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NG Weekend: Ethiopia's Omo Valley

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This week on National Geographic Weekend radio, host Boyd Matson speaks with guests about Ethiopia's Omo Valley, tree kangaroos, environmentally responsible travel, killing vampires, Japanese gardens, biogas digesters, prison choirs, the freshwater crisis, finding your inner nomad in Mongolia, and National Geographic Explorer's 25th anniversary.

Hour 1

  • Ethiopia’s Omo Valley is a place still ruled by ritual and revenge. But change is coming, from upriver. Writer Neil Shea spent three months in Ethiopia living with the people of the Omo Valley in order to write the article “Africa’s Last Frontier” for the March 2010 issue of National Geographic magazine. Shea joins Boyd in the studio to talk about his experience and the changes confronting southern Ethiopia.

  • Dr. Lisa Dabek is the director of the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program based at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA. Dabek recently traveled to Papua New Guinea with members of the National Geographic CritterCam team to fit the elusive tree kangaroo with a camera. The team was successful and as Dabek tells Boyd, the breathtaking treetop footage is already answering many questions about the mysterious kangaroos.

  • Want to take a vacation and do good at the same time? Dominique Callimanopulos is here to help. Callimanopulos is the founder and CEO of Elevate Destinations, a boutique travel company specializing in high quality, environmentally responsible travel and philanthropy. Callimanopulos tells Boyd about voluntourism and the opportunities Elevate Destinations offers.

  • How do you kill a vampire? Garlic, a crucifix, a stake through the heart? Perhaps a brick in the mouth, according to Vampire Forensics, a new National Geographic book by author Mark Jenkins. Vampire Forensics draws on the latest science as well as anthropological and archaeological research to explore the origins of vampire stories. An accompanying television program, Explorer: Vampire Forensics, is airing on the National Geographic Channel. (Learn more about Vampire Forensics on Nat Geo News Watch and here on BlogWild.)

  • Take a deep breath and relax: National Geographic News editor David Braun joins Boyd to talk about the calming nature of Japanese gardens.

Hour 2

  • National Geographic Emerging Explorer T.H. Culhane is using biogas digesters to turn garbage into fuel, providing poor communities with a clean and environmentally friendly way to generate cooking and heating gas and electricity. Funded by the first Blackstone Innovation Challenge Grant, Culhane is now working with fellow NG Emerging Explorer Katy Walter Anthony to use microbes that will improve cold-season efficiency in biogas digesters.

  • Filmmaker Michael Davie joins Boyd to talk about his new film The Choir, which received glowing reviews on the film festival circuit in 2008. The Choir is a documentary about a unique program for prisoners in South Africa that uses prison choir groups as a rehabilitation tool.

  • 2009 Geotourism Challenge finalist Zanjan Fromer is the founder and executive director of Ger to Ger. Fromer joins Boyd in the studio to talk geotourism in Mongolia and how you too can be a nomad in the Gobi Desert.

  • Boyd celebrates the 25th anniversary of the National Geographic Explorer television series by recalling the many bumps and bruises he received while hosting the program for nine years.

Tune in to National Geographic Weekend on the Salem Radio Network or on XM/Sirius satellite radio (XM channel 133 Sundays at noon), subscribe to the iTunes podcast, or get the show streamed to your iPhone, Blackberry, Palm, or Android OS phone with Stitcher Radio.

Photograph of Ethiopia's Omo River by Randy Olson

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