I've been a fan of the photography and the stories featured in National Geographic Magazine since I was a child. I explored the world by simply turning the pages. It featured some of the most amazing and groundbreaking photography then and it's never stopped finding new ways to surprise. On January 13, 2013, the National Geographic Society will celebrate its 125th anniversary and its evolution from a small scientific body to one of the world's largest educational and scientific organizations committed to inspiring people to care about the planet. The Society has shared some images that represent those moments of discovery and will continue in its 126th year, to provide a front-row seat to what's happening at the extremes of exploration - bringing everyone along for the ride through its storytelling and photography. You can even "hangout" with some of it's more prominent explorers Jane Goodall, James Cameron and Robert Ballard, on the anniversary date, 1 p.m. EST -- Paula Nelson
1909 | CANADA - National Geographic funded Cmdr. Robert E. Peary’s 1909 expedition to the North Pole. Whether Peary and his assistant, Matthew Henson, reached the Pole or not, they came closer to that goal than anyone before them.
1909 | ALASKA, UNITED STATES - Washing his films in iceberg-choked seawater was an everyday chore for photographer Oscar D. Von Engeln during the summer months he spent on a National Geographic-sponsored expedition in Alaska.
MACHU PICCHU, PERU - Hiram Bingham poses for an informal picture in front of his tent at Machu Picchu, the lost mountaintop city of the Inca in the Peruvian Andes. National Geographic supported Bingham’s excavations at the site from 1912 to 1915.
1915 | CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - Gilbert H. Grosvenor, first full-time editor of National Geographic magazine, awakens after a night spent beneath a giant sequoia tree during his first trip to California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. After this visit, he lobbied for passage of a bill that created the National Park Service in 1916.
1931 | AFGHANISTAN - In his favorite picture, legendary National Geographic photojournalist Maynard Owen Williams marveled how, in this Herat, Afghanistan, bazaar, no one blinked during the three seconds required to make the exposure.
1935 | SOUTH DAKOTA, UNITED STATES - The National Geographic-Army Air Corps stratosphere balloon Explorer II prepares to rise from the Stratobowl near Rapid City, S.D., on Nov 11, 1935. It carried two “aeronauts” 72,395 feet (nearly 14 miles) into the stratosphere — the highest men would go for the next 21 years.
LA VENTA, TABASCO. MEXICO - Beginning in 1938, Matthew Stirling, chief of the Smithsonian Bureau of American Ethnology, led eight National Geographic-sponsored expeditions to Tabasco and Veracruz in Mexico. He uncovered 11 colossal stone heads, evidence of the ancient Olmec civilization that had lain buried for 15 centuries.
1948 | AUSTRALIA - National Geographic magazine’s “Australia man,” photojournalist Howell Walker, types away in his “office” at Inyalark Hill, where he spent a week with Charles Mountford, leader of the Arnhem Land expedition.
1957 | SOUTH POLE, ANTARCTICA - National Geographic magazine’s Thomas Abercrombie, first correspondent to reach the South Pole, flies the Society’s flag from the Pole while reporting on the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58.
TANZANIA - Paleontologist and National Geographic grantee Louis Leakey and his family inspect the campsite of an early hominid at Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge.
1964 | TANZANIA - A touching moment between primatologist and National Geographic grantee Jane Goodall and young chimpanzee Flint at Tanzania’s Gombe Stream Reserve.
1963 | NEPAL - The first American team to summit Mount Everest in 1963 included National Geographic’s Barry Bishop.
1969 | THE MOON - Astronaut Buzz Aldrin walks on the Moon’s Sea of Tranquility, his visor reflecting Neil Armstrong and the lunar module Eagle. The Apollo 11 astronauts carried the National Geographic Society flag with them on their journey to the Moon.
1991 | NORTH ATLANTIC - Rusted prow of the R.M.S. Titanic, which sank in the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg in April 1912.
1994 | BOTSWANA - Renowned wildlife filmmakers and National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert photograph an elephant at extremely close range in Botswana’s Savuti region, one of Africa’s last unspoiled wildernesses.
1995 | INDIA - By setting off a camera trap, a female tiger captures her own image in Bandhavgarh National Park.
PERU - The “Ice Maiden,” the 500-year-old mummy of a young Inca girl found on a Peruvian mountaintop by archaeologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Johan Reinhard.
ANTARCTICA - An emperor penguin, outfitted with a Crittercam camera system designed by marine biologist and National Geographic staff member Greg Marshall, becomes an unwitting cameraman for a National Geographic documentary.
2009 | WASHINGTON STATE, UNITED STATES - Sunset falls on Gifford Pinchot National Forest, named for the founder of the U.S. Forest Service and National Geographic Society board member.
MONGOLIA - Research scientist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Albert Lin gallops across the steppes of northern Mongolia as he searches for Genghis Khan’s tomb and other archaeological sites.
COCOS ISLAND, COSTA RICA - Marine biologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala dives with a green turtle off Cocos Island, Costa Rica. Sala leads National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project, that aims to find, survey and help protect the last healthy and undisturbed places in the ocean.
UGANDA - A lion climbs a tree to sleep, in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth Park.
BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA - In a moss-draped rain forest in British Columbia, towering red cedars live a thousand years, and black bears have white coats. They are known to the local people as spirit bears.
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