Spotlights Central Cascades
Washington State Tourism will officially unveil the new National Geographic Geotourism Mapguide of the Central Cascades.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Public geotourism presentation: “The Importance of
Geotourism and Sustainable Travel” presentation by Dr. John Francis,
Vice President for Research, Conservation, and Exploration at the
National Geographic Society
Washington Mutual Foundation Room, Seattle Central Public Library, 1000 Fourth Avenue, Seattle 98104
Washington State Tourism, Travel Oregon, National Geographic and members of the Central Cascades geotourism community
Please order your complimentary ticket(s) on or before Jan. 20 in the Ticket Information window above.
In May 2008, Washington State Tourism and Travel Oregon entered a partnership with the National Geographic Society to advance geotourism in the Central Cascades region. This is a pilot sustainable tourism project for both states.
The purpose of this pilot
project is to highlight geotourism assets within a region that
stretches from Mount Rainier in the north to Crater Lake to the south,
west to Interstate 5 and east to Highway 97 and, by doing so, support
the region in growing a healthy tourism industry that is beneficial to
the place, the environment and the people that reside there.
Geotourism is "tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place – its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents."
Mapguide is a large format, two-sided, fold out National Geographic map of the Central Cascades region, which calls out the unique geological, cultural and recreational attractions that define the region and make it unique.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC GUEST SPEAKER, DR. JOHN FRANCIS
Dr. John Francis serves as Vice President for Research, Conservation, and Exploration at the National Geographic Society, directing funding of these disciplines through the Committee for Research and Exploration, the Conservation Trust, and the Expeditions Council. Francis also oversees the Society’s Center for Sustainable Destinations promoting the concept of geotourism and a more holistic view of tourism as a motive force for enhancing values of place. Francis’s professional career is rooted in wildlife biology and a deep commitment to communication of the potent ties between humans and the rest of the natural world. He has fashioned his interests and expertise into successful turns as a scientist, wildlife filmmaker, and current leader of the Society’s storied research and exploration arm.
He began his professional career as a behavioral ecologist at age 19 and over the next fifteen years, studied more than half of the seal and sea lion species living today. During this time he earned a B.S. from the University of Washington (Magna cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa), a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and spent five years as a postdoctoral fellow and research associate at the Smithsonian Institution. His research took him around the world to Australia, Canada, Mexico, Chile, New Zealand, Hawaii, California, Alaska, and Argentina. This period also saw Dr. Francis receive two research grants from the National Geographic Society that allowed him to study the little-known Juan Fernandez fur seal on the islands where the Robinson Crusoe tale was born. This work led to a film on the subject which captured the interest of National Geographic and opened the door to filmmaking.
For Francis, the power of the film media to stir conservation action was an attractive lure. He began a six-year stint with National Geographic Television and Film in 1993, working on a variety of subjects from chimps to tigers to coyotes. By the end of his tenure, he was producing films closer to his expertise on blue whales, seals, and sharks. Dr. Francis was also able, during this time, to serve on the Committee for Research and Exploration, offering expertise on marine mammal science and serving as a conduit to National Geographic media.
In 1999, Dr. Francis became the Executive Director of the Committee for Research and Exploration and led the creation of the Conservation Trust in 2001 to focus grant making on identifying the most urgent natural resource issues and working toward solutions. A reorganization of Mission Programs in 2003 led to his appointment as Vice President and the addition of the Expeditions Council, NGS/Waitt Grants and Young Explorers Grants programs, as well as the Center for Sustainable Destinations to his responsibilities. Francis also oversaw the Remote Imaging Lab, helped develop its Crittercam, and deployed it on blue whales and fur seals, ultimately featuring their marine perspective through National Geographic media worldwide. He is particularly active in incorporating new communication tools, including National Geographic’s LandScope, Planetary Action Atlas, Geotourism Mapguides, and BioBlitzes to empower grass roots enterprise which can now reach the highest levels and thus motivate global change around the planet.
Outside of his National Geographic Society responsibilities, Francis serves on the US National Park System Advisory Board, the Commission for Education and Communications of the IUCN, and the US National Commission for UNESCO. Through these and other roles Dr. Francis is uniquely positioned to ensure that the knowledge gleaned from the Society’s research and expeditions grants and the perspectives of other organizations he serves are shared with the public through the vast reach of National Geographic.