Presenter, 2009

Thomas D. Mangelsen, a Nebraska native, is recognized as one of the world’s premier nature photographers.

In 1965, Mangelsen began studying business at the University of Nebraska. Tom transferred to Doane College in Crete, Nebraska in 1967, where his first love prevailed and he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He continued postgraduate study in zoology and wildlife biology at the University of Nebraska and Colorado State University. In 1974, he worked as a cinematographer, which led to the opportunity to film whooping cranes for National Geographic. The resulting Emmy-nominated television special, Flight of the Whooping Crane chronicles the plight of these endangered birds and the efforts to bring them back from the brink of extinction. In 1990, Mangelsen photographed and produced the PBS Nature and BBC Natural World film, Cranes of the Grey Wind, a documentary on the life cycle of the sandhill crane.

Tom’s honors include his image Polar Dance being selected by the International League of Conservation Photographers in 2010 as one of the 40 Most Important Nature Photographs of All Time. He was chosen in 2006 as one of Dr. Jane Goodall’s Heroes of the Animal Planet and profiled in the television series of the same name. Also in 2006, he was presented with an honorary doctorate from Doane College. Additional accolades were being named one of the “100 Most Important People in Photography” in 2005 by American Photo magazine and also honored with Nikon’s “Legend behind the Lens” recognition. He received an Honorary Fellowship from The Royal Photographic Society in 2002 and was named “Outstanding Nature Photographer of the Year” by the North American Nature Photographer Association in 2000. In 1994, Mangelsen received the prestigious British Broadcasting Corporation’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award.

Mangelsen’s work has been published in National Geographic, Life, Audubon, National Wildlife, Smithsonian, Natural History, Newsweek, Wildlife Art, American Photo and many other publications as well as featured on television programs from The Today Show and Good Morning America, to CNN’s World News and ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.