Over 150 McGill students gathered in the Leacock auditorium on Saturday for a full day of workshops hosted by the National Geographic Young Explorers Grants Program. The workshops featured National Geographic explorers and past grant recipients, who provided students with tips on how to develop project ideas and write effective grant proposals.
The workshops were also part of an effort by National Geographic to encourage environmental conservation efforts among young people. The Young Explorers Grants give aspiring scientists and researchers between the ages of 18 and 25 a chance to conduct their own field research in topics ranging from archaeology to photojournalism to evolutionary biology.
Four McGill students have been awarded these prestigious grants in the past.
Masters Biology student Andrea Reid was awarded a Young Explorers Grant in 2011. The grant funded a three-month project in Uganda to research the effect of the Nile perch – a large introduced alien predator – on the native fish population of the Lake Victoria Basin.
At the workshop, Reid spoke about her experiences and gave advice to students looking to obtain a grant of their own.
“Apply for everything, and be really specific,” she said. “Don’t just say ‘I want to save the whales.’ What kind of whales? Where? How? You have to know what you’re after.”
The workshop was followed by a presentation by renowned alpinist Conrad Anker – who spoke about his most recent expedition to Everest – as well as Kenny Broad, National Geographic’s 2011 Explorer of the Year, who shared highlights of his world–famous diving expeditions to the Bahamas’ Blue Holes, the deepest underwater caves in the world.