On January 13, 2013, the National Geographic Society will celebrate its 125th anniversary. Though it's best known for its stunning wildlife photography, National Geographic is, more importantly, a leading proponent of environmental and historical conservation. This anniversary they are reaffirming their role as the the ones at the forefront of discovery and adventure. They're calling this exciting chapter: The New Age of Exploration.

Today, through these ten images, let's look back on some of the most iconic moments in time. From the poignant 1915 portrait of editor of National Geographic Gilbert H. Grosvenor's sitting beneath a giant sequoia tree to National Geographic's own Barry Bishop daring ascent of Mount Everest, these photos show just how involved National Geographic has been in shaping our history.

President and CEO of National Geographic Society John M. Fahey, Jr. said it best: "Its purpose is to inspire people to care about their planet."

In addition to it January 2013 magazine themed "The New Age of Exploration," they also have a a one-hour National Geographic Channel special spotlighting a new breed of “super explorer”; a book, “National Geographic 125 Years,” that tells the story of the Society and its many world-changing milestones and even a Google+ Hangout event featuring underwater archeologist Robert Ballard, director James Cameron anthropologist Jane Goodall. The hangout begins on January 13 at 1:00pm EST, and can be viewed on National Geographic’s Google+ page. (We love Nat Geo!)

Above: 1964 | TANZANIA
A touching moment between primatologist and National Geographic grantee Jane Goodall and young chimpanzee Flint at Tanzania’s Gombe Stream Reserve.
Photo by Hugo van Lawic


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.
Photo © Gilbert H. Grosvenor Collection


1938 | EGYPT
Three figures on camelback behold the pyramids of Giza.
Photo by B. Anthony Stewart


1963 | NEPAL
The first American team to summit Mount Everest in 1963 included National Geographic’s Barry Bishop.
Photo by 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.
Photo credit: NASA


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.
Photo by Beverly Joubert


1995 | INDIA
By setting off a camera trap, a female tiger captures her own image in Bandhavgarh National Park.
Photo by Michael Nichols


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.
Photo by Greg Marshall


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, which aims to find, survey and help protect the last healthy and undisturbed places in the ocean.
Photo by Octavio Aburto


UGANDA
A lion climbs a tree to sleep, in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth Park.
Photo by Joel Sartore


National Geographic's website

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