National Geographic’s Trevor Frost: The Biggest Danger Isn’t the Wildlife, It Has Typically Been Humans

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By Madison Bolt | mbolt6@radford.edu

Taking a photo of tigers or leopards is dangerous, but according to Trevor Frost, the most dangerous interactions are humans.

Trevor Frost is a photographer and filmmaker who focuses on the human relationship with wildlife and nature. He had works published in Wired, National Geographic, and The Washington Post.

Frost’s film experience includes half a dozen T.V. documentaries and a short documentary on orangutans in the Borneo rainforests, ‘Person of the Forest.’

Frost will be coming to Radford University on Mar. 25, invited by the Radford Amazonian Research Expedition (RARE), to give a speech. He will be on campus all day; however, his speech will be at 5 p.m.

Frost said that the most important thing about the grant was not the money but instead that it opened doors to meet people who have accomplished things.Frost’s parents were scientist’s and traveled a lot, having romantically met in the Galapagos, which his mom was down there for a university project. His parents ended up sharing the same job where they met and later ended up getting engaged.

Frost said that he grew up with those stories and remembered at a young age wanting to travel. “It’s in my blood,” he stated. After graduating from his hometown’s college of VCU, he ended up being a backpacker.

Even after all those backpacking trips, he felt like he was just traveling, not really getting anything out of it, so he took the first step to start his career. At 22-years-old, Frost got the Young Explorers grant from National Geographic to go map caves in Central Africa, which jump-started him in his career today.

The Young Explorers grant, now called the Early Career grant, is for college students that want to get a start in a National Geographic field. “[The] really exciting thing is that it’s been around for so long,” Frost said, speaking about National Geographic.

Frost continued stating, “It’s a very respected institution, to be a part of that is very exciting. It felt like I was joining a family, not just getting a grant.” Frost said that the most important thing about the grant was not the money but instead that it opened doors to meet people who have accomplished things.

As Frost continued his career, he had support from family and friends. When he first started working with National Geographic as a film-maker, he worked with an editor that told him that she doesn’t think he had what it takes to be a photographer for National Geographic. Frost proved her wrong, not with words, but instead, when he got his first photo published in the magazine, and she was his editor.

Frost gave the secret to how you should act when you encounter a similar situation, “You have to be very careful at your approach. If an editor or anyone says you shouldn’t be a photographer or something else, you can’t just stop.”

Every job has its dangers, but as a wildlife photographer people would say the danger would be the animals, but not according to Frost, “Yeah, not so often. The biggest danger isn’t the wildlife, it has typically been humans and the cities, but you run into plenty of things.”

Just because car crashes happen, doesn’t mean you’re going to stop driving.Frost recalled the time he went to Lebanon, Iran and when he went to Syria in 2008 and how he had an extraordinary experience. “None of its really any different than in the U.S,” he explained. He compared the situations to the interstate and being a driver, “Just because car crashes happen, doesn’t mean you’re going to stop driving.”

He did explain that the closest dangerous experience he’s had with an animal was when he had an allergic reaction to ants back when he was mapping the caves of Central Africa.

The Center for Disease Prevention had warned them about bats that carried the Marburg virus in the exact caves they were mapping. Marburg is similar to Ebola. This warning didn’t stop Frost from entering the caves, because he learned you could only get it if the bats pooped on you, in your eye, or mouth.

Now Frost is currently working on his first independent book about human interactions with snakes. Whether it be revering them, hating them, killing them, keeping them as pets, etc. Frost expects to be a three- or four-year-long project.

Photo Credit: (Trevor Frost)

Dylan Lepore

Dylan is a writer, gamer, avid movie lover, and PlayStation extraordinaire. Currently, he attends Radford University in pursuit of a BS in Media Studies with a concentration in Journalism. If I played the game, I like it; if I haven't played it, just remember that I'm in college. ($ = tuition)