Impact Programs

Now more than ever, our planet needs our help.

The National Geographic Society supports hundreds of research, exploration, and conservation projects in every part of the globe every year—and we have for decades. (Learn more about our scientific grant programs.)

To add to the impact our support can have, we also call out a few specific areas and projects that help focus attention, make new discoveries, and bring timely protection to endangered animals, cultures, and ecosystems.

Explore our current portfolio of initiatives, and get the latest updates from them below.

Current Portfolio

Picture of fish schooled into a vortex

Pristine Seas  

Pristine Seas is an exploration, research, and conservation project that aims to find, survey, and help protect the last healthy, undisturbed places in the ocean.

Picture of chameleon

Photo Ark  

Joel Sartore is on a mission to photograph every species in captivity—inspiring people to see all animals with respect and wonder, and to inspire protection for them all.

Okavango Wilderness Project

Okavango Wilderness Project  

Traveling by traditional canoes and armed with cutting-edge research technology, Steve Boyes and team explore one of Earth's last and greatest wilderness areas.

Picture of male lion in the Okavango Delta

Big Cats Initiative  

Around the world, trophy hunting, habitat loss, and conflict with humans are putting big cats at great risk. See what we're doing to help.

Picture of Paul Salopek and guide Ahmed Alema Hessan outside of Bouri

Out of Eden Walk  

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Paul Salopek is undertaking an epic experiment in slow journalism—a storytelling walk across the world in the footsteps of our ancestors.

Picture of elk crossing a river

Beyond Yellowstone  

National Geographic Society is using a science-based approach to support wildlife-compatible landscapes in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and in central Montana.

Other Key Projects

Picture of photographer and student at Photo Camp

Photo Camp  

Photo Camp has partnered with organizations worldwide to give youth a voice since 2003.



This year more than 250 parks will host a BioBlitz, connecting people of all ages with scientists and rangers to help find and identify every living species they can.

Picture of people in a canoe on Rio Negro


The National Geographic Society’s freshwater initiative is a multiyear global effort to inspire and empower individuals and communities to conserve freshwater and preserve the extraordinary diversity of life that rivers, lakes, and wetlands sustain.

Space Archaeology

Space Archaeology  

National Geographic Fellow Sarah Parcak is using her $1-million TED Prize to create a platform that enables you to help find and preserve archaeological sites around the world.

Picture of farmers in Chad

The Genographic Project  

The Genographic Project is uncovering the migratory history of humans through analysis of DNA contributed by people from cities, towns, and remote villages around the world.

Apply for a Grant

Since 1888, the National Geographic Society has awarded more than 12,500 grants for research, conservation, and exploration. They've gone to forward-thinking students and long-established leaders in their fields. There have been major discoveries, bitter disappointments, bold gambles, and quiet, steady successes. Each one has contributed to a richer human understanding of the world and all that’s in it.

There’s a lot more out there. Let’s explore together.

Learn How to Apply







We’ve been making discoveries—and making an impact— for 130 years. Now you can explore this fascinating history firsthand with a new, interactive timeline that takes you behind the scenes through rare video footage, photos, artifacts, and inside stories.

Start Exploring



Top Image (Ray): manu san félix/National Geographic; "Initiatves" Section: Enric Sala/National Geographic (Pristine Seas); Joel Sartore/National Geographic Photo Ark (Photo Ark), John Stanmeyer/National Geographic (Out of Eden Walk), Beverly Joubert/National Geographic (Big Cats Initiative), James Kydd (Okavango Wilderness Project), David Evans (The Genographic Project); "Other Key Projects" section: Eric Leifer (BioBlitz); James P. Blair/National Geographic (Freshwater); Stacy Gold/National Geographic (Photo Camp); Robert Clark/National Geographic (Space Archaeology)