National Geographic's Ford Cochran leads 21CF on an Earth Day tour of America's National Parks

As part of 21st Century Fox's Earth Day celebrations, Fox colleagues in LA were treated to a special presentation by Ford Cochran, renowned geologist, journalist, educator and director of programming at National Geographic Expeditions. Cochran, who has dedicated his career to the exploration and protection of parks, took attendees on a visual journey through some of the United States' most iconic national parks, accompanied by the stunning photography for which National Geographic is known. National Geographic is currently running its Power of Parks campaign, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

"In this park service centennial year we owe it to ourselves to discover or rediscover these natural wonders," said Cochran. "The parks are sanctuaries for wildlife but they are also sanctuaries for the human spirit. They are exciting, inspiring and beautiful. They connect to the natural world and remind us of our place in it."

The centerpiece of Cochran's presentation was a striking photo expedition through America's National Parks, from the Florida Everglades to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Drawing on his years of experience working with Nat Geo field teams in parks and marine sanctuaries, Cochran also detailed the extensive conservation efforts currently active at many of the parks, including how employees themselves could get involved.

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"The national parks have been called America's best idea, and throughout our history National Geographic has celebrated the parks and supported their creation and expansion," said Cochran. "More than a century ago Gilbert H. Grosvenor, the first full time editor of National Geographic Magazine, joined a camping trip hosted by Stephen Mather, who would become the first director of the U.S. National Park Service. Grosvenor devoted the entire April 1916 National Geographic magazine issue to a celebration of the parks and here we are today devoting an entire issue to Yellowstone, the world's first national park and demonstrating that National Geographic's commitment to the national parks has never lapsed."

National Geographic magazine is devoting its May issue to Yellowstone, including an in-depth look at the founding of the park, highlights from the park's wildlife conservation efforts, and how tourism is affecting the park's ecosystems. In addition to a feature series in the magazine and a dedicated issue of the National Geographic Kids magazine, the organization's yearlong Power of Parks campaign includes parks programming on the National Geographic Channels, an Explore the Power of Parks web portal featuring the latest news, photos, travel guides, maps, and educational resources, and National Geographic Expeditions to national parks.

National Geographic has also published several new books on national parks this year, including an updated edition of the best-selling National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States and the accompanying National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide USA, which Cochran gave out to employees during his presentation.

Find out what you can do to help National Geographic protect our National Parks, and start planning your next park adventure with the help of Nat Geo's Parks Travel Guide.

National Geographic Partners is a joint venture between National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox.

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Event photos by Geoff Mau