Carlton Ward Jr is a conservation photographer and National Geographic Explorer whose passion for nature was born from the Florida landscape. His mission is to inspire appreciation and protection of Florida’s original nature and culture – the endangered wildness that is often hidden in plain sight but very much needs our attention to be saved.

Carlton began his career working with the Smithsonian Institution in Central Africa, leading to his first book, The Edge of Africa, and a photography exhibit with the United Nations. In 2004, he retrained his focus on his native Florida, motivated by eight generations of family heritage and a drive to bring new attention and protection to the state’s under-appreciated wild heart. Carlton published Florida Cowboys in 2009 and founded the Florida Wildlife Corridor project in 2010. With fellow explorers Mallory Dimmitt and Joe Guthrie, he has since trekked more than 2,000 miles through the Corridor, during two National Geographic supported expeditions, which both produced award-winning books, PBS films and widespread outreach for the statewide vision to keep Florida wild.

Recent honors include receiving the Conservation Leadership Award from the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, being named a Florida Icon by Florida Trend magazine and serving as the Rolex Artist in Exploration with the Explorers Club.

Carlton’s photographs are widely exhibited and collected, and are published in newspapers and magazines including AudubonSmithsonianNature Conservancy and National Geographic. Learn more about his photography and fine art prints by visiting or his studio in Tampa. Purchasing Carlton’s art helps empower him to stay on the front lines as a voice for conservation in Florida.

In 2013, Carlton founded Florida Wild, a media and production company working to elevate and protect wild Florida through strategic communications. Current productions include Chasing Ghosts and Path of the Panther, both in partnership with Grizzly Creek Films. Non-profit and agency partners include National Geographic, The Nature Conservancy, Florida Wildlife Corridor, Palm Beach Zoological Society, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and US Fish & Wildlife Service.

The Path of the Panther project has been Carlton’s full-time focus since 2016, supported by grants from the National Geographic Society and numerous partners. Carlton and his team are managing a network of professional photography and video camera traps throughout critical habitat of the Florida Wildlife Corridor. Their purpose is to inspire a public and political movement to save the Florida Wildlife Corridor through the story of the endangered Florida panther. To learn more and support this project, please visit

Please stay connected to our work by signing up for Carlton’s newsletters through and, and follow him on Instagram @CarltonWard.


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