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After a photo shoot at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, a clouded leopard cub climbs on National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore’s head. (Photo by Grahm S. Jones / courtesy Joel Sartore/National Geographic Photo Ark)

The Nature Conservancy of Texas’ annual Austin luncheon, March 20 at the JW Marriott Austin Downtown, will feature speaker National Geographic photographer and avid conservationist Joel Sartore as he takes the audience into his ambitious National Geographic Photo Ark project that was started 11 years ago in his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska. Since beginning this project, he’s visited more than 40 countries in his quest to create this photo archive of global biodiversity. To date, Sartore has captured more than 7,500 images of wildlife, putting him over half way to reaching his goal of documenting 12,000 unique species.

The event will also highlight the Conservancy’s most recent efforts to protect Texas’ iconic lands and waters. Since its founding in 1964, The Nature Conservancy in Texas has established 38 nature preserves and conservation properties, more than 130 easements and has helped expand more than a dozen state and federal parks. In total, The Nature Conservancy has protected more than 900,000 acres in Texas.

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