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National Geographic Photographer Paul Nicklen to kick off Momentum 2012 on April 5

March 26, 2012

Media note: For press passes, contact Mary Hoff,, 612-626-2670

National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen kicks off the second season of the Institute on the Environment’s popular Momentum event series Thursday, April 5, 7:30 p.m., at the Ted Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis.

Nicklen’s talk, “From Pole to Pole: Diary of a National Geographic Photojournalist,” will share breathtaking images of life in the extremes of our planet. His presentation includes a cross section of images (both polar and nonpolar), a description of his encounter with a leopard seal in Antarctica, his dedication to telling the story of the spirit bear in British Columbia, and his 12-year pursuit to capture narwhals on film in the harsh environment of the Canadian Arctic.

The evening begins with a featured taiko drumming performance by Mu Daiko Drumming. Master of ceremonies for the event will be meteorologist, entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul Douglas.

Nicklen uses his camera to reveal the nature of a world melting away under human-induced global warming. “I call myself an interpreter and a translator,” he says. “I hope we can realize through my photography how interconnected these species are to ice. It just takes one image to get someone’s attention.”

From ice diving among leopard seals in Antarctica and covering terrain in –40F temperatures, to mastering aerial shots from his ultralight plane, Nicklen has specialized in photographing polar regions since 1995. A unique childhood among the Inuit in Canada’s Arctic and a professional background as a biologist in the Northwest Territories enable him to take on the most inhospitable places on our planet. His images reflect a reverence for the creatures inhabiting these isolated and endangered environments. Nicklen has published 10 stories for National Geographic Magazine, including 2011’s August cover story on the elusive Spirit Bear. His latest book, “Polar Obsession”, was published by National Geographic in November 2009.

The April 5 event, made possible by premier sponsor General Mills, media sponsor Minnesota Public Radio and others, is the first of three environment-themed evenings presented by the Institute on the Environment as part of its Momentum 2012 series. The other two will feature conservation visionary M. Sanjayan with a performance by Zorongo Flamenco Dance Company May 10; and environmental theologian Martin Palmer with a featured performance by In the Heart of the Beast May 23. For tickets, contact the Northrop Box Office, 612-624-2345 or

The University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment seeks lasting solutions to Earth's biggest challenges through research, partnerships and leadership development. For more information, visit

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