Tonight in NYC the Natural Resources Defense Council will present photographer Paul Nicklen with its first annual BioGems Visionary Award, acknowledging the role he and his breathtaking images have played in inspiring the organization’s members and activists “to continue fighting for our planet’s last wild places and its threatened wildlife.” Nicklen has specialized in polar photography (brr!) since 1995. “I call myself an interpreter and a translator,” says Nicklen. “I translate what the scientists are telling me. If we lose ice, we stand to lose an entire ecosystem. I hope we can realize through my photography how inter-connected these species are to ice. It just takes one image to get someone’s attention.” A TED Talk that involves an adorable leopard seal will also do the trick: