Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Adventurous Spirit Won Him Explorer Prize

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Adventurous Spirit Won Him Explorer Prize

Article excerpt

Byline: Sandy Strickland

Grayson Rigby, 9, has an adventurous spirit that led him to the Pacific Northwest to see baby orcas, discover forested islands, take the polar plunge in frigid waters and snap pictures in Seattle under the guidance of a National Geographic photographer.

Grayson, a third-grader at Ocean Palms Elementary School in Ponte Vedra Beach, was one of nine winners of the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Young Explorer Challenge. The prize was a photographic tour of Seattle and a voyage aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion through the San Juan Islands. He was accompanied by his parents, Gary and Monique Rigby.

Grayson learned about the contest when he took a family vacation to the Galapagos Islands in October. The contest was open to children ages 8-17 traveling aboard a Lindblad-National Geographic ship in 2014. Winners were selected by age and region based on their expedition journals that incorporated writing, photography, maps and art in a PowerPoint presentation.

Grayson, who was 8 at the time, drew such animals as sea lions, blue-footed boobies and short fin pilot whales. He photographed tortoises, a flightless cormorant, a sea lion and a frigate bird with accompanying descriptions.

"You can tell just by the way he wrote it and the way he described it that this is something he will carry with him for the rest of his life," Monique Rigby said. "This just made an extraordinary impression on him."

Grayson was up for every adventure offered on the trip he won this May. He had just returned from an afternoon of hiking, for instance, when the captain asked if anyone wanted to do a polar plunge. He was the first to agree and convinced a couple of others to join him.

To view the winning presentations, go to

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