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From the farthest reaches of the globe to groundbreaking encounters with chimpanzees, NG explores our world. In his favorite picture, legendary National Geographic photojournalist Maynard Owen Williams marveled how, in this Herat, Afghanistan, bazaar, no one blinked during the three seconds required to make the exposure.
Beginning in 1938, Matthew Stirling, chief of the Smithsonian Bureau of American Ethnology, led eight National Geographic-sponsored expeditions to Tabasco and Veracruz in Mexico. In the early 1960s, paleontologist and National Geographic grantee Louis Leakey and his family inspected the campsite of an early hominid at Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge.
A touching moment between primatologist and National Geographic grantee Jane Goodall and young chimpanzee Flint at Tanzania’s Gombe Stream Reserve in 1965.
Archaeologist and National Geographic grantee Richard Adams examined pre-Columbian Maya wall murals in Tomb One at Rio Azul in 1984.
Research scientist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Albert Lin gallops across the steppes of northern Mongolia as he searches for Genghis Khan’s tomb and other archaeological sites.
Marine biologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala dives with a green turtle off Cocos Island, Costa Rica. Take a closer look at the small wonders of our world, including a gecko's toe, tiny planets, and the littlest cyborg. This young owl(Asio otus) was found under a tree and was taken to the nearest Bird Hospital Foundation Station, to Fenekpuszta, where competent people cared it. Young Explorer Marty Schnure mapping the new Aviles Valley Trail in the future Patagonia National Park. Marty Schnure and Ross Donihue are National Geographic Young Explorers recently back from the field. The past nine months have been a journey of energy, frustration, sweat, cold, wind, laughs, scree, sore feet, an icy tent, warm sleeping bags, a lot of lamb stew, hard work, failure, perseverance, and success. We’ve created and delivered an extensive, detailed, and (if I may) well-organized geospatial database that park administrators are excited to use in their conservation planning efforts into the future. We’re thrilled to announce that the first map and guide to the future Patagonia National Park is now available to pre-order. The one constant throughout this project has been the unwavering support of our friends, family, colleagues, sponsors, backers, and blog readers. Camped out at an icy alpine lake while mapping the northwest edge of the future Patagonia National Park. Because Chile has ongoing border disputes with its neighbors and place-name disagreements within the country, the government wants to make sure that maps in Chile show their version of things.
In the meantime, we’d like to give you a little teaser of some of the content you can expect to see in the interactive map of the park. We’d also like to immerse you in the soundscape of the future Patagonia National Park.
About This BlogEvery hour of every day, somewhere on Earth, National Geographic explorers are at work trying to uncover, understand, or help care for some small part of the world around us. Support National GeographicWe've supported more than 11,000 grants to scientists and others in the field.Learn more about our work. Exploration Topics: Discover new faces and famous figures working with animals, the ancient world, photography, and more.
Explorers NewsletterSign Up Now: Stay in the know with a monthly email highlighting the exciting work of our explorers around the world. Driven largely by poverty and cultural traditions, such marriages are usually arranged by family members. Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Stephanie Sinclair has been documenting child marriage all over the world for more than a decade. I think the thing that we must acknowledge is that in most cases these young children do not want to be married. When we did the story, there was not the same kind of public awareness of child marriage that there is now.

My photo agency, VII, has also since partnered with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for a two-year campaign on the topic, which kicked off with a huge exhibition at the UN headquarters in New York City on October 11, 2012, the first-ever International Day of the Girl Child.
My film partner and I just returned from Tanzania and are following a narrative there on the health repercussions for young brides.
They are all heartbreaking, but probably the one that got me the most was the little girl Tahani.
Seventeen years after she stared out from the cover of National Geographic, a former Afghan refugee comes face-to-face with the world once more. The young Afghan refugee who stared from the cover of National Geographic in June 1985 was an enigma for 17 years.
It's an old tradition, and girls are allowed to do this until they are about 16 years old.
Silverash carried the Society-supported Mann Expedition to the East Indies to collect exotic animals for the National Zoo.
He uncovered 11 colossal stone heads, evidence of the ancient Olmec civilization that had lain buried for 15 centuries. Sala leads National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project, which aims to find, survey, and help protect the last healthy and undisturbed places in the ocean. Marty has Goal Zero solar panels strapped to her pack to keep the team’s GPS and cameras charged on long trips in the field. They’re currently producing maps of the future Patagonia National Park from their office in San Francisco.
We’ve become intimately familiar with a huge, exciting, and breathtakingly beautiful place, the future Patagonia National Park in the Aysen Region of Chile.
Here’s an immersive panorama from Cerro Torres, a hill overlooking the Chacabuco Valley and Lago Gutierrez, a deep and crystal-clear lake. I hated to see him," recalls Tahani, pictured here, of the early days of her marriage to Majed, when she was 6 and he was 25.
Yet the practice is shockingly prevalent: One out of nine girls in developing countries will be married by age 15, according to the United Nations.
Her work, which was featured in a National Geographic magazine feature in 2011, has raised awareness and helped educate both citizens and world leaders.
But shortly afterward The Elders, a group of world leaders dedicated to peace and human rights, made it a priority issue and formed Girls Not Brides, which now has over 200 members based throughout Africa, South Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North Americaa€”all united by a commitment to end child marriage and enable girls to fulfill their potential. She was eight when I met her, but six when she was married to her 25-year-old husband in Hajjah, Yemen. She remembers her wedding day, when she was perhaps 16, as a happy one—possibly, her older brother told the Geographic team, the only happy day of her life. In the mid-1990s, during a lull in the fighting that has rocked Afghanistan for most of her life, she returned to her village.
Though she remembers being photographed in the school tent of her refugee camp, and her resemblance to the girl in McCurry's photo is apparent, the Geographic sought expert opinion. Musheno did a facial comparison between the photographs Steve McCurry took in December 1984 and those taken of Sharbat Gula in Pakistan early this year. So the Geographic turned to the inventor of automatic iris recognition, John Daugman, a professor of computer science at England's University of Cambridge. They dive in to the water, catch the fish with their hands and a small net, and then they put in their mouth until they get out of the water. We’re currently developing the interactive map that will allow people around the world to explore the park and connect with the place. Six weeks ago, we were two days away from going to press (we had already bought the celebratory ice cream) when we learned that all maps to be distributed in Chile must first be approved by the Chilean government. We submitted our map for review eight weeks ago and have done a few back-and-forths with edits. Here’s the confluence of the Baker and Chacabuco rivers, a special place we wrote about in our recent post on the National Geographic Explorers Journal.

An estimated 14.2 million girls a year will become child brides by 2020 if nothing changes. She spoke to us after attending a recent United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) event focused on addressing the problem of child marriage. They want to play with their friends, they want to be educated, and they want to have a full adolescence. The campaign has an active blog and website,, where will be publishing additional stories and updates about where the exhibition will be traveling worldwide.
This means keeping the children in school as long as possible, as well as educating the communities about the harmful impact of child marriage on the health of their girls, their grandchildren, and their societies as a whole. A few months ago, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-sponsored pilot program in Bangladesh that will work with religious leaders, media, local governments, and NGOs to foster community support for an end to child marriage. We are looking at the issue of fistula, one of many health issues, including uterine prolapse and ruptured uterus, that girls suffer because of child marriage. Until she was shown the June 1985 Geographic this year, she had no idea that her image had been seen by millions.
His biometric technique uses mathematical calculations, and the numbers Daugman got left no question in his mind that the haunted eyes of the young Afghan refugee and the eyes of the adult Sharbat Gula belong to the same person. These marriages rob many girls of their innocence, many times before puberty, and this is something that as a global society we cannot tolerate. I also strongly believe there is not just a need for awareness-raising and prevention work, but we must also find ways to help the girls who are already in these marriages, be it through giving financial incentives to their families to let them stay in school, or vocational training so they can have more say in their lives and households. And Archbishop Desmond Tutu, chairman of The Elders, has announced a very ambitious goal: to end the practice by 2030. Even though she looks younga€”her teeth haven't even grown in yeta€”there is a matter-of-factness about her that makes her seem older, which is clear evidence of trauma, otherwise she wouldn't be so dissociated talking about her sexual experience at age eight. Due to her own bravery and with the help of a female lawyer named Shada Nasser, Nujoud was able to get a divorce at age 10, just a few months after her marriage.
This past January photographer Steve McCurry joined a crew from National Geographic Television & Film to methodically search for her. Soviet bombing killed her parents, and her grandmother led her and her brother and sisters on foot, in winter, to Pakistan, where they lived in various camps.
They showed her photograph around the refugee camp in Pakistan where McCurry had encountered her as a schoolgirl in December 1984.
It's at the root of so many other societal ills: poverty, disease, maternal mortality, infant mortality, violence against women.
She went to school, she even lived next to a school, but wasn't able to complete her education because once her mother died, there was no one to stand up for her. We can only hope that other girls will get the support they need should they want to take the same steps. Finally, after some false leads, a man who had also lived in the camp as a child recognized her. She had left the camp many years before and was living in the mountainous Tora Bora region of Afghanistan. Sharbat says she hopes that her girls will get the education she was never able to complete. And as the speaker at last week's CSW event put it: Let's be honest, when an eight-year-old has sex with a 20-something-year old, that's rape.
He said he could find her, and three days later he and a friend brought her back to the camp.

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