Ronan Donovan to Headline Miami Youth Climate Summit with Vital Impacts Student Speaker Series

Ronan Donovan to Headline Miami Youth Climate Summit with Vital Impacts Student Speaker Series

On March 16, wildlife biologist, photographer, and filmmaker Ronan Donovan will headline the Miami Youth Climate Summit as part of the Vital Impacts Student Speaker Series, a collection of inspiring talks built in partnership with Changemaker Talent. The program’s goal: Collaborate with globally celebrated visual storytellers, like Donovan, to motivate the next generation of environmental stewards across North America.

Few events provide a venue for this kind of changemaking like the Miami Youth Climate Summit. This year’s sixth annual event, hosted at Ransom Everglades Middle School in Miami, will give students from across Florida the tools and encouragement to protect the planet.

Donovan’s own story illustrates how storytelling can help one person make a widespread impact. The award-winning photographer and filmmaker started his career as a biologist. He studied chimpanzees in Uganda, but dabbled into photography as a means to document the primates. Eventually, those outside the biology community began to notice his work.

In 2014, Donovan was invited to help photograph the gray wolves in Yellowstone. The project set his conservation career in motion, as he realized he could make a greater impact through visual storytelling. Numerous awards, grants, films, and projects later, this National Geographic Explorer’s hunch proved right—and the Vital Impacts Student Speaker Series is helping him amplify that reach even further. 

Following Donovan’s January 2024 Vital Impacts Student Speaker Series presentation in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the school principal shared inspiring feedback: “Three days later and the kids are still talking about Ronan. He made a strong impression and inspired some important, constructive conversations among kids and adults.”

That’s also the goal for this March 16 Miami Youth Climate Summit talk, where Donovan will help students see their own potential roles within the climate movement, as well as the interconnected relationship between humans and other social mammals. His work, which has taken him across seven continents, often embeds him for months in the field observing and photographing animals, such as wolves and mountain gorillas. His visual storytelling illustrates both the challenges and bonds we all share—which aligns perfectly with the climate summit’s ethos, “united we can make a difference.”

Donovan’s keynote will kick off the Saturday, March 16, event at 9:15 a.m. in Ransom Elementary School’s Swenson Hall; catch an awe-inspiring sneak peek of his Vital Impacts Student Speaker Series presentation here.

How to Attend

Tickets are still available for the 2024 Miami Youth Climate Summit, which takes place at Ransom Elementary School at 2045 S Bayshore Drive, Miami, Florida. You can purchase an in-person pass, or a virtual ticket. Get for your tickets here; advanced registration is required. 

On Earth Day, April 22, National Geographic photographer and Vital Impacts founder Ami Vitale will continue the Miami-area momentum with a Vital Impacts Student Speaker Series presentation at Ransom Elementary School, too.

Bring Vital Impacts Student Speaker Series to Your School 

If you’re interested in bringing a Vital Impacts Student Speaker Series to your school and students, please contact us via email. We have a limited number of scholarships available; you can apply for a full or partial event-hosting scholarship here. The events consist of a 45-minute presentation followed by 15 minutes of Q&A, and a brown-bag lunch with select teachers and staff, as well as study guides to help students prepare for the events.