Mireya Mayor, a former NFL cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins and daughter of Cuban immigrants, traded in her pompoms for a backpack and hiking boots to follow an unlikely dream. In short order, she became a respected primatologist, audacious explorer and Emmy Award-nominated wildlife correspondent for the National Geographic Channel.
Learn about her adventures in the next installment of National Geographic Live! – “Pink Boots and a Machete,” 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Petro Theatre on the campus of MSU Billings. The presentation is sponsored by the Alberta Bair Theater.
Mayor’s adventures have taken her – armed with little more than a backpack, notebooks, and hiking boots – to some of the wildest and most remote places on Earth. She shares stories, images, and film clips of her adventures in this behind-the-scenes look at the hardships and danger of life in the field, along with the moments of discovery that make it all worthwhile.
Says Mayor: “I love the adventure, the exploration, the scientific discovery and the documentation. But really what drives me is the thought that future generations – my own children and their children – can one day learn to appreciate them like I do.”
Her adventures, described in her 2011 book by the same title, include surviving a plane crash, sleeping in jungles teeming with poisonous snakes, diving with hungry great white sharks, rappelling down a 14,000-foot sinkhole in search of frogs, drawing blood from critically endangered lemurs, and being charged by an angry silver-backed gorilla and chased by elephants – and the list goes.
Suffice it to say, Mayor has seen more in her 30-plus years than most will see in a lifetime. “[Pink Boots] fills an important gap; it ought to inspire young people, especially young women, to follow in Mayor’s footsteps. Armchair adventurers and readers interested in nature will enjoy the journey” writes Library Journal.
Her presentation marks the second installment in the National Geographic Live! series. It concludes March 21 with wildlife photographer Brian Skerry’s Ocean Soul. His images celebrate the mystery of the depths and offer portraits of creatures so intimate they sometimes appear to have been shot in a studio. Skerry dives eight months of the year, often in extreme conditions beneath Arctic ice or in predator-infested waters, and has even lived at the bottom of the sea to get close to his subjects.
Tickets are $20-$30; call or visit www.albertabairtheater.org.