National Geographic
Photo Ark Challenge


Who can participate in the Photo Ark Challenge?

The Photo Ark Challenge is open to children ages 6-18 at the time of entry and who do NOT reside in Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria. Participants may develop solutions to the three Conservation Missions as individuals or in groups. Tips for facilitating the challenge in a variety of environments like schools, summer camps, libraries, and museums can be found on the Challenge homepage.

Is this a contest? How do I win?

The Photo Ark Challenge is not a contest. There are no winners or losers. The decision to feature a Conservation Mission solution is an editorial one. By hosting a challenge and not a contest, the National Geographic Society is able to create a learning experience that values failures as well as successes—both critical parts of the learning process.

How do I submit a Conservation Mission solution?

Follow this link. Adults (a parent, guardian, or educator) may submit forms on behalf of their children or students, and must submit on behalf of children under 13 as of December 31st, 2016. Students older than 13 as of December 31st, 2016 may submit their own solutions.

What does National Geographic do with the collected contact information from this Challenge?

The National Geographic Society will delete all participants’ email addresses upon completion of the Photo Ark Challenge program.

Can I get help with my solution?

Yes! Use the “Mission Tips” and “Educator Tips” drop downs on the Photo Ark Challenge and Conservation Mission webpages. You can also submit questions by emailing

What does my Conservation Mission solution need to include?

A successfully completed Conservation Mission requires a short summary of what you did and some media that showcases your work. Videos, photos, PowerPoint presentations, written documents, PDFs, mp3 recordings—you can submit any of these to demonstrate your conservation work. Beyond that there are few restrictions on what you can create! Your solution can be simple or complex; it’s up to you!

Any participant who incorporates any intellectual property or material owned by a third party (someone else) into his or her solution does so at his or her own risk. The National Geographic Society may choose not to feature any solution that includes third party material with no release form.

When would I need to complete a release form and why?

If any people appear in your Challenge solution photograph and/or video, you must submit a signed Personal Release for each person.  If anyone is considered a minor in their state, province, or territory of residence, the release must also be signed by a parent or guardian.

If any copyrighted material appears in your Challenge solution photograph and/or video, you must submit a signed Artist Release.

If any private property is included in your Challenge solution photograph and/or video, you must submit a signed Location Release.

National Geographic Society cannot feature your work online if you do not submit the necessary releases.

What are the guidelines for including music in video submissions?

Photo Ark Challenge participants may elect to include music in their solutions. Such music must be originally created and performed by the participant or the participant must secure necessary permission in writing from the third party owner. Participant must ensure that the National Geographic Society will not be required to make any payments to a third party for exhibiting a solution containing such music. YouTube provides royalty-free music through the YouTube Audio Library, which participants may elect to use, or participants may decide to use a different royalty-free music site that they find on their own. Any music used by the participant in this Challenge must be original (created and performed), fully cleared, or royalty-free.