National Geographic Photo Ark

September 24 – January 8 in the Baker Exhibit Hall

The National Geographic Photo Ark is an ambitious project committed to  documenting every species living in the world’s zoos and wildlife sanctuaries—inspiring  people not just to care, but also to help protect these animals for future generations. This traveling exhibition features the  work of National Geographic photographer and Fellow Joel Sartore, highlighting more than 50 of Sartore’s most compelling images to provide visitors with the unique opportunity to come face to  face with animals from the National Geographic Photo Ark.

The  National Geographic Photo Ark is a compelling and visually powerful project that aims to  photograph species, creating an archival record for  generations to come. In addition, this project is a hopeful platform for conservation and shines a light  on individuals and organizations working to preserve species around the world.

Saving Species

More than 26,000 species worldwide are threatened with extinction. That’s why the
National Geographic Society and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) launched
the National Geographic Photo Ark EDGE of Existence Fellowship program. Using
a scientific framework to identify the world’s most Evolutionarily Distinct and
Globally Endangered (EDGE) species, the program builds conservation capacity in
targeted regions across the globe to protect some of the most threatened, distinct
and wonderful species on the planet by funding and training local conservationists.

The program also provides funding, training, and capacity development to on-the-
ground conservationists. Learn more at

Species Conservation Saturdays this October at The North Carolina Arboretum

  • We all have a part to play in conserving species. Join us for a hands-on exploration and learn more about some of the projects our staff, volunteers, students and partners are engaged in to help conserve species at the Arboretum and beyond. All programs will occur rain or shine (with the exception of severe weather) and are intended for all ages. Participants should be prepared to be outdoors, on and off trail, for up to two hours. 

    View Registration Details

    All programs are free, though regular parking fees apply. Parking is always free to members of The North Carolina Arboretum Society. Donations will be accepted and will support our volunteer-led citizen science programming. 

  • October 8, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    Starting Location: Education Center Lobby

    Join us for an afternoon of monarch butterfly merriment! The Southern Appalachians are extremely important to the survival of the Monarch Butterfly, as many migrate longitudinally through our region each Fall. At this event, we’ll discuss ways to support the survival of this imperiled species and learn about conservation efforts at the Arboretum and beyond. We’ll also get to know the monarch’s host plant, milkweed, as we search for caterpillars and eggs. We’ll have fun monarch-related activities available throughout the afternoon and end the program with a monarch butterfly release! 

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  • October 15, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    Starting Location: Education Center Lobby


    Join our Arboretum educators and friends from Wild Bird Research Group for an afternoon that’s for the birds!. Watch conservation at work with mist netting demonstrations by professional ornithologists outside the Education Center, and get up close and personal with beautiful wild birds. You may even get to hold one! All the while, our educators will be leading guided bird hikes on the Arboretum’s leaf-littered trails in search of migrating songbirds and year-round residents. 

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  • October 22, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    Starting Location: Education Center Lobby


    Did you know that over the past ten years there have been 100 different Eastern box turtles found at the Arboretum? Learn how the Arboretum participates in the 100 Year Box Turtle Project by documenting the box turtles found within our borders. You’ll learn how to tell the gender of a box turtle, how to estimate their age and meet some of our turtles. Tracking our box turtles by using radiotelemetry is sure to be a highlight!

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  • October 29, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    Starting Location: Education Center Lobby

    Our Willow Pond is home to a breeding population of mole salamanders, a species of special concern in North Carolina. Learn how the Arboretum worked with research scientists, landscape architects and others to craft this important habitat. We’ll also use dip nets to search for these salamanders and the other amphibians that call Willow Pond home. Learn how you can help document amphibian diversity using iNaturalist, an online network of naturalists from around the world.

    Register Now

Joel Sartore headshot

Joel Sartore

National Geographic Photographer and Fellow, 2018 Rolex National Geographic
Explorer of the Year and National Geographic Photo Ark Founder
Joel Sartore is a photographer, speaker, author, teacher, conservationist, National
Geographic fellow and regular contributor to National Geographic magazine. His
hallmarks are a sense of humor and a midwestern work ethic.

Sartore started the Photo Ark more than 15 years ago in his hometown of Lincoln,
Nebraska. Since then, he has visited more than 50 countries in his quest to create
his photo archive of global biodiversity. Sartore has produced several books
including RARE: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species, Photographing Your
Family, The Photo Ark, Animal Ark and The Photo Ark Vanishing.
National Geographic Photo Ark fans are also invited to join the conversation on
social media with #SaveTogether and learn more about how to get involved with
the project at

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

Sartore graduated from the University of Nebraska with a degree in journalism. He
currently lives in Nebraska with his wife and children.