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Nainoa Thompson Receives Hubbard Medal – National Geographic’s Highest Honor

Today, an extraordinary group of individuals were honored by the National Geographic Society at the 2016 Explorer Awards, presented by Rolex.

Nainoa Thompson received the National Geographic Society’s oldest and most prestigious honor, the Hubbard Medal, for his outstanding contributions to scientific research, exploration and conservation.

Nainoa Thompson and Meave Leakey receive the National Geographic Society’s oldest and most prestigious honor, the Hubbard Medal, for their outstanding contributions to scientific research, exploration and conservation at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. on June 16, 2016. Photo by Randall Scott/National Geographic Society

Nainoa Thompson and Meave Leakey receive the National Geographic Society’s oldest and most prestigious honor, the Hubbard Medal, for their outstanding contributions to scientific research, exploration and conservation at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. on June 16, 2016. Photo by Randall Scott/National Geographic Society

A master in the traditional Polynesian art of non-instrument navigating known as “wayfinding,” Thompson revived the ancient practice while advocating for ocean conservation and a sustainable future for our planet.

THE HUBBARD MEDAL

Named for the National Geographic Society’s first president, Gardiner Greene Hubbard, the Hubbard Medal is given in recognition of a lifetime of achievement in exploration, discovery and research. In 1906, Robert E. Peary was the first to receive the Hubbard Medal for his exploration of the Arctic. This year’s recipients, Meave Leakey and Nainoa Thompson, will join the ranks of distinguished honorees, including Charles Lindbergh, John Glenn and Jane Goodall, among others.

Nainoa Thompson

Charles Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, is an expert in the ancient Pacific Island tradition of wayfinding, a non-instrument method of navigating on long ocean voyages using the stars, swells and natural elements as guides. The first native Hawaiian to practice wayfinding since the 14th century, he studied under Micronesian master navigator Pius Mau Piailug of Satawal, Yap.

In the 1970s, Thompson was part of an important movement among young Hawaiians committed to restoring cultural pride. He has since dedicated his life to teaching wayfinding to future generations, developing a method that combines the tenets of ancient Pacific navigation with modern science, fostering a renewed interest in Hawaiian heritage.

Nearly 40 years ago, Thompson made history when he navigated Hōkūleʻa, a traditional double-hulled voyaging canoe, 2,500 nautical miles from Hawaiʻi to Tahiti relying entirely on the art of Polynesian wayfinding.

Today, Hōkūleʻa is on a three-year, 60,000-nautical-mile expedition around the world. The sail, known as the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, aims to encourage the global community to live sustainably by drawing upon the wisdom and teachings of ancient Polynesian culture. Upon its completion, the voyage will stop in 100 ports, 27 nations and 12 UNESCO Marine World Heritage sites. Along the way, Hōkūleʻa and her crew have met with a number of global peace and marine conservation leaders, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle.

Thompson is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi, where he received a bachelor’s degree in ocean science. A member of the Ocean Elders, he is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in Exploration; the Unsung Hero of Compassion, presented by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama on behalf of the organization Wisdom in Action; and the Native Hawaiian Education Association’s Manomano Ka ‘Ike (Depth and Breadth of Knowledge) Educator of the Year Award.

Draining the Pacific Ocean

Draining the Pacific Ocean reveals a mountain larger than Everest and a new Hawaiian island on the rise.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/ZvpZ0pNWxAU]

National Geographic – On Kilauea’s Violent Side

Hawaii’s tourist-friendly Kilauea volcano is famous for its lazy rivers of lava (Kilauea volcano lava pictures).

But a new report says the volcano, known as the world’s most active, has a violent alter ego.

The coastal volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii is capable of much stronger eruptions than previously thought, according to the study.

“It turns out that the volcano—known for being this nice, gentle volcano [where] you can walk up to lava flows just wearing flip-flops—has a very dangerous side,” said study co-author Tim Rose, a volcanologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Kilauea’s violent side was revealed by a layer of tephra—volcanic ash and rocks—extending many miles from the volcano.

The tephra, the scientists determined, erupted some time between 1,000 and 1,600 years ago, when it apparently was blasted high enough into the air that today it would be a hazard to passenger jets.

“It threw golf ball-size rocks out to a distance of about 16 or 17 kilometers [10 to 11 miles],” said Donald Swanson, a volcanologist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, who was also involved in the study, published in the May/June issue of the Geological Society of America Bulletin.