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2015 Explorers Club Artist-in-Exploration Grant Awarded to Photographer Carlton Ward, Jr.

The Explorers Club Artist-in-Exploration Program, sponsored by Rolex, has awarded its 2015 grant of $25,000 to Carlton Ward, Jr., an Explorers Club Fellow, award-winning conservation photographer and eighth-generation Floridian from Tampa. The grant will support a photography collection, “Florida Wild,” to be based on his 2015 Explorers Club Flag Expedition through the Florida Wildlife Corridor. The trek will begin in the Everglades headwaters near Orlando and continue west and north of Tampa, around the Gulf of Mexico, through the forests and swamps of the Florida Panhandle to the Gulf Islands National Seashore at the Florida-Alabama border.

“Each photograph,” Carlton writes, “will be a window of discovery, celebrating the little-known people, places and wildlife that make up the Florida Wildlife Corridor. Subjects will include ancient pine forests, deep river swamps, freshwater springs, surprising wildlife, mysterious ravines, wild rivers and forgotten coastlines…in the millions of acres of ‘Florida Wild,’ where panthers still stalk deer through the forests and black bears forage among palmettos as old as bristlecone pines.”

The expedition this year builds on the 2012 Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition, a 1,000-mile trek he and the same team completed from the Everglades to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in southern Georgia. The two expeditions draw attention to a statewide wildlife corridor network and vision to “Keep Florida Wild.”

“Carlton is an extraordinary photographer and his long, imaginative expedition through the Florida wilderness was a revelation to the selection committee,” said Les Guthman, chair of the Artist-in-Exploration committee. “We look forward to exhibiting the first of his Artist-in-Exploration photographs at the Lowell Thomas Dinner this fall, which will be held in Melbourne, Florida; a perfect convergence with his Florida expedition and also with the dinner’s theme, “Visionaries of Conservation.”

Carlton Ward Jr.‘s photographs are exhibited widely and published in magazines including Audubon, Smithsonian, Geo, Africa Geographic, Nature Conservancy and National Geographic. He began his career with six expeditions to the Congo rainforests of Gabon with the Smithsonian Institution, resulting in his first book, The Edge of Africa, and an exhibit at the United Nations in New York. He is a founding Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) and in 2007 wrote Conservation Photography, the first thesis on the emerging field. His 2009 book, Florida Cowboys, won a silver medal in the Florida Book Awards. Carlton received two National Geographic grants for the Florida Wildlife Corridor expeditions.

The call for submissions for the 2016 Explorers Club Artist-in-Exploration program will open on July 1, 2015 and continue through September 15, 2015. An announcement will follow. Information and applications will be available here on

Photo courtesy of Carlton Ward, Jr.

Published by : Explorers Club Staff

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Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste