National Geographic
National Geographic

Photo Ark Challenge

Species extinction is a critical problem and you can help make a difference by taking on the Photo Ark Challenge! There are three conservation missions to tackle and you can choose your favorite or do all three, it’s up to you! We’ll feature standout mission submissions here on this page.

Join the National Geographic Photo Ark team and let’s see what we can #SaveTogether.


Logo of Photo Ark

Three Conservation Missions

Picture of student with iPhone and GoPro

Mission 1: Tell a Conservation Story

Combine visual art and writing to inspire others about animal conservation.

  1. Create - make a visual representation of a species you care about (photographs, drawings, sculptures, and all other forms of visual media are welcome!)
  2. Write - write a story, poem, or essay starring the animal in your artwork
  3. Share - combine your artwork and writing, and share it with your family, friends, and local community

Mission Tips | For Educators


Mission 2: Advocate for Conservation

Become a champion for conservation by advocating for an endangered animal or habitat.

  1. Research - choose an animal you are passionate about and learn more about it and its habitat
  2. Plan - create a project to get people to learn and take action on behalf of the species or habitat you chose
  3. Implement - carry out your plan and document it so you can inspire others

Mission Tips | For Educators


Mission 3: Create a Conservation Plan

Come up with a plan to protect an animal you are passionate about and share it with the world.

  1. Research - choose an endangered animal that you are passionate about and determine why it is threatened. Find other similar situations and see what people are doing to try to solve the problem
  2. Develop - create a plan to protect this critical species and the habitat it calls home
  3. Present - present your plan, get feedback, and document the process so that others can learn

Mission Tips | For Educators

Send In Your Work

Before submitting, make sure you have the following ready:

  • A short summary of which Conservation Mission(s) you completed.
  • Photos, writings, presentations, and other documentation showcasing your mission solution(s) compiled into one file like a PowerPoint, video, or Word document.
  • Completed release forms (see the Challenge FAQ) if your videos and/or photos feature your or others' faces.
  • If you are submitting a video, make sure it follows the guidelines (see the Challenge FAQ) and is already uploaded to YouTube so you can share the link.

Students younger than 13 (as of December 31st, 2016) need a parent or teacher to submit on their behalf.



“My intention is to use my photos and the selected quotes to inspire people to become more conscientious by getting their mind turning, but not limiting the direction of thought. I want to provide the launch pad from which the viewer’s mind can take flight. Conservation is a process that relies on the contributions of the individual as stepping stones in the direction of relief. Through exposing people to the sights of nature and the many species who share this earth, I hope to inspire at least one action in the direction of positive change.”

— Jillian S., 17, from Cincinnati, Ohio

<p class="ng-contrast">Bald eagle at the Dallas Zoo.</p>

Bald eagle at the Dallas Zoo.

Photograph by Dallas Zoo’s Career Camp participant



By Dallas Zoo’s Career Camp participant

Strong and powerful, he beats his wings
Terror is felt to whom reach his screams
The symbol of freedom, he flies the skies
Always watching with piercing eyes
While others run to go and hide
He stands his ground glowing with pride
Never giving up, fighting without fear
Even when danger is close to near
The sun begins to setting, soon to be gone
Yet the eagle keeps soaring, forever on


A Galápagos Giant Tortoises: The Gentle Giants

By Dallas Zoo’s Career Camp participant

  • There are 12 living subspecies of Galápagos giant tortoises.
  • The average Galápagos giant tortoise lives over 100 years.
  • The Galápagos giant tortoise was discovered in 1535 when the Galápagos Islands were discovered.
  • The Galápagos giant tortoise is the largest living species of tortoises.
<p class="ng-contrast">A Gal&aacute;pagos giant tortoise at the Dallas Zoo.</p>

A Galápagos giant tortoise at the Dallas Zoo.

Photograph by Dallas Zoo’s Career Camp participant