As a conservation photojournalist, Shannon Switzer Swanson knows how to bring environmental issues to life from behind a camera.
But this spring, she found herself on the other side of the lens for the first time, acting as on-air host for the National Geographic Channel documentary “The Last Drop.”
The show, which first aired March 26, focuses on water scarcity in the West and the extraordinary measures businesses, communities and individuals are taking to conserve the dwindling supply.
Swanson, who earned a Master of Environmental Management degree in coastal environmental management from the Nicholas School in 2015, interviews farmers, business leaders, municipal water managers, scientists, water rights activists and homeowners to learn how the region’s ongoing water shortage is affecting lives and livelihoods. She visits sites across the region where innovative conservation technologies and approaches are now being used, including farms in Arizona where water-friendly techniques are being used to grow drought-resistant ancient grains.
“This is my first significant role on-camera, and I’m both nervous and excited to share it with the world,” she said. “For those who do not have cable, I’m working on a way to share it more broadly, so stay tuned!”
In 2016, National Geographic named Swanson one of its 10 Adventurers of the Year, in recognition of her work as an ocean advocate, especially her award-winning stories, photos and videos that explore issues ranging from biodiversity and habitat loss in Indonesia’s coral reefs to the ecological and economic impacts of the global aquarium fish trade.
She currently balances her work in environment journalism with doctoral studies in marine conservation at Stanford University’s Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources.