There are just 2 weeks left to get your application in for the WildChina Explorer Grant 2016. Prepare your application today and don’t miss out on the chance to win $5000 to help you make an impact through exploration.
To provide some inspiration for your submission, here are the proposals of our first applicants.
American born photographer Aaron Berkovich and journalist Jiehao Chen aspire to discover the Tastes of the Tribes on a journey that will take them deep into the provinces of Yunnan, Sichuan and Xinjiang.
For Aaron, nothing brings people together like food. Since moving to China, he has seen first-hand how China’s long and complex history brings with it a variety of dishes that leaves its mark on the taste buds of both residents and visitors. With the world constantly changing the way in which people deal with traditional culture, Aaron seeks to embark on a journey that will take a step back in time, and into the kitchens of cultural stewards. Aaron will document the ﬂavors and aromas that emerge from the recipes of ethnic minority ancestors and by doing this, allow a wider audience to better understand ethnic culture and identity. Aaron and Jiehao will document their journey by producing a short video documentary and a photobook complete with recipes in an attempt to preserve these precious traditions.
WildChina: Now that every inch of earth has been trodden upon, what does it mean to be an explorer today?
Aaron: It used to be that exploration was being the ﬁrst person in a new land, plant a ﬂag and proclaim “I am here”. While this does take humanity to the edges of our earth, it does not provide true understanding of culture and society. Explorers today need to delve into the lingering questions and answer the whys and hows of our existence. Explorers today are stewards of history and culture, and are essential to document and provide record of the world as things have been and as they are now, in order to preserve these assets for future generations.
German born Irina Muschik’s project Tracing the roots of endangered Gobi Bears in the Mongolian Gobi Desert will take her beyond China to the remote village of Bayantoorai in Mongolia.
Since childhood, Irina has had a passion for wildlife and nature. She studied wildlife biology in Germany and worked as a small carnivore researcher before becoming a self-confessed ‘modern nomad’. Irina became particularly interested in the nomadic culture of Mongolia and the way that nomads interact with nature. With support from the WildChina Explorer Grant, Irina aims to research the world’s only desert-dwelling bear – the Mazaalai as the Mongolians call him. A critically endangered species with a population of between 25 and 40, Irina aspires to research and help conserve the bear’s fragile habitat. For Irina, education is paramount in protecting the natural habitat of endangered species. Throughout her project she plans to publish regular blogposts about the project’s development. On completion of the project, she will publish her results in scientific journals and present her findings to the Mongolian scientific community and a number of NGOs.
WildChina: One person’s exploration can affect more than just themselves. What does an explorer bring back to their home community?
Irina: When I visited home after having travelled for more than a year I experienced that I can shape the way people see the world. This is a very powerful tool and one has to be responsible. During their travels, explorers like me usually learn that almost all human beings are peaceful, kind and hospitable and that hatred becomes obsolete. I told this to my friends and observed how they changed their way of looking at neighbours or strangers. They realized that we are all just human beings with the same basic needs – food, shelter, love.
Download an application pack for the WildChina Explorer Grant 2016 here