WASHINGTON (June 14, 2013)—Six exceptional individuals were honored last night at the National Geographic Society’s 125th Anniversary Gala celebration for their efforts to lead exploration, advance scientific understanding, conserve natural resources and expand knowledge of the world. The evening’s theme, “A New Age of Exploration,” echoed the yearlong celebration of the Society’s 125th anniversary. The evening concluded with an announcement of philanthropic commitments from nine families and one organization in support of the work of the National Geographic Society. Additional support for the gala was provided by Bank of America, Fox International Channels, GEICO, Cengage Learning, National Geographic Channels, PetSmart, Southwest Airlines and SVM Foundation.
The gala was the culmination of the two-day National Geographic 2013 Explorers Symposium, #LetsExplore, an annual gathering of National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence, Fellows, Emerging Explorers, grantees and others affiliated with the Society to share updates of their research and fieldwork.
National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence and Rosemary and Roger Enrico Chair for Ocean Exploration Sylvia Earle is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer. Earle’s more than 100 national and international honors include France’s 2013 Legende de la Planete Medal, the 2011 Royal Geographical Society Gold Medal, the 2011 Medal of Honor from the Dominican Republic, the 2009 TED Prize, the 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, Academy of Achievement, Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year, and medals from Explorers Club, Philadelphia Academy of Sciences, Lindbergh Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, Barnard College and Society of Women Geographers. Currently only National Geographic’s TV channels are under the partnership with Fox, but the new agreement expands the scope. The gala was attended by global leaders in science, exploration and conservation, including oceanographer Robert Ballard, award-winning wildlife filmmakers and conservationists Dereck and Beverly Joubert, paleontologist Louise Leakey, population geneticist Spencer Wells, marine ecologist Enric Sala and conservationist Mike Fay, all National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence.
This year, the National Geographic Society celebrates its 125th anniversary and its evolution from a small scientific body founded in 1888 “to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge” to one of the world’s largest educational and scientific nonprofit organizations, committed to inspiring people to care about the planet.

He also has been the moderator of all 10 National Geographic World Championships, the biennial international geography competition that this year will take place in St. Interested in a broadcasting news career, he joined the Canadian Broadcasting Company, where he covered national news and special events for radio and television. In 2011, he received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Profits from all the media properties, which had previously been non-profit organizations, will now flow to both the Society and Fox. 1, 2013, to honor the Society’s 125th anniversary and support a wide range of individuals leading research, exploration and conservation efforts that are fueling new discoveries and innovations.
National Medal of Science, the Crafoord Prize (equivalent of the Nobel, for ecology) of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the International Prize of Biology of Japan; and in letters, two Pulitzer Prizes in nonfiction, the Nonino and Serono Prizes of Italy and COSMOS Prize of Japan. The new entity will be owned 73 percent by 21st Century Fox and 27 percent by The National Geographic Society. These commitments include a $1 million pledge by Alex Trebek to create an endowment for the National Geographic Bee, a competition he hosted for the last 25 years.
Wine was provided by Iron Horse Vineyards, which is donating proceeds from each publicly sold bottle of its 2008 Ocean Reserve Blanc de Blancs to National Geographic’s initiative to restore the ocean’s health and productivity. In 2005, he received the Will Owen Jones Distinguished Journalist of the Year Award, and in 2007, was appointed a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Against Hunger on behalf of the World Food Programme.

Additionally, he serves on the board of the National Geographic Society Education Foundation. For his work in conservation, he has received the Gold Medal of the Worldwide Fund for Nature and the Audubon Medal of the Audubon Society. As part of the agreement, National Geographic magazine and other digital assets, will become part of the venture Under the deal, National Geographic magazine and digital assets, which had previously remained not-for-profit operations, will become part of the venture. Buffett for his contribution to conservation, the Adventurer of the Year Award to BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner for his 2012 feat of accelerating through the speed of sound in freefall to advance aerospace research, and the Alexander Graham Bell Medal to National Geographic Bee moderator and “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek for his 25 years of service to the Bee and his commitment to geography education.
The expedition is featured in the June 2013 edition of National Geographic magazine and will be the subject of a 3-D feature film. Honors in 2012 included the National Farmers Union Meritorious Service to Humanity Award, the Columbia University Global Leadership Award, an honorary doctorate from Pennsylvania State University, the Leader in Agriculture Award from Agriculture Future of America and a Special Service Award from the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development.

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