SES Sir Charles Blois Explorer 2018 - GLAUCIA DEL RIO is a 29 year old biologist originally from São Paulo, Brazil. Her passion for birds started in 2008, during her first expedition to the Amazon Forest. Since then, Glaucia has been working to document and describe Brazilian Avifauna before the advances of dams, pastures and cities threaten the existence of species still little studied by scientists and the general public. Leading a crew of eight women in an expedition to a remote area in the Amazon Forest, Glaucia wants to pay tribute to the explorer, Emilie Snethlage – the first woman to lead a scientific institution in South America. The expedition will centre on one of the least explored areas of the Amazon Forest, the Juruá river – the only river not explored by Snethlage. Glaucia seeks to honour Snethlage’s achievements today by giving her Brazilian team of young women the opportunity to unravel the secrets of the Amazon Forest
SES Rivers Foundation Explorer 2018 - OLIVIA GRANT, Liv Grant is a 22 year old biologist and writer from Edinburgh who has recently finished her bachelor’s degree at the University of Oxford. Liv is passionate about conservation and education, and has experience in journalism, scientific research at the University of Cambridge, and documentary filmmaking at the BBC. For her undergraduate dissertation, Liv studied birds in Tahiti, French Polynesia, where she witnessed the effects of habitat destruction and invasive species upon endemic island bird species. This inspired her expedition to the Marquesas Islands, a remote archipelago in French Polynesia, to study the last remaining populations of two critically endangered bird species. A critical aspect of this expedition is collaboration with local people to develop a long-term conservation plan. Liv will also work with the islanders to learn about how their indigenous knowledge of nature is expressed in their language and art, and about the value of cultural engagement with wildlife to successful conservation.
SES Neville Shulman Film Award Explorer 2018 - EILIDH MUNRO, Eilidh Munro is a 28 year old filmmaker from Scotland. She has spent the last year filming and photographing in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, Peru, where she captured rare spider monkey feeding behaviour and a species new to science. Whilst there, alongside expedition teammate Bethan John, she also co-founded and ran the Crees Foundation’s first Multimedia Internship from its remote research base in Manu. Eilidh is dedicated and passionate about telling conservation stories, and is returning to Manu with teammates, Jenni and Bethan, for an ambitious filming expedition to create a documentary about a road being illegally built through the rainforest. By interviewing local communities and stakeholders and using drones to reveal the road’s scale and status, the film will further our understanding of the threats and opportunities facing Manu and the potential consequences on its natural and cultural heritage.
SES Inspirational Explorer 2018 - ELEANOR DRINKWATER, Eleanor Drinkwater is a 25 year old biologist originally from the Isle of Man. She has a MRes from UCL and is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of York on the individual and collective personality in ants. Since leading her first expedition in 2013, to study impacts of farming on butterfly biodiversity in the Amazon, she has worked on multiple projects from katydid behaviour in Australia, to dung beetle biodiversity in Honduras. In her expedition to French Guiana, she is teaming up with drone pilot and filmmaker Chris Guggiari-Peel and ecologist Laura Kor to investigate the elusive titan beetle. Although little is known about this species, it is highly valued by collectors and thought may advantage communities through ecotourism. The team plans to collect data on this and the ecology of these insects, which they hope will raise awareness about the benefits and risks of invertebrate ecotourism.
SES Elodie Sandford Explorer 2018 - ELEANOR FLATT, Eleanor Flatt is a 25 year old wildlife biologist with a BSc in wildlife conservation from Nottingham Trent University. Originally from Peterborough, she is currently working in the tropical rainforests of Costa Rica studying endangered spider monkeys. Eleanor likes to combine her research of biodiversity with culture of the communities surrounding the area, communicating the struggles they both face and how they are connected. Alongside Peruvian biologist Ruthmey Pillco Huarcaya, Eleanor will lead the Exploration Sira team to the mountainous rugged terrain of El Sira Communal Reserve in Peru. The expedition will aim to ‘unveil indigenous stories and recover forgotten species’; furthering the limited knowledge of the hyper-diverse mammal community, the critically endangered Sira Curassow, the endangered climbing toad (Rhinella Nesiotes) and with the hope to rediscover the lost Sira Harlequin frog (not seen since 1970). This expedition will reveal untold stories of the people living in and around the Sira and use photography to highlight their lives and cultures.
SES Gough Explorer 2018 - MERLIN HETHERINGTON, Merlin Hetherington is a 24 year old medical student at the University of St Andrews where he is completing a BSc before continuing his medical training at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. His interest in global health development was strengthened whilst volunteering in health centres throughout South America, where as a keen mountaineer and lover of the wild, the outdoors and a physical challenge, he spent several months collecting data in high-altitude environments in the Andes. Pursuing these interests further, with a particular emphasis on eye-care, Merlin has been evaluating simulation eyes to complement medical education in low resource countries. In an ambitious combination of medicine and adventure, Merlin and fellow student Alex McMaster, will embark on a 10,000km journey through Africa on a tandem bike to bring ‘Arclight’, a revolutionary diagnostic device, into the hands of medical students and healthcare workers. The device has been described as a “game-changer” in the prevention of blindness and they hope to provide the next generation of doctors with the tools needed to help combat eye and ear disease.