National Geographic brings adventure to 2013 seminars

One of the best reasons for traveling to Seattle is the National Geographic Live! series at Benaroya Hall.

The presenters this year, the 16th year for the series, include a marine ecologist, a polar explorer, a mountaineer, a photographer and ornithologist team, and an archaeologist.

Each presentation features award-winning video and digital images.

Although the series doesn’t start until Jan. 13, it is very popular so if you’re interested, consider buying tickets sooner rather than later.

The National Geographic Society celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2013. It has funded more than 9,400 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geography literacy.

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Here are the series highlights:

• Enric Sola, Jan. 13-15. The marine biologist is a National Geographic explorer-in-residence who will share stories and images from the last undisturbed underwater habitats.

• Borge Ousland, Feb. 24-26. This polar explorer and audience favorite will bring larger-than-life stories, videos and images from his recent adventures in both the Arctic and Antarctic.

• Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, March 17-19. National Geographic 2012 Explorer of the Year will tell the story of her historic summit of K2, an achievement that made her the first woman in history to summit all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen.

• Photographer Tim Laman and ornithologist Ed Scholes, April 28-30. Listen to their adventures in the New Guinea rain forest as they documented the dazzling birds of paradise.

• William Saturn, May 19-21. The archaeologist will tell the stories behind his latest finds in jungles of Guatemala and how they alter our view of the ancient Mayans.

All presentations take place at Benaroya Hall. Each speaker will give one matinee presentation at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoons in the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall, and two evening presentations at 7:30 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium.

Series tickets are can be purchased by calling the Seattle Symphony ticket office, 866-833-4747 or ordering online at

Single event tickets go on sale Dec. 3.

Population problem: There’s a thorny question about the world’s largest colony of double-crested cormorants. The birds are packed together on the 62-acre rock-and-sand East Sand Island, created from dredge material, about five miles from the mouth of the Columbia River.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is holding public hearings on the question of what to do, if anything, with approximately 13,000 pairs of cormorants. The birds consumed an estimated 24 million salmon and steelhead smolts this year.

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Deer plus vehicles: Despite the number of opportunities in this state for deer-vehicle interaction, Washington ranks 43rd in the nation for the likelihood that a driver will hit a deer in the next year.

State Farm insurance company ranked each state based on its claims data and states’ licensed driver counts to develop the rankings.

The company said the chance of a Washington driver hitting a deer in the next 12 months is 1 in 477, based on a projection of 10,700 deer-vehicle collisions and 5,106,367 licensed drivers in the state in 2010.

The No. 1 spot on the chart is held by West Virginia with 1 in 40.

According to State Farm, the chances of a driver in Hawaii hitting a deer between now and 12 months from now are approximately equal to the odds that any one person will be struck by lightning during his or her lifetime.

Columnist Sharon Wootton can be reached at 360-468-3964 or at

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