artist rendering of wachholz college center performance hall
Aug 7, 2022
NBC Montana

National Geographic Speaker Series Planned in Kalispell

By NBC Montana Staff

The Wachholz College Center at Flathead Valley Community College presents a National Geographic Live speaker series that will give audiences insight into behind-the-scenes content.

The event will run November through April.

For more information visit the Wachholz website.

FVCC released the following speakers and schedule:

In its inaugural 2022-2023 season, the Wachholz College Center is proud to present the National Geographic Live speaker series in the Flathead Valley. The National Geographic Live speaker series gives audiences incredible insight and behindthescenes stories straight from National Geographic's photographers, scientists, filmmakers and adventurers. Each event takes place live on the McClaren Hall stage, accompanied by iconic National Geographic footage and unforgettable imagery.

Subscription packages for all five events go on sale Wednesday, August 3 at 10am and start at just $29 per event. Single tickets for each individual event will go on sale Thursday, September 8 at 10am and start at just $38 per event. For more information visit

The inaugural 2022-2023 National Geographic Live speaker series brings these five extraordinary speakers and topics to the McClaren Hall stage at the Wachholz College Center:

Alicia Odewale – Greenwood: A Century of Resilience

Thursday, November 17, 2022

A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, archaeologist Alicia Odewale is uncovering stories of resilience in the hundred years since the attack on Black Wall Street in the city’s historic Greenwood district. Considered one of the worst episodes of racial violence committed against Black people in American history, the Tulsa Race Massacre left a devastating toll on generations of survivors and their descendants and impacted the very footprint of the district itself.

In support of her new research project, “Mapping Historical Trauma in Tulsa from 19212021,” Dr. Odewale has been reexamining historical and archaeological evidence of the period—focusing not on the attack itself, but instead on the community’s trauma and triumph in its aftermath. From documenting the personal stories of Greenwood’s residents to mapping the evidence of their resilience, Dr. Odewale’s work illuminates a new perspective on the impact of racism and racial violence in America, through the lens of a community that continues to survive against all odds. Join her to discover how archaeology can be used as a tool for recovering lost stories, reclaiming a narrative, and pursuing restorative justice.

Rae WynnGrant – The Secret Life of Bears

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Rae WynnGrant is dedicated to wildlife ecology research, but it wasn’t until life brought her to Kenya at age 20 that she had ever taken a hike, pitched a tent to camp, or seen a wild animal. While there, she studied East African lions—top carnivores that live in close quarters with local communities—and observed that problematic interactions between the two groups threatened conservation efforts. Now, Dr. WynnGrant is finding similar patterns for North American black and grizzly bears.

As a scientist with the National Geographic Society’s Last Wild Places Initiative, Dr. WynnGrant works to protect and restore iconic wildlife populations—grizzly bears, bison, pronghorn, cougars, and more. But there’s an obstacle: roads, fences, and cattle ranches crisscross the habitat of these wideranging animals. Dr. WynnGrant studies the movements and behaviors of the bears in an effort to find ways to improve the relationship between local communities and the powerful wildlife that surround them. Join this committed carnivore ecologist for a fascinating look inside the secret lives of bears and a report from the front lines of the mission to help humans and carnivores coexist peacefully.

Bryan Smith – Capturing the Impossible

Thursday, February 23, 2023

For extreme filmmaker Bryan Smith, the line between going for it and going too far is often blurry— especially when you’re exploring the earth’s most remote environments. In this edge-of-your-seat presentation, Bryan shows you what it means to adventure with purpose, and why he believes the best expeditions are the ones with a healthy chance of failure. He's faced machete-wielding locals in Papua New Guinea, suffered frostbite during the first-ever ice climb of Niagara Falls, explored the South Pacific’s deepest canyons, and scaled North America’s tallest mountains to bring you behind the scenes and capture the impossible.

Kenny Broad – Extreme Cave Diving: Exploring the Bahamas’ Blue Holes

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Dr. Kenny Broad, National Geographic’s Explorer of the Year for 2011, is also an accomplished cave explorer. He pursues this extreme and dangerous occupation not for sport, but to gain valuable insights into the freshwater world beneath our feet. A witty and entertaining speaker and committed scientist, Broad uses his research to study climate change and groundwater pollution to help better manage freshwater resources.

Largely unexplored, unimaginably beautiful, and considered among the most hazardous places to dive, the flooded caves, or “blue holes” of the Bahamas, are a potential treasure trove of scientific knowledge. Broad leads scientific expeditions to these dangerous but fascinating environments, making discoveries with implications for fields as diverse as microbiology, archaeology, and even astrophysics.

“Underwater caves may just look like dark, eerie holes, but they can be critical reservoirs of clean fresh drinking water and are integral to the health of the surrounding habitats,” says Broad. “Exploring these caves, the innerspace where the highly vulnerable freshwater and marine environments meet beneath our feet, allows me to combine my intellectual interests with my need for adventure; hopefully, in the process, helping to reduce the negative impacts on our natural resources.” Join him as he shares the adventure and science of exploring this incredible underwater world, as seen in the August 2010 issue of National Geographic.

Andy Mann – From Summit to Sea

Thursday, April 27. 2023

Awardwinning filmmaker and photographer Andy Mann combines his passions with purpose as a voice for the world’s oceans, following scientists to some of the most extreme locations on the planet in the hope of inspiring change.

Mann’s journey from rock climber to ocean storyteller involves some remarkable detours and misadventures that prove that field science can be every bit as thrilling as the climbing adventures of his past. He has dived alongside crocodiles, sperm whales, and sharks and survived near misses with icebergs, all in pursuit of his ultimate goal: to shed light on Earth’s incredible ocean environments and advocate for their protection. He now spends over 100 days a year at sea, documenting cutting-edge marine science and telling the story of our rapidly changing planet—covering all seven continents for National Geographic.