Each year, the National Geographic Society recognizes and elevates a group of individuals who are leading a new age of exploration through science, education, conservation, technology, and storytelling. These individuals have proven themselves as the next generation of influential leaders, communicators, and innovators whose critical work demonstrates the power of science, and inspires us to learn about, care for, and protect our world.
Recipients of the 2022 Wayfinder Award – previously called the Emerging Explorer Award – are engaged in groundbreaking work that challenges the most entrenched stereotypes in the animal kingdom, focuses on inclusive and community-based conservation, blends social justice with ecological scientific research, and promotes racial literacy in education. These incredible individuals use new technology, research, photography, and impactful storytelling among other techniques to advocate for and protect the wonder of our world.
This year, three Mexicans – conservation biologist Carlos Velazco, photographer Yael Martínez and visual artist Mónica Alcázar-Duarte – appeared on the list of the 15 most distinguished people for their inclusive initiatives that seek to close the gaps in social inequality.
Meet Mexico’s 2022 National Geographic Wayfinder Award Winners
Carlos Velazco is a Mexican-born biodiversity consultant seeking to work on behalf of nature and biodiversity through education and the use of citizen science tools.
Velazco has documented more than 5,600 species (including undescribed species) and has logged more than 24,300 observations on iNaturalist while helping other users make more than 131,000 identifications.
Yael Martínez was born in Guerrero and studied at the San Agustín Center for the Arts, in Oaxaca, where he still teaches. The Mexican photographer has been documenting the reality of the state with his lens for just over 10 years and presenting it through his own narrative.
As we well know, Guerrero is one of the entities most affected by violence in the country, mainly due to drug trafficking, corruption, and extreme poverty in various regions. His photography often reflects the sense of emptiness, absence, and pain suffered by those affected by organized crime.
Originally from Mexico City, Monica currently lives and works in the United Kingdom. She studied Performance Design, Film, and Documentary Photography. Her photobook, Your photos could be used by drug dealers, was purchased in 2014 for the book collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Yale University Gallery, and the Joan Flasch Collection at the Arts Institute of Chicago.
In 2017 she received the Magnum Graduate Photographer Award and The Photographers’ Gallery Bar-Tur Photobook Award. Her latest work, Possible Landscapes, is a participatory peace-building project aimed at youth in post-conflict countries.
About the National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education, and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 15,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories, and content.
Source: National Geographic