Prize-winning students to explore Iceland with Planet Forward and Lindblad Expeditions in July

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 20, 2023) — Planet Forward, a project hosted at the George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, is pleased to announce six student winners for its ninth annual environmental storytelling competition, Storyfest.

Winners will travel to Iceland for a five-day voyage with Lindblad Expeditions aboard the newest polar vessel, National Geographic Resolution. Together with a dedicated team of naturalists, photo instructors, an undersea specialist, and a wellness instructor, the winners will explore Iceland’s remote fjords and volcanic isles, while learning how Iceland is addressing conservation and natural resource protection topics in the face of climate change.

“This year’s finalists and winners produced remarkable stories about our endangered planet and the research, inventions, and innovations that can catalyze solutions,” said Frank Sesno, Director of Strategic Initiatives for the School of Media and Public Affairs at GW and Founding Director at Planet Forward. “I look forward to leading our storytelling expedition this summer to learn about a place where climate change and sustainability are being incorporated into virtually every aspect of life.”

“As we enter our sixth year as partners, we are thrilled to welcome yet another group of talented Storyfest winners on board with us, this time embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime expedition exploring Iceland’s diverse and incredibly unique ecology,” Amy Berquist, Vice President of Conservation, Education, and Sustainability at Lindblad Expeditions, added. “Lindblad Expeditions believes that responsible travel has the power to change one’s outlook on the world, and we’re excited to see how this experience informs the future storytelling endeavors and career paths of these students.”

Winners were announced at the 2023 Planet Forward Summit — All In: Diverse Voices, Compelling Narratives, Sustainable Solutions.

The grand prize winners are:

Best Scalable Innovation

In Colorado, the soil beneath solar panels is ripe for growing crops by Gabe Allen and Tyler Hickman, University of Colorado Boulder

Best Science Narrative

Solutions on the Half-Shell: Healing Florida’s waters with clams by Katie Delk, University of Florida

Best Use of Science or Data

Perennial grains are the future of sustainable agriculture by Cassidy Hough, Michigan State University

Most Creative

Reconciliación en mi Río: Stewardship of the Santa Cruz River by Halley Hughes, University of Arizona

Planet Forward Staff Award

Reinventing a sustainable crab fishery by Sachi Mulkey, University of California, Berkeley

Most Compelling Character

Growing Soil: Nebraska Sandhills hint changing tides in agriculture by Vidya Muthupillai, George Washington University

See the full list of finalists and all of the Storyfest 2023 entries on

About Planet Forward

Planet Forward is a project of the George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. The project teaches, celebrates, and rewards environmental storytelling by college students. Engaging a diverse audience of college students from across the country, Planet Forward uses storytelling, media, and educational events to tell the stories of invention and innovation that can move the planet forward. For more information on Planet Forward’s initiatives, visit

About Lindblad Expeditions

Lindblad Expeditions is a pioneer and global leader in journeys of deep discovery, providing immersive and authentic ship expeditions to the world’s most remarkable destinations. Lindblad offers 100% carbon neutral trips that highlight nature, preserve culture, and support local communities and artisans. In partnership with National Geographic, Lindblad delivers unmatched expertise, bringing together leading scientists, naturalists, and researchers to inspire travelers, highlighting moments that elevate the soul, fostering a lifelong passion for the planet and its people. To learn more, visit or connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.

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