Writers, photographers and scientists are available for interviews Jan. 15-Feb. 14 (see specifics below).
THE POLYGAMISTS (cover story), by Scott Anderson, photographed by Stephanie Sinclair (Page 34) Few Americans had heard of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) — a polygamous offshoot of the Mormon Church — before April 2008, when law enforcement officials raided a remote compound in Texas known as the Yearning for Zion Ranch. The spectacle exposed a paradox: a place where church members find old-fashioned devotion and neighborly cooperation, but where critics find an isolated cult whose members are brainwashed by rigid social control. Writer Scott Anderson and photographer Stephanie Sinclair were granted exclusive access to the FLDS communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., where they documented life in a society where men have numerous wives and the women’s primary role is to bear as many children as possible to build the “celestial family” that will remain together for eternity. Anderson is available for interviews.
ONE CUBIC FOOT, by Edward O. Wilson, photographed by David Liittschwager (Page 62) Photographer David Liittschwager undertook an intriguing experiment, traveling to four disparate environments to capture the life found within a single cubic foot. The result: thousands of individual organisms. Pulitzer Prize winner Edward O. Wilson writes that microorganisms and bacteria settled in the mineral grains of the soil are the very heart of life on Earth. Without the biosphere and the organisms that sustain it, life on Earth would cease to exist. Liittschwager is available for interviews.
PROTECTING PATAGONIA, by Verlyn Klinkenborg, photographed by Maria Stenzel (Page 84) With more than 30 million acres in national parks and reserves, Chilean Patagonia remains one of the world’s great wildernesses. But the region faces an uncertain future. Salmon farms, which degrade the quality of the pristine waters, are proliferating, 46 of the 48 glaciers in the Southern Ice Field are melting at record rates due to climate change, and there are plans for a series of hydro dams to help power the country, which will destroy the ecosystems of the watersheds in which the dams are built. Photographer Maria Stenzel showcases this glacier-carved coast once visited by Charles Darwin, while writer Verlyn Klinkenborg asks what it will take to protect this land. Klinkenborg is available for interviews.
INDIA’S NOMADS, by John Lancaster, photographed by Steve McCurry (Page 102) They are herders, hunters, fortune-tellers, snake charmers, animal doctors and acrobats. Yet, many know them only as nomads or wanderers, some 80 million people across India united by a history of poverty and exclusion — arguably the biggest human rights crisis you’ve never heard of. Former Washington Post East Asia Bureau Chief John Lancaster immerses himself in a camp of blacksmiths in Rajasthan state, where he struggles to gain the trust of the people society has left behind, while photographer Steve McCurry’s intimate portraits give insight into these roamers who cling to centuries-old traditions while the modern world strips away their identities. Lancaster and McCurry are available for interviews.
HUBBLE RENEWED, (Page 122) Last May, astronauts repaired Hubble’s power and control systems and installed a new camera and spectrograph in what is likely the final overhaul for the space telescope. With greater imaging sensitivity and resolution, Hubble is already capturing images of the most distant, and thus, earliest galaxies ever seen — galaxies that shone 13 billion years ago — hinting that the most spectacular years of Hubble are yet to come.
CURIOUS CHIMPS, by Joshua Foer, photographed by Ian Nichols (Page 130) In northern Republic of the Congo lies a pristine lowland forest overlapping the Ndoki and Goualougo rivers and home to some very curious chimps. The area is so remote and inaccessible it is giving primatologists Dave Morgan and Crickette Sanz a rare opportunity to study the untouched chimps of Goualougo Triangle, who are as intrigued by humans as we are by them. Photographer Ian Nichols captures the chimps’ sophisticated culture of tool making and the intelligent ways they’re improving their tools to find honey and to fish for ants and termites. Writer Joshua Foer questions whether what we’ve come to know about chimps has been distorted by the presence of humans. Nichols, Foer, Morgan and Sanz are available for interviews.
February’s Departments section looks at the rich history of pressed pennies; fish robots patrolling the ocean; a Venezuelan lake that sees lightning bolts 200 days a year; the newest and heaviest element, to be named after Copernicus; and the 11,000-mile path of globe skimmer dragonflies.
National Geographic magazine has a long tradition of combining on-the-ground reporting with award-winning photography to inform people about life on our planet. In 2009 it won a National Magazine Award for Photojournalism and was nominated as a finalist in four other categories, including General Excellence for a magazine with a circulation over 2 million. In 2008 it won three National Magazine Awards, for General Excellence, Photojournalism and Reporting. In 2007 it won two National Magazine Awards, for General Excellence and Photography. Its Web site, ngm.nationalgeographic.com, won a 2008 Webby Award for best magazine Web site.
The magazine is the official journal of the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s largest nonprofit educational and scientific organizations. Published in English and 32 local-language editions, the magazine has a global circulation of around 8 million. It is sent each month to National Geographic members and is available on newsstands for $5.99 a copy. Single copies can be ordered by calling (800) NGS-LINE, also the number to call for membership in the Society.