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Joel & The Photo Ark

About Joel Sartore

Joel Sartore is a photographer, speaker, author, teacher, conservationist, National Geographic Fellow and a regular contributor to National Geographic Magazine.

Joel & The Photo Ark

Joel Sartore

Joel started the Photo Ark in his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, over a decade ago. Since then, he has visited over 40 countries and completed portraits of more than 6,500 species in his quest to create a photo archive of global biodiversity, which will feature portraits of an estimated 12,000 species of birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates living in the world’s zoos and wildlife sanctuaries. As part of Joel’s deeper collaboration with National Geographic, the project is now called the National Geographic Photo Ark.

No matter its size, each animal is treated with the same amount of affection and respect. The results are portraits that are not just stunningly beautiful, but intimate and moving. Once completed, the Photo Ark will serve as an important record of each animal’s existence and a powerful testament to the importance of saving them.

In his words, “It is folly to think that we can destroy one species and ecosystem after another and not affect humanity. When we save species, we’re actually saving ourselves.”

Sartore has produced several books, including RARE: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species, Photographing Your Family and two new National Geographic Photo Ark books: The Photo Ark and Animal Ark.

In addition to the work he has done for National Geographic, Sartore has contributed to Audubon Magazine, Time, Life, The New York Times, and Sports Illustrated. Sartore and his work have been the subjects of several national broadcasts including National Geographic’s Explorer, NBC Nightly News, NPR’s Weekend Edition and Fresh Air with Terry Gross. He is also a regular contributor on the CBS Sunday Morning Show.

Sartore is always happy to return to home base from his travels around the world. He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, with his wife, Kathy, and their three children.

More from Joel:

Read a Q&A with Joel Get Joel’s Photo Tips



The Photo Ark

The interaction between animals and their environments is the engine that keeps the planet healthy for all of us. But for many species, time is running out. When you remove one, it affects us all.

The Photo Ark is a multi-year effort to raise awareness of and solutions to some of the most pressing issues affecting wildlife and their habitats. The Photo Ark’s three-pronged approach harnesses the power of National Geographic photography and the bold ideas of Nat Geo Explorers. Led by National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore, the project aims to document every species living in the world’s zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, inspire action through education, and help save wildlife by supporting on-the-ground conservation efforts.

The Photo Ark

The Photo Ark

The Photo Ark is a powerful tool to teach people of all ages about our planet’s amazing biodiversity and foster a real connection to Earth’s wildlife. The project engages students in the classroom through free educational materials and activities, and inspires the public through special exhibitions, books, TV specials, features in National Geographic magazine, and events around the world. An interactive digital experience allows people to engage with Photo Ark content on our website, explore animals in the collection, and share information about endangered species with their social networks.

The Photo Ark is working to save species at risk. Building on National Geographic’s 129-year history of investing in bold people and transformative ideas, the Photo Ark supports innovative, on-the-ground conservation projects designed to reduce human threats to wildlife, protect critical habitats, and create lasting change. Show your support using the hashtag #SaveTogether.

Visit the Photo Ark website


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PBS Summer of Adventure
I want people to care,<br>to fall in love,<br>and to take action. - Joel Sartore - National Geographic Photographer

I want people to care,
to fall in love,
and to take action.

Joel Sartore

National Geographic Photographer

How you can help

Snap a pic

Take a photo of a creature in your neck of the woods. Show your support by posting your animal pic using the hashtag #RarePBS.

Be pollinator-friendly

Plant local plants in your garden to help bees, birds, and other pollinators. Encourage others in your neighborhood to do the same.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Reduce what you buy, reuse and repurpose what you do buy, and recycle what can't be repurposed.

Learn More

Explore Education Materials

app screen shot

Including: Safari Slideshow & Creature Cards

Explore Now

PBS Summer of Adventure PBS Summer of Adventure