VOICES Voices Icon Ideas and Insight From Explorers


David Maxwell Braun

of National Geographic

David Braun is an 18-year veteran of National Geographic, currently serving as Director of Outreach in Digital Publishing. He also directs his popular National Geographic Voices blog and helps manage the Society's side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship.

David's 40-year journalism career in the U.S., UK, and South Africa gives him global perspective and experience across the media landscape. He's covered Congress, the White House, international legislatures, and the United Nations, and been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, AP, UPI, National Geographic, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and the Johannesburg Star.

Assignments in more than 70 countries included traveling with Nelson Mandela in North America and Bill Clinton in Africa, and covering political negotiations hosted by Fidel Castro in Havana. As a member of the National Geographic Expeditions Council, and media representative to the Committee for Research and Exploration, David has accompanied Nat Geo explorers and scientists to 69 field sites in 14 countries. He has been a featured lecturer on National Geographic Expeditions to the Galapagos, Svalbard, and Wildlife of the World.

David has served as a member/executive of journalist guilds, press clubs, editorial committee of Online Publishers Association and other professional groups. He was a WMA Magazine of the Year Awards judge (2010-2012). He has more than 120,000 followers on Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

Encounters With the Birds of Hawai’i Volcanoes

KIPUKAPUAULU–Within an area Hawaiians hold sacred, the realm of the gods thousands of feet above the ocean on Big Island, a spectacular biodiversity hot spot known locally as “Bird Park” is an excellent place to observe and hear the avian species of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Our group reporting for the early morning bird count during the National Park Service/National…

Jumping Spiders Among 22 New Species Added to Hawai’i Park List

With the numbers still coming in from scientists, the 24-hour BioBlitz in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has so far formally identified more than 400 species. Jumping spiders were among at least 22 species until now not recorded for the park. The official report presented at the end of the BioBlitz: Hawai’i Volcanoes encompasses a vast landscape that…

BioBlitz Moves to Washington, D.C. in 2016

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. National Park Service, the tenth in a series of annual BioBlitzes hosted by the service and the National Geographic Society will be held in parks in the Washington, D.C. area. But in a first for the BioBlitz, the event next May will also be…

BioBlitz 2015: Where Hawaiian Culture Meets Science

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park — Part scientific endeavor, part outdoor classroom excursion, and part celebration of biodiversity and culture, the 2015 BioBlitz hosted by the National Geographic Society and the National Park Service has gathered some 200 scientists, park rangers, and journalists in Hawaii’s iconic Volcanoes National Park this weekend. The objective is to see how…

Traditional Knowledge Helps Understand Nature in Every Sense

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Cultural Anthropologist, Keola Awong, discusses the importance of approaching this week’s BioBlitz in the protected space using every sense, as well as a deep understanding and appreciation of the ancient sanctity of the place. The 24-hour species inventory is the ninth in a series of similar events in the run-up to next…

From Snapshot to Science: Photos of Biodiversity as Useful Records

By Carrie Seltzer When was the last time you took a photo of an interesting insect or flower? Did you do anything with that photo? Sharing your photos can be about more than photography — it’s about what those photos represent. For many kinds of organisms, photos with clear documentation about where and when they…

Learn the Moves of the BioBlitz Dance

By John Griffith Doing the Bioblitz Dance is a great way to celebrate the outdoors, the Bioblitz event, and the National Park Service’s upcoming centennial anniversary! The Bioblitz Dance’s origins start with Rue Mapp, the founder and CEO of the group called Outdoor Afro. She invited me and my California Conservation Corps members to participate in the 2014 National Geographic Bioblitz and Biodiversity Festival…

Low-cost Robot Designed for Safe Disposal of Unexploded Ordnance

Thousands of innocent civilians are killed each year by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in dozens of countries with a legacy of conflict. Nations such as Cambodia struggle to remove millions of unexploded ordnance scattered across large swathes of territory. Clearing these volatile munitions is extremely dangerous and often beyond what some of…

Hawai’i Volcanoes BioBlitz Aloha

By Cindy Orlando, Superintendent of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Aloha Friends of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. We are honored to host the ninth annual BioBlitz, a tribute to the geology, biology and Hawaiian culture shared with millions of visitors and perpetuated from sea level to its volcanic summits. Hawai’i National Park was established in 1916, and…

Hawaii Volcanoes BioBlitz: Singing a Song of Earth

More than a thousand scientists, explorers, grade school students, and members of the public will swarm across the volcanoes, forests and shoreline of the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park next week, seeking to catalog every species they kind find. The ninth in a series of annual BioBlitzes hosted by the National Park Service and the National Geographic Society, the 2015 event is expected to be a celebration of biodiversity and Polynesian culture, a spiritual and scientific look at nature, and a teaching moment for all that there still is time to repair and appreciate our bonds with the Earth.

The concept of an annual BioBlitz in the run-up to the 2016 celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. National Park Service was the brainchild of John Francis, National Geographic Vice President for Research, Conservation and Exploration. In this interview he talks about what’s so special about the BioBlitz in Hawaii and how everyone can use the experience, even by participating remotely, to find what the Earth means to them.

UN Conferences Are a “Fantastic Agenda for International Sustainability”

Marina Grossi is the President of the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development. In this interview she discusses the role of business in Brazil in helping prepare the agenda for two United Nations conferences later this year critical for bringing Earth back to a sustainable balance: the Summit for the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, in…

For Chinese New Year a Celebration of the World’s Largest Sheep

The celestial odometer clicks over to a new year on the Chinese calendar today, and it’s a Year of the Sheep. By some interpretations it may also be the Year of the Goat, but for National Geographic it is an opportunity to celebrate argali Ovis ammon polii, the world’s largest sheep. Perhaps no one is…

Lions Confiscated From German Circus Start new Life in African Sanctuary

Maggie and Sonja, two lionesses seized from a circus in Germany, are settling into their new home in South Africa, “where they’ll have a second chance to live out their days in a nurturing and natural environment” at the Born Free Foundation’s Big Cat Rescue and Education Centre at Shamwari Game Reserve, the conservation charity Born Free USA said in a news statement today.

National Geographic in Bhutan: Dochula Pass

High on top of a mountain pass on the road from Thimphu to Punaka, overlooking the Himalayas, is a concentration of 108 chortens (stupas) built in memory of Bhutanese soldiers killed in the 2003 war against insurgents from India.

Ascending Bhutan’s Sacred Tiger’s Nest

Upon visiting the most sacred place in Bhutan, the Tiger’s Nest monastery thousands of feet up on the side of a mountain, David Braun reflects on the precepts of Buddhism that encourage the country’s powerful respect for nature.