Adventurers Host Slideshow on Campus - Humboldt State Now

Adventurers Host Slideshow on Campus

National Geographic photographer Michael "Nick" Nichols and ecologist J. Michael Fay of National Geographic and the Wildlife Conservation Society will host a free slideshow and lecture -- The Last Place on Earth -- Friday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Humboldt State University's John Van Duzer Theater.

The Last Place on Earth, their two-volume book released in 2005, illustrates central African forests before “their greatness succumbs to the inexorable nibble of humanity,” as Fay puts it — all via Nichol’s stunning extreme-condition photography and ecologist Fay’s handwritten journal of the arduous expedition.

“Our goal was to preserve a uniquely spectacular and precious hunk of territory — a great sweep of continuous forest and swamp stretching from the northeastern border of the Republic of Congo to Gabon’s virgin shore,” said Fay. “This is a place unmatched in its pageant and scope of tropical wildness — the last place on earth.” Today as a result of their work, 13 national parks were created in the nation of Gabon, protecting a total 11,300 square miles, or 11 percent of that country’s land — including some of the most pristine tropical rainforests on earth — from loggers, bush meat traders, and ivory poachers. Over 12 years of conservation work in Central Africa climaxed when Gabon ‘s President Bongo viewed Nichols’s powerful images — directly inspiring the establishment of the parks.

During the lecture at HSU, Nichols and Fay will describe their grueling 456-day, 2000-mile “mega transect” through teeming swamps and forests, home to forest elephants, lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, and Pygmy people, uninfected by outside culture.

Nichols will demonstrate his use of infrared camera traps, tree stands, and ropes, which he used to capture an intimacy with the wildlife of the Central African Republic, Congo, and Gabon — from surfing hippos and sunbathing buffalos, to expressive gorillas and agitated elephants.

“With passion and sensitivity, Nick Nichols has made photographs in Africa that have inspired leaders and common folks alike to make courageous decisions to save wild places for future generations,” said Chris Johns, editor at National Geographic.

Fay, whose scout skills, stamina, and grit are legendary, will excerpt his handwritten journal of the difficult expedition, recounting threats by armed poachers, their experiences with disease, as well as moments of despair and moments of utter rapture. His journal will be illustrated by Nichols’s stark black-and-white images.

For more information, contact Mark Larson in HSU’s Journalism and Mass Communication Department, (707) 826-5925 or mal2@humboldt.edu.