Modern Exploration and Media

As a true-blue Lewis and Clark nerd, I could make pocket protector-worthy Twitter “what-if” jokes all day:

CaptWClark: msquitos unbearable, shoot me pls

CaptLewis: jrnl update: rivr forks. Lft or rt? @Anyone

Sacjwe: @CaptLews @CaptWClark Seriously guys?

For modern explorers, Facebook, Twitter, blog posts, online videos and podcasts aren’t an option, they’re a necessity. To secure funding, sponsors and grant organizers want to see a return on their investment and a robust online presence and harnessing social media is the most effective way to do it.

Last night I had the pleasure of listening to my friend and world-class river rat Jeff Hazboun tell a packed House at the Swaner EcoCenter in Park City about The Kamchatka Project’s expedition to Russia’s Far East last summer.

Sponsored by a National Geographic Society Expeditions Council grant, a team of seven kayakers made several source-to-sea first descents, gathered scientific data on watersheds and fisheries, and explored some of the wildest terrain left on the planet.

Just across the Bering Sea from Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, the Kamchatka Peninsula is home to about a quarter of the world’s spawning salmon each year and one of the densest brown bear populations on the planet. Long an exclusive hunting ground for Russian czars and then an off-limits Cold War strategic site, the California-sized peninsula remains remarkably free from development. The volcanoes and lack of roads help too.

To fund the ambitious trip, The Kamchatka Project was sponsored by a who’s who of outdoor and paddlesports companies like Outdoor Research, Pyranha kayaks and Werner Paddles. But first, there was the granddaddy of sponsorships: The National Geographic Society’s support paved the way for other companies to jump on board knowing the expedition would receive plenty of attention.

To secure the Geographic grant, though, the team needed to show the value of the trip before, during and after the rivers were run. An expedition website provided quality education modules that teachers could use to give lessons on the geography, geology, wildlife and, of course, salmon of Kamchatka.

In addition, the team actively updated the site with planning and travel updates, contributed to National Geographic’s BlogWILD and promoted it with social media, Tweeting from satellite phones no matter how far off the grid they wandered. And while every member boasted the kayaking experience required for such an adventure, their “secondary” qualifications were no accident: PR professional, adventure filmmaker, photographer, designer, educator and scientist. Sure they were going to Kamchatka, but they were also equipped to bring a bit of it back for the rest of us with photos, video and status updates.

Not only is The Kamchatka Project’s media savvy a textbook example of how to get an expedition off the ground (literally, each helicopter flight ran the team upwards of $10,000), it’s a prime example of the power of good marketing. Whether you’re selling a product, running a non-profit or planning an expedition to the far reaches of the globe, the message is simple: Tell your story and tell it well. If it’s a good one, the rest will fall into place.

Comments Are Closed