Wildlife photographer and National Geographic Explorer Joel Sartore will be honored this fall with the Indianapolis Prize Jane Alexander Global Wildlife Ambassador Award. Sartore is best known for his iconic, portrait photography of at-risk animal species as seen through his talks, lectures and published in a signature book, The Photo Ark: One Man’s Quest to Document the World’s Animals.
In 2006, Sartore founded the National Geographic Photo Ark project to inspire people to help protect at-risk species through documentary photography and videos. Since that time, Sartore has captured over 46,777 images and videos featuring more than 14,000 animal species (and counting).
Most recently, in collaboration with the United States Postal Service, Sartore released the latest edition of Forever Stamps, featuring images from the Photo Ark. The stamps commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, first signed into law in Dec. 1973.
The Indianapolis Prize recognizes Sartore with this award because of his vision and commitment to conservation. “Joel Sartore has used his unique talents to bring the remarkable diversity of species – no matter how big or small – to the eyes of the public, inspiring them to care and protect these animals,” said Indianapolis Zoological Society President & CEO Dr. Rob Shumaker.
In addition to his books and lectures, Sartore specializes in documenting biodiversity and landscapes around the world as a 30-year contributor for National Geographic, Audubon, The New York Times and Smithsonian. A Nebraska-native, Sartore’s passion for conservation began as a young boy looking through his mother’s Time Life picture book featuring the world’s last passenger pigeon.
Sartore will be honored on Sept. 30, 2023, at the Indianapolis Prize Gala presented by Cummins Inc., to be held in downtown Indianapolis. This inspirational event honors animal conservationists who have had real victories protecting and saving animal species.
Working with field conservationists and scientists, Global Wildlife Ambassadors use their communication skills to tell the stories of threatened and endangered species and habitats, raising awareness of these issues with the public, businesses and policymakers.
The Global Wildlife Ambassador Award was named in honor of actress, conservationist, and humanities advocate Jane Alexander who was the inaugural recipient of the award in 2012. Stage and screen star Sigourney Weaver received the honor in 2016 for her dedication to the mountain gorillas of Rwanda. Actor and environmentalist Harrison Ford received the 2018 award for his bold action to preserve the natural world. His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco received the award in 2021 for his work with ocean conservation.