Mountain Studies Lecture Series

Inaugural Mountain Studies Lecture Series

Join us for a public event titled: "Reaching New Heights: Highlights from the Most Comprehensive Science Expedition to Mt. Everest in History"

Where: Virtual

How: The event will air on YouTube & Facebook.
To watch on YouTube click this direct video link:
To watch on Facebook click this link: 
For full tune in details:

When: Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020

What time:  7 p.m. EST


  • Dr. Baker Perry, meteorology team co-lead; professor of Geography, Appalachian State University

  • Dr. Aurora Elmore, senior program manager for the Perpetual Planet partnership, National Geographic Society

  • Alex Tait, the geographer, National Geographic Society

  • Anton Seimon, biology team; research assistant professor, Department of Geography and Planning, Appalachian State University

  • Tracie Seimon, biology team co-lead, Wildlife Conservation Society

  • Moderator: Dr. Saskia va de Gevel, department chair & professor, Department of Geography and Planning, Appalachian State University

With introductions by Dean Neva J. Specht, College of Arts and Sciences, Appalachian State University and Dr. Paul Mayewski, Scientific and Expedition Lead, University of Maine.

Details: This event is free, open to the public and no tickets are required.

Hosted by: The College of Arts and Sciences at Appalachian State University with faculty from the Department of Geography and Planning.

About the Speakers


Dr. Baker Perry

Professor of Geography
Department of Geography and Planning
Appalachian State University 

Perry is a professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. He holds a Ph.D. in Geography with a focus on climatology from the University of North Carolina and his research interests include alpine precipitation formation, snow and ice, and precipitation-glacier-climate interactions. Perry teaches courses on climate change, atmospheric circulation, snow and ice, mountain geography and tropical glacier-climate interactions. He has led or co-led 21 research expeditions in the tropical Andes and – along with local collaborators – has installed and maintained 11 meteorological stations above an elevation of 5,000 meters.


Tracie Seimon

Dr. Tracie Seimon

Biology Team Co-Lead
Wildlife Conservation Society

Seimon is director of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, based at the Bronx Zoo, New York. At WCS, she directs the development and implementation of innovative field-based molecular diagnostic technologies to search for wildlife and endangered species using environmental DNA (eDNA) approaches, identifies species in the wildlife trade and diagnoses infectious diseases in wildlife. She has also conducted molecular lab field deployments to monitor wildlife disease and develop molecular diagnostic capacity in places like the Russian Far East, Uganda, Rwanda, Peru, Myanmar and Vietnam. An experienced mountaineer, Seimon also leads a long-term monitoring initiative focused in the high alpine regions of the Peruvian Andes to reveal how amphibians are adapting to climate change and infectious disease. 


Dr. Aurora Elmore

Senior Program Manager for the Perpetual Planet partnership,
National Geographic Society

Elmore is a climate change expert who oversees science, research and strategy for the National Geographic Society’s Everest Expedition and its broader Perpetual Planet impact initiative. She received her bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in geology with a focus on oceanic chemistry and deep-sea circulation; she then worked as a researcher at several American and British universities before moving to National Geographic. Elmore has published numerous scientific research papers on the climate and marine chemistry of the North Atlantic, Southern Ocean, and Caribbean. Her expertise has been featured on the National Geographic Channel, and on National Geographic stages in Washington, D.C., and in London, England.


Anton Seimon

Dr. Anton Seimon

Research Assistant Professor
Department of Geography and Planning
Appalachian State University 

A National Geographic Explorer, Seimon leads research programs on a diverse range of themes in the Earth, atmospheric and environmental sciences. He now holds adjunct faculty positions at Appalachian State University, the University of Maine and Bard College. With National Geographic Society funding, Seimon led a research program to catalog biodiversity in the high Andean watershed of Lake Sibinacocha in southern Peru at elevations up to 5,500 meters; this work included installing the first Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments site in South America. He currently works with conservationists to plan for climate change in tropical Africa using Earth system model supercomputer simulations. 


Alex Tait

The Geographer
National Geographic Society

Tait holds the position of The Geographer at the National Geographic Society where he leads geographic information system and locational data collection mapping initiatives and resources for National Geographic Labs. He provides cartography mapping and geography expertise for the Science and Exploration, Education and Explorers programs at the Society. Tait has extensive experience in mapping techniques integrating field survey, satellite imagery and other data sources for projects around the world. Prior to National Geographic, he worked for 25 years in private enterprise as lead cartographer and technical consultant on projects for government and private industry clients, including the U.S. National Park Service, U.S. Census Bureau, Defenders of Wildlife and many others. Tait has also worked as a cartographer at the Washington Post and a lecturer in geography at the University of Maryland. He holds a master’s degree in geography from the University of Wisconsin.


Saskia van de Gevel

Dr. Saskia van de Gevel

Moderator of the Evening
Chair and Professor of Geography
Department of Geography and Planning
Appalachian State University 

Van de Gevel has a strong history of collaboration with scientists, multidisciplinary faculty and land management agencies to establish research opportunities, funding and peer-reviewed publications. Her research interests include professional ethics, endangered mountain ecosystems, dendrochronology, biogeography and geography education.

Intro by Paul Mayewski

Paul MeyewskiPaul Mayewski, Scientific and Expedition Lead, University of Maine

Paul Mayewski is an internationally acclaimed glaciologist, climate scientist, and polar explorer, and is director and a professor in the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute. He has led over 55 expeditions to Antarctica, Greenland, the Himalaya, the Andes, and the sub-Antarctic Islands. Mayewski has also made numerous first ascents in the Transantarctic Mountains and has traversed more than 25,000 kilometers over Antarctica. Mayewski’s many scientific achievements include documenting naturally and human-produced changes in atmospheric chemistry and discovering the behavior of abrupt climate change events in the atmosphere. 

The Expedition

National Geographic and Rolex's 2019 Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition

As part of a robust effort to improve our understanding and resilience to the impacts of climate change on mountain systems, from April to June 2019, National Geographic and Tribhuvan University conducted the most comprehensive single scientific expedition to Mount Everest (known locally as Sagarmatha or Chomolungma) in history. The expedition, conducted in partnership with Rolex was the first of a series of Perpetual Planet Expeditions.

The Everest expedition team aims to better understand the effects of climate change on the glaciers of the Hindu Kush-Himalaya that provide critical water resources to 1 billion people downstream. This information, coupled with additional data sets on water supply and demand in the region, forms the basis of a new index to track the health of the Himalayan water system.

Learn more at:


Teacher Credits and Lesson Planning Opportunities

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Image Caption: At 8,430 meters above sea level, the high-altitude expedition team celebrates after setting up the world's highest operating automated weather station during the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition. Learn more at Photo by Mark Fisher, National Geographic.