Explore.org Brings Global Nature Live Cams to the Aspen Ideas Festival

Explore and Charles Annenberg Weingarten – the founder of explore.org, and Vice President and Director of the Annenberg Foundation – were front and center at the 2023 Aspen Ideas Festival.

Explore’s innovative Aspen Festival installation – known as the Zen Den – featured nine live cameras from around the globe, offering views of brown bears in Alaska fishing for salmon, puffins in Maine, sloths in Costa Rica, pandas in China, and more. Explore.org’s network of cameras totals 200+ on five continents.

Aspen Ideas Festival’s naturalist Casey Saslawsky was on-hand to answer attendees’ questions as they enjoyed the live camera feeds of wildlife around the globe. The space provided a relaxing view of the animals in their natural habitats. The Aspen Times called it the best place for attendees to be educated about nature but to also unwind during the festival.

Explore.org and Charles hosted four Tea Times in the Zen Den, covering how Explore.org has captivated nature-lovers across the globe, and to answer questions about all aspects of the cameras and the animals featured. 

Tea Times featured Aspen Ideas Festival “Fun Zsar” Catherine Price, author of “How to Break Up with Your Phone” and “The Power of Fun” to talk about how to bring more joy into one’s life.

Another Tea Time featured Dr. Karen Bakker, researcher and author of “The Sounds of Life: How Digital Technology Is Bringing Us Closer to the Worlds of Animals and Plants,” about the counterintuitive idea of using technology to connect more deeply with nature.

“When I used to think about the idea of a Zen Den, it was really just about the power of nature's healing through observing nature, listening to nature, and connecting with it.”
Charles Annenberg Weingarten
Founder of Explore.org / Vice President and Director of the Annenberg Foundation

Charles was also asked to headline an Ideas Festival panel discussion with screenwriter Dorothy Fortenberry and NBC’s Savannah Sellers for a conversation and Q&A about using storytelling to foster a deeper connection with the natural world.

“The thesis of Explore.org is you take care of what you love and by falling in love with the world you become a better steward,” Charles said. “What we’ve created is the world’s largest live nature network that really allows you to see magic every single day.”

Explore.org hopes the Zen Den is the first of many installations to be hosted across the country to help advance its mission of bringing nature education to more people. 

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