Telling Scientific Stories with National Geographic


Participants of the Sciencetelling Bootcamp.

Written by: Daniela Vilema and Paola Diaz


A National Geographic team arrived in Galapagos for four days to run a Story Telling Bootcamp directed to our staff members and other organisations that work for conservation in the archipelago. This intensive course included, public speaking, video production techniques, photography and writing including practical exercises.

The first day the international expert Liza Witter provided excellent tools and practical advice on public speaking based on behavioral techniques. Her inspiring stories provided the inspiration for group exercises to pitch who we were and what we do. At the end of the first day we had the opportunity to have a social gathering at the Finch Bay Hotel which offered networking opportunities for all participants.

Bootcamp1-web.jpgActivity developed by Lisa Witter at the CDRS facilities. Photo by: Paola Díaz

Anand Varma, National Geographic photographer showed us his cover photo and told us about his experience. Gave us ten suggestions on how to tell stories through photographs. We had a practical session at the Research Station grounds based on his suggestions and mentoring.

Carolyn Barnwell showed us ten tricks to share our stories through videos. We received selfie sticks to practice. Carolyn showed us how to use a phone app – Adobe Clip to produce short video stories. The beach outside of our offices was our playground for these activities.

Bootcamp2-web.jpgCarolyn and participants of the bootcamp filming videos in the Ratonera beach at the CDRS. Photo by: Paola Diaz

The last day of the workshop, David Braun the Editorial Director of Voices, the National Geographic blog for communities gave us tips on how to write stories and we were all able to draft texts and had David review our writing. The stories of each participant reflected the great effort that the different members of each organization do to work for the conservation of this unique place on earth. We are sharing the stories from CDF team members that have already been published in Voices.

Bootcamp3-web.jpgDavid Braun in his presentation about telling stories through writing techniques. Photo by: Paola Díaz

Aurora Elmore, Program Officer, A Changing Planet for National Geographic showed us the opportunities offered to d individuals interested in different areas of conservation. There is different grants and programs that fund interesting projects and individuals. Finally Jen Shook gave us advice in how to use social networks and messaging in effective ways using the current tools.

We want to thank all the National Geographic team that came to Galapagos and inspired our team so much to excel in Story Telling. We hope to see you again in coming years!