About Michael Forsberg

photo by Joel Sartore
Michael Forsberg is a Nebraska native and has focused much of his work in North America’s Great Plains, once one of the greatest grassland ecosystems on Earth. His goal has been to try to capture the wild spirit that still survives in these wide-open spaces and put a face to the often overlooked native creatures and landscapes found there. His hope is that the images can build appreciation and go to work to inspire conservation efforts on the land far into the future.

Mike received a degree in geography with an emphasis in environmental studies from the University of Nebraska, and worked briefly as a seasonal ranger in the National Park Service before accepting a job as a staff photographer and writer producing natural history stories for NEBRASKAland Magazine, the state’s conservation publication. He worked at the magazine for six years before starting his own photography business and gallery.

Forsberg’s work has appeared in publications including Audubon, National Geographic, National Wildlife, and Natural History, and recognized in the Pictures of the Year and Wildlife Photographer of the Year competitions. In 2001, his image of a Nebraska tallgrass prairie was selected for an International Postage Stamp. In 2004, he was awarded a Conservation Education Award from The Wildlife Society. Recently, he was featured in the PBS documentary Crane Song, and was the 2009 recipient of the North American Nature Photographer’s Association Mission Award.

Mike’s first book project, “On Ancient Wings – The Sandhill Cranes of North America”, self-published in 2004, was the result of a five-year personal journey connecting the lives of the cranes and their habitats across the continent from western Alaska to Cuba, made possible with a grant from the International Crane Foundation.

His second book, “Great Plains – America’s Lingering Wild”, came together traveling 100,000 miles in the last three years crisscrossing the Plains from Canada to Mexico. It explores the wildlife, habitats and conservation challenges in the heart of the continent, with essays by South Dakota writer and rancher Dan O’Brien. Released fall 2009 by the University of Chicago Press, and supported in part by the Nature Conservancy.

Both books have traveling exhibitions. “Great Plains” premiered at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha in early 2010 and has travelled to Los Angeles, CA; Jackson Hole, WY and Great Falls, MT.

Mike is currently working on production on a documentary film for public television in cooperation with NET Nebraska that will focus on his work for "Great Plains."  Release is scheduled for fall 2011.

He is also working on a new project as a private/public partnership with the University of Nebraska Lincoln, with support from numerous other organizations. The Platte River Basin Time Lapse Project will be using time-lapse photography to document water flows and use in the Platte watershed for the next two years.
Mike lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with his wife and business partner Patty, their two children Elsa and Emme, and three unruly dogs.