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.

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.

National Geographic in Bhutan: Buddha Dordenma Statue

Before leaving the Bhutanese capital city today, the National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration visited what will soon be the largest sitting statue of Buddha.

Queen of Bhutan Celebrates National Geographic’s Anniversary Coverage

THIMPHU, BHUTAN–Queen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck addressed a celebration of one hundred years of coverage of the Kingdom of Bhutan by National Geographic tonight. The event was held at the Taj Tashi Hotel, where the Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration (CRE) is lodging in the mountain kingdom’s capital. Led by National Geographic President and CEO Gary Knell, the CRE is touring Bhutan to learn about the country’s science and conservation programs and visit researchers in the field.

Conversation with Bhutan’s Young “Dragon King”

THIMPHU, Bhutan–King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck is a young ruler connected deeply with the digital universe while remaining anchored in the teaching and wisdom handed down through generations. He surfs the Web to gauge the mood of the people, following the conversations of his subjects and engaging them through social media. He has his own Facebook page, and he knows…

Redefining Open Space: The Case for Protecting Open Space in the Sea

By Priscilla Brooks, Vice President and Director, Ocean Conservation, Conservation Law Foundation Nestled on Massachusetts’ North Shore, Ipswich is an historic New England community with a vibrant town center, friendly people, and working farms. What really strikes visitors to this small town, however, is its open space. A remarkable 47 percent of the town is…

Rare Snow Leopards Seen on Mount Everest

To celebrate International Snow Leopard Day, today, October 23, National Geographic Cat Watch is publishing two images from camera traps set up to document the elusive and seldom-seen big cat on Mount Everest. The Everest Snow Leopard Conservation Center is a partnership initiative of Vanke Foundation and Qomolangma (Mt. Everest) National Nature Reserve. The 34,000-square-kilometer (13,000-square-mile)…

Snow Leopard Caught on Camera After Catching Marmot

From Matt Fiechter, Snow Leopard Trust: A remote-sensor research camera snapped a photo of a wild snow leopard in Kyrgyzstan’s Sarychat Ertash Nature Reserve shortly after the cat had caught a marmot. During the short mountain summer, these rodents add some diversity to the snow leopard’s diet.

Growing the Next Generation of Botanical Pioneers

By Mike Maunder, Interim Director, The Kampong, National Tropical Botanical Garden Two weeks ago I was in South Sudan working with East African and South Sudanese colleagues preparing a plant conservation project for the Imatong Mountains. Rivers spill out of these beautiful mountain forests providing water to huge areas of South Sudan.  Yet the forests that…

Biocultural Conservation: the Antidote to Nihilism?

If there is one universal trend amongst the vast majority of cultures around the world in the 21st Century, it is an ever moving shift away from ancestral traditions. With the near exponential increase of the percentage of the human population living in cities, disconnected from the natural resources that shaped the lives and identities of their ancestors, there is grave concern amongst many observers that these ancestral cultures will be lost in the name of progress.