April 22 & 23, 2016
In today's interconnected world, it is no longer enough for scientists to simply publish their findings in academic journals. Writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers and other storytellers are increasingly seen as essential collaborators in scientific exploration. These storytellers help explain not only how scientific research is conducted but, critically, what it means for society.

Join us for the Science & Storytelling Symposium, an interdisciplinary event hosted by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies on April 22-23, 2016.


Gary Knell President & CEO National Geographic
David Quammen Contributing Writer National Geographic


Greater Yellowstone Migrations

For the past two years, Arthur Middleton `07 MEM and Joe Riis have used science and photojournalism to document elk migrations throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Their project, which also includes artist James Prosek, has generated strong interest in the migrations and serves as an example for other interdisciplinary collaborations. It will be featured in the May 2016 issue of National Geographic Magazine and at a new museum exhibit, Invisible Boundaries, opening at the Buffalo Bill Center in Cody, Wyoming and the National Geographic headquarters later this spring. Elk River, a documentary film by Jenny Nichols about the Greater Yellowstone Migrations, is scheduled to premiere this year at the Telluride Film Festival.

Arthur Middleton Associate Research Scientist Yale School of Forestry
 & Environmental Studies
Joe Riis Wildlife Photojournalist National Geographic

Art Show

James Prosek • American Elk (Wyoming) • 2016 • 56 x 90 inches (diptych)

Starting Thursday April 21st, the works of artist James Prosek and photographer Joe Riis will be on display at Kroon Hall, 3rd Floor, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.


  • Master's Tea Davenport College

    With David QuammenContributing Writer, National Geographic

  • Young Explorers Grants Program Workshop Lecture Hall, Osborn Memorial Laboratories

    An introduction to National Geographic and its role in supporting exploration, research, and conservation. Outstanding young explorer grantees will present their projects and their future plans in the field. The panel will offer advice on the elements of a good grant application and why many applications miss the mark. Refreshments and networking with National Geographic grantees and staff follow the presentations. (Sign-in begins at 1:30)

    Register with National Geographic to Attend
  • Keynote Address Burke Auditorium, Kroon Hall

    Gary Knell President & CEO, National Geographic Society

  • All events held at Burke Auditorium, Kroon Hall, 3rd Floor,
    Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
    Register for the Saturday Session
  • Registration and Continental Breakfast
  • Welcome Address

    Jamie Shreeve Deputy Editor in Chief, National Geographic

  • Framing Perceptions:
    Artistic Representations of Nature

    Long collaborators in scientific exploration, artists both reflect and influence our cultural perceptions of nature. But how do such collaborations really work? What should be the role of the artist in scientific inquiry? And how can artists help promote richer understandings of the natural world and our place in it?

    • James Prosek Artist
    • Jennifer Raab Assistant Professor, Yale Department of History of Art
    • Marty Schnure Founder and Art Director, Maps for Good

    Moderated by Jock Reynolds Director, Yale University Art Gallery

  • Break
  • Morality and Meaning in a Contested Landscape

    In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, clashes over wildlife, energy, and land use create stories that are often difficult to unpack and understand. What are some of the underlying causes of these conflicts, and how do storytellers dissect and explain not only what is happening, but also why and what it means for society?

    • Justin Farrell Assistant Professor, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
    • Stephanie Paige Ogburn `07 MESC Freelance Journalist
    • Jenny Nichols Filmmaker; Principal, Pongo Media

    Moderated by Fred Strebeigh Senior Lecturer, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

  • Lunch
  • Making Science Accessible Through Storytelling

    There is an increasing realization that stories — not just data — are essential to communicating scientific research. But in a world inundated with stories, how can scientists make their work both heard and relevant to diverse audiences?

    • Carl Zimmer Columnist, New York Times
    • Gary Machlis `79 PhD Science Advisor to the Director, National Park Service
    • Gregory McGruder Vice President for Public Programs, National Geographic

    Moderated by David Skelly Oastler Professor of Ecology, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies; Director, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

  • Break
  • Plenary - Greater Yellowstone Migrations
    • Arthur Middleton `07 MEM Associate Research Scientist, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
    • Joe Riis Wildlife Photojournalist, National Geographic

    Introduction by Oswald Schmitz Oastler Professor of Population and Community Ecology, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies; Director, Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies

  • Break
  • Keynote Address

    David Quammen Contributing Writer, National Geographic


All-day Registration for Saturday Sessions