Ami Vitale

Nikon Ambassador and National Geographic magazine photographer Ami Vitale has traveled to more than 100 countries, bearing witness not only to violence and conflict, but also to surreal beauty and the enduring power of the human spirit. Throughout the years, Ami has lived in mud huts and war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit— keeping true to her belief in the importance of “living the story.” In 2009, after shooting a powerful story on the transport and release of one the world’s last white rhinos, Ami shifted her focus to today’s most compelling wildlife and environmental stories.

Her photographs have been commissioned by nearly every international publication and exhibited around the world in museums and galleries. She is a founding member of Ripple Effect Images, an organization of renowned female scientists, writers, photographers and filmmakers working together to create powerful and persuasive stories that shed light on the hardships women in developing countries face and the programs that can help them. She is also on the Photojournalism Advisory Council for the Alexia Foundation.

Currently based in Montana, Ami Vitale is a contract photographer with National Geographic magazine and frequently gives workshops throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia.

3 words to describe Nature?  

Healing. Connecting. Inspiring

3 things Nature taught you? 

To slow down 

To observe 

To marvel

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

Montana 

Kenya

Planet Earth

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...? 

Humbled

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...? 

Like we are in an intricate web and deeply connected to one another

When you see any volcano, it makes you feel...? 

I have never seen one up close. But I imagine in awe

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...? 

Ephemeral

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...? 

Respectful

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...? 

Like snuggling up with a good book

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

All the above

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? It's off the charts important. 

10 is not enough

Share with us a childhood nature memory? 

Sneaking out at night to sleep on my dad's boat. I always loved being on the water from as early as I can remember. 


Gaelin Rosenwaks

GAELIN ROSENWAKS is a marine scientist, explorer, photographer and filmmaker. She began her career working in Antarctica researching over-wintering patterns of Southern Ocean zooplankton after which she earned her Master’s Degree researching the migratory movements of Giant Bluefin Tunas. Alarmed by the changes happening in the oceans, Gaelin founded Global Ocean Exploration, Inc. to share her passion for ocean exploration, marine conservation, and fishing through powerful imagery, words and adventure. She now participates and conducts expeditions in every ocean to alert the public not only to the challenges facing the oceans, but also to what science is doing to understand these changes.

Gaelin is a US Coast Guard Licensed Captain, and a Fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society, the Explorers Club and the Society of Women Geographers. She has published articles in scientific journals, newspapers and magazines and has delivered lectures at many institutions including the Explorers Club, Patagonia, Inc and Yale University. She has also appeared as a scientific consultant and angler on the National Geographic Channel Series, Fish Warrior. Her photography has been displayed in many exhibitions, including solo exhibitions at Duke University, The Maritime Aquarium and the Patagonia Upper West Side Store in NYC. To Gaelin, there is nothing better than being in the open ocean surrounded by endless blue water and passing wildlife.

3 words to describe Nature?

Alive. Complex. Powerful

3 things Nature taught you?

Resilience, the fragility and robustness of life

Respect

How everything in life is interconnected

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Montauk, New York

Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

The Antarctic Peninsula

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

At ease, the ocean is where I belong.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Curious

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Respectful

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Grateful

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Excited; there is nothing quite as powerful as watching and feeling a storm roll in. The first rumblings of thunder indicate that a storm is coming. When at sea, thunder takes on a different meaning as lightning is so dangerous when on a vessel, but on land, there are few things more rejuvenating than a thunderstorm.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Like a small speck on the earth

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Ocean

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10, if not more. Nature is everything.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

When I was 8 years old, I snorkeled for the first time in Bali, Indonesia. When I put my head under the water, the colors and movement were overwhelming to my senses. I already loved the ocean, but I will never forget this moment. It opened my eyes to the magic and the mysteries below the surface.


Charlene Chiang

CHARLENE CHIANG is the Vice President of Engagement at Ocean Wise. She is a strategic communicator with 20 years of progressive experience leveraging marketing, digital communications and public relations to position, enhance and protect organizational brands. She has earned 7 provincial and national awards for excellence in communications and is an avid participant with the International Association of Business Communicators.

From crisis management to enterprise-wide transformations, Charlene specializes in stakeholder engagement with a focus on shifting attitudes and aligning behaviours. Applying best practices in thought leadership and communications technology, Charlene has led the development and execution of strategic communications programs for some of Canada’s leading businesses and not-for-profit organizations, including McDonald’s Canada, Vancouver Coastal Health, City of Victoria, City of New Westminster and Coast Capital Savings. Since joining Ocean Wise in 2010, Charlene has led innovative media and digital campaigns that have elevated the brand as a storyteller by increasing national and international media impressions by 900 per cent and garnering extensive digital connections to drive attention to ocean conservation.

As Vice-President of Engagement, Charlene oversees a dynamic team of marketing, communications and digital content practice leaders, all working towards connecting 100 million people annually to ocean conservation. This aggressive goal aims to heighten awareness on ocean issues, engage people to care about their role, and inspire more action to protect aquatic life.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Inspiring. Majestic. Life.

3 things Nature taught you? 

Peace

Connectivity

Importance of diversity

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

Pacific Spirit Park

Pender Island

Haida Gwaii

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...? 

Joy

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...? 

Alive and part of a larger universe

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...? 

Amazed

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...? 

Comfort

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...? 

Engaged

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...? 

Intrigued

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

Ocean

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

One of my fondest memories as a child was when my parents would bring my brother and I to Harrison Hot Springs every year for a large family beach BBQ. We would spend the full day exploring the hot springs, rolling in the grass, and playing in the water until the sun would set. It was invigorating, exhausting and one of my favourite moments growing up. It taught me the importance of family, nature and the connection we all share.


Mark Tercek

MARK TERCEK is president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy, the global conservation organization known for its intense focus on collaboration and getting things done for the benefit of people and nature. He is the author of the Washington Post and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling book Nature’s Fortune:  How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature.

A former managing director and Partner for Goldman Sachs, where he spent 24 years, Mark brings deep business experience to his role leading the Conservancy. He is a champion of the idea of natural capital — valuing nature for its own sake as well as for the services it provides for people, such as clean air and water, productive soils and a stable climate.

In 2012, Mark was appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to serve on the New York State 2100 Commission, which was created in the wake of Superstorm Sandy to advise the governor and the state on how to make the state’s infrastructure more resilient to future storms. In 2016, Mark was appointed by President Barack Obama to the president's Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.

Mark is also a member of several boards and councils, including Resources for the Future, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED),Harvard Business School's Social Enterprise Initiative, and SNAPPTNC's science joint venture with UC Santa Barbara and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Drawing on his professional background in the financial sector, Mark is leading TNC’s impact capital initiative and serves as board chair of NatureVest.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Inspiring. Spiritual. Valuable

3 things Nature taught you? 

Interconnectedness. Shortcuts don’t work. We’re all (all species) in this together.

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

Very difficult - I lead The Nature Conservancy, so it is like asking me who is my favorite child. So I will answer: Mountains, Jungles & Oceans.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...? 

At peace

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...? 

Happy

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...? 

Respectful

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...? 

Calm, happy

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...? 

Like rain is coming.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Like I'm outside

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

All of the above

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory? 

Early in my TNC days and for various reasons, I was feeling stressed about my new job. I had to go to the Great Bear Rain Forest in British Columbia. My anxiety and stress vanished as soon as I arrived and took in the majesty, beauty and glory of the area. I also realized that I had myself a very good job!

Photograph by Emiliano Granado


Jennine Cohen

JENNINE COHEN is a the Managing Director of the Americas for GeoEx. A trusted adventure, luxury and travel expert, Jennine also supports travel conservation efforts. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the International Galápagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA) and has been featured in Travel & Leisure, Afar, Conde Nast Traveler, Vogue, YahooTravel, Fortune, Forbes, ABC, CBS, Travel Weekly, TravelAge West, Recommend Magazine, SmartMeetings, Travel Alliance Media and beyond.  Besides sending people traveling around the world, Cohen advises, coaches and helps small businesses, women entrepreneurs, healers, and business leaders to uncover their everyday magic.

3 words to describe Nature?

Peace, Pachamama, Purity

3 things Nature taught you?

Like nature, I am a force;

Hitting the reset button in nature = clarity;

No regrets for going bigger

3 most treasured Nature spots?

The South Yuba River, Nevada City,

Wrangell Saint Elias National Park – Alaska,

Dead Horse State Park - Utah

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

I want to be out there, in the waves instead of sitting on the shore

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Like everything is right in the world

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Mother Earth is amazing

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Like the days are precious – and we should appreciate and have gratitude for each uniquely beautiful day.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

At home

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Intrigued

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Mountain – but love them all deeply

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I didn’t have much exposure to the wilderness as a child, and my first real introduction was in college through UCLA’s Outdoor Leadership Program. My first backpacking trip with UCLA was through Sequoia National Forest – it was how I fell in love with the West.

I was surrounded on that trip by much more experienced peers who had spent their childhoods enjoying frequent family camping trips. I on the other hand, didn’t even know how to set up a tent – let alone use topo maps and a compass. Despite this, as we hiked through the mountains and under some of the largest trees on the planet, I felt a deep sense of satisfaction, calm, sense of purpose. Though I was an absolute beginner, but my unbounded excitement for my new found passion over time led to my competence in and eventual addiction to the outdoors. My life was forever changed after that trip, and my career in the adventure travel industry born.

Coincidentally, that same trip happened to fall over 9/11. We had been in the wilderness and seemed to be the last ones on the planet to find out about the terrorist attacks to the World Trade Center – emerging from the woods a full week after the tragic event. Not being surrounded by news all week likely shielded us from the high levels of stress and anxiety that the rest of the country was suffering from.

It is a good reminder about the importance of disconnecting from the noise of today’s anxiety inciting media – in order to intuitively return to the abundance of calm and clarity.


Ru Mahoney

RU MAHONEY is a freelance Science Impact Producer based in Seattle, WA. She works at the nexus of conservation, education, and storytelling to catalyze interdisciplinary approaches to increasing science literacy and engaging public audiences. Her research on science communication has been supported by the National Science Foundation, and she has been a contributor to Jackson Hole WILD, Science Media Awards and Summit in the HUB, Utah Public Radio, TEDxHunstville, and the National Children's Forest program. Ru is currently a research and impact production consultant on two feature-length documentaries.

3 words to describe Nature?

Primal. Nostalgic. Restorative.

3 things Nature taught you?

That change is inevitable, that those who adapt thrive, and that if you make Nature your home you can be at home anywhere.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Lake Superior is powerful. I spent a lot of summers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. If I could buy a lake cottage tomorrow, it would be somewhere along the coast of Superior.

The west coast of Scotland is stunning. My father's family emigrated from there, so I'm a little biased. But there's a reason the drive from Glencoe to the Isle of Skye is world-famous. I'll keep going back as long as I'm living. It's all my favorite colors and landscapes in a beautiful day's drive. Even if it's cold and rainy, which is often.

Pololu Valley on The Big Island in Hawai`i is worth getting up before dawn for. It's wild north shore waves, stacked mountain cliffs, and moss covered trees all in one. Plus the trail down gives a perfect vantage for watching the sunrise so the sea cliffs slide through gradients of pink and gray light. It's really special.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Dangerously prone to immediate wanderlust.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Present. This is my happy place and where I go if I need clarity and peace.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Insignificant. I recently had the chance to be very close to gushing lava and my reaction was surprisingly visceral. I often feel a sense of belonging to nature. Like it knows me, and if I'm respectful I will be safeguarded. (That's not really true of course, but that feeling makes me careful but brave.) With the lava I felt a strong sense of not belonging. It was an interesting first for me.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Really conscious of time passing, and a determination to make the most of it.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Calm. Happy calm. That might sound counter-intuitive, but I grew up in Florida where thunder was frequent. I think it triggers a sense of nostalgia and well-being for me. It's definitely the best soundtrack to sleep to.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Introspective. Like change might be coming, either outside or inside myself.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Mostly forest for sure, but forest near the ocean. The smell of salt in the air is one of those simple things that make me feel grounded and deeply satisfied. I recently moved to the Pacific Northwest and I can't get enough of being near beautiful forests that smell like salt and earth. It's definitely where I feel most like myself.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10! It's an enormous part of my identity and the catalyst for most of my self-knowledge.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

My family spent quite a lot of time outdoors. My parents where both school teachers and we lived out of a van in the summers, usually heading north to the Boundary Waters, into Canada, sometimes taking trains further north when there weren't any roads to take. I didn't know the term "dirtbagger" then, but we were living that lifestyle to the max every summer of my life. It fundamentally shaped who I am.

One summer we were camping near Au Train, MI and there were northern lights. I was pretty young - maybe six or seven? - but I remember my parents waking me up and giving me a big blanket to wrap up in. Then my dad put me up on top of our van and I remember sitting up on the roof watching the aurora and thinking the world was full of magic.