of some books, like “Reptiles of the Galapagos,” and has described 6 new species to science, including two gecko species for the archipelago. When taking a break from work, Lucas spends the time diving and playing soccer with his friends.
ASHLEY PROUT MCAVEY
Ashley Prout McAvey is a graduate in Environmental Biology of Yale College and holds a Master of Environmental Management (MEM) from the Yale School of the Environment. She first visited Africa when she was 16 and saw first-hand the devastation of human greed on a continent and its wildlife. She immediately fell in love with the beauty of the people, place, and wildlife there and she hopes the movement to ban ivory sales at the state level here in the United States will continue swiftly. She feels indebted to the men and women who have died protecting Africa's most majestic creatures and she is fueled by their sacrifice to spread awareness and action here in the United States, which is, sadly, still today one of the leading markets for ivory. Ashley founded VermontForWildlife (www.vermontforwildlife.org), an all-volunteer, grassroots organization dedicated to educate and raise awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation through public policy and legislative action at the state level. Its mission is to inspire states to take a stand against extinction. After 8 years of grassroots advocacy, VermontForWildlife was a key partner in making Vermont the 12th state in the nation to ban the sale of imperiled wildlife parts on October 8, 2020.
PRINCE RAHIM AGA KHAN
Chair of the AKDN Environment and Climate Committee
Prince Rahim (born in 1971) is the second of His Highness the Aga Khan’s four children. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, he has been actively involved for many years in governance of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).
Prince Rahim is Chair of the AKDN Environment and Climate Committee (ECC) and sits on either the Board or Executive Committee of most of the AKDN agencies. He also co-chairs AKDN’s Budget Review Committees.
Prince Rahim graduated from Brown University, Rhode Island, USA with a Bachelor’s Degree in Comparative Literature awarded in 1996. He received his secondary education at Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. In 2006, he completed an executive development programme in management and administration at the University of Navarra IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain Prince Rahim travels regularly to Asia and Africa to oversee programmes and other projects of the Aga Khan Development Network.
SHARI SANT PLUMMER
Environmental philanthropist and ocean activist Shari Sant Plummer is President and co-founder of Code Blue Charitable Foundation, a Trustee of the Summit Charitable Foundation, and she serves on the boards of the Sylvia Earle Alliance and The National Aquarium in Baltimore. Shari is also a member of the Ocean Unite Advisory Board, WWF National Council, and Nature’s Best Photography Advisory Council. A proponent of impact photography and filmmaking, she served as board chair of the International League of Conservation Photographers for five years and is currently an affiliate.
Shari also produces documentary films including the Emmy award-winning Netflix documentaries “Mission Blue” (Executive Producer), and “Chasing Coral” (Associate Producer). She is also Executive Producer on the award-winning films “Anote’s Ark,” “Sharkwater Extinction,” and “Ghost Fleet.”
A graduate of NYU, Shari worked as Senior Stylist and Design Director for Ralph Lauren in New York for nine years, then as Visual Director at Esprit. She later founded the environmental lifestyle store, Worldware, in San Francisco in 1994. She sold the business in 2001 and now devotes herself full-time to conservation work, with a focus on producing impact media to inspire change.
An avid diver, photographer and ocean activist, Shari travels extensively throughout the world promoting ocean conservation and environmental awareness and lives in New York and California with her husband Dan and their dog Brody..
Director of Conservation & Board Member
of the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation
Jim Angell is the Director of Conservation and Board Member of the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation. Jim’s work at the Foundation focuses primarily on supporting efforts to protect and conserve the world's ocean habitats, coral reefs, and apex predators whose survival is imperiled by overfishing and global climate change.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Jim worked as an attorney for nearly two decades with Earthjustice, a U.S. public interest environmental law firm. As an attorney in Earthjustice’s Bozeman, Montana office, and later as the managing attorney in the organization’s Denver, Colorado office, he litigated and directed numerous cases whose goals were to protect the landscapes and endangered species of the American west, and to preserve the clean air and water upon which the region’s residents depend.
Jim has degrees from Columbia College (BA), the University of California at Los Angeles (MA), and the University of California at Berkeley (JD). Jim lives in Colorado with his wife, Shannon Connery, and their four children, of whom he is inordinately proud.
DAVID DE ROTHSCHILD
As an explorer, who has traversed some of the world’s toughest environments, David de Rothschild has been harnessing his curious spirit to help give Nature a voice and make the world a more sustainable place for the last two decades.
In 2006, he founded the Voice for Nature Foundation, an organization that uses exploration, adventure and storytelling to give ‘Nature a voice.’ David is one of the leaders of a new generation of change-makers focused on re-igniting collective hope in the future of the planet. Not only helping unearth innovative solutions to tackle our most pressing problems, David uses innovative storytelling to inspire a movement around how we can all live more sustainably. Despite having witnessed first-hand the impact of climate change and human industry on some of the planet’s most fragile ecosystems, David remains boldly confident that if we can all work together and act now, then there is still a chance we can turn things around and continue to live on ‘spaceship earth’. David has taken his call to action to millions of individuals across all demographics - from children in classrooms to world leaders, NGOs to NASA, industries to non-profits, Oprah Winfrey to Nickelodeon. He has hosted conferences, delivered keynotes, published books, produced a Sundance Channel TV series, a National Geographic documentary and featured in a recent CNN series, Modern Explorers.
Conservationist, photographer and author
Robin Moore is a conservationist, photographer and author, with a PhD in Biodiversity Conservation from the University of Kent in the UK.
His first book, In Search of Lost Frogs, is a 70,000-word narrative wrapped around 400 images depicting his search for some of the most elusive creatures on earth. The book was featured by the Guardian, Mother Nature Network and the Dodo as one of the top nature and conservation photography books of the year.
He is Communications Director with Global Wildlife Conservation and a Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers.
He also teaches photography and video storytelling bootcamps with National Geographic..
Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist at the World Bank
Saurabh has been working on disaster risk management and climate change adaptation projects for close to 20 years. Saurabh is currently working for the World Bank in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, since 2017, following the devastating Hurricane season that impacted the Caribbean. Prior to that, he led and managed a portfolio of over one billion dollars focusing on large disaster reconstruction and disaster mitigation projects in South Asia for the World Bank. Before joining the World Bank, Saurabh was based in Aceh, Indonesia with the British Red Cross working on tsunami reconstruction projects following the 2004 Asian Tsunami. He has worked with the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center in Bangkok, Thailand and at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society which is part of the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York. Before joining the development sector, Saurabh worked as an engineer with an environmental consulting firm designing solid waste management and landfill gas to energy projects in California. Saurabh has a Bachelors’ degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Pune, India, a Masters’ in Environmental Engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology and a Masters’ in Public Policy and Administration from Columbia University.
Managing Director of Maryana Capital
Mr. Hedayat is the founder and has been Managing Director of Maryana Capital, a financial firm in Toronto, Canada. He previously cofounded Edoma Capital in London, a capital fund, where he worked from 2010 until December 2012, and was a partner at Indus Capital, a capital fund in London, from May 2013 until March 2015. Mr. Hedayat held progressively more senior roles at the Goldman Sachs Group from 1997 to 2010, including from 2005 to 2007 as Managing Director of the European Principal Strategies group and from 2007 to 2010 as Managing Director and Co-head of the Americas Principal Strategies group. Mr. Hedayat served on the board of U.S. Geothermal Inc., a leading renewable energy company, from February 2017 until its sale to Ormat Technologies Inc. in April 2018 and currently serves on the board of Crius Energy, an independent energy retailer in the United States and Restaurant Brands International, a leading quick service restaurant operator.
Vice-Chairman of the Board at Flybondi
Julian has been involved in the airline industry for close to 25 years. Initially on the investment banking side in 1995 as an Associate at The Chase Manhattan Bank in London, New York and Johannesburg. In 2003, Julian launched Flybaboo, a regional airline based in Geneva, was the CEO until 2008, and then Chairman until 2011 when the company was sold. In 2012 he joined Aviasolutions/GE Capital Aviation Services as a Director in the airline strategic consulting team. In 2016 Julian raised USD 75 million to launch Flybondi, the first low cost airline in Argentina, and was the CEO until December 2018. Since January 2019, he is Vice-Chairman of the Board. He was on the board of Impact Finance Management from 2012 to 2016, a Geneva-based fund manager offering loans to companies with a strong social impact in emerging markets. He is currently part of the Ashoka Support Network in Argentina, helping social entrepreneurs. Julian holds a Bsc Economics from The London School of Economics and Political Sciences and an MBA from Columbia Business School in New York.
Founding Partner at Two Bulls
Noah Harlan is a Founding Partner of the digital product studio Two Bulls with offices in Brooklyn and Melbourne. Noah has served in a variety of leadership positions in the tech community with a focus on open source software and open governance including as President & Director of the AllSeen Alliance, Treasurer & Director of the EdgeX Foundry, two major industry consortia under the auspices of the Linux Foundation. Prior to Founding Two Bulls, Noah worked in film & media as a Producer of six feature films and received an Emmy Award as a documentary writer & director. Noah currently serves as Vice-Chair of UrbanGlass, America's leading organization dedicated to the art, craft, education, and advocacy of glass as a medium and on the Innovation Committee of the Made in NY Media Center. Noah has been an avid scuba diver for over 35 years and is a certified Master Diver. Noah holds a degree in Computer Science from Williams College and lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Micol Ostow, a best selling author, and their two daughters.