National Geographic Experts


A National Geographic expert will accompany each departure to share insights and a rare behind-the-scenes perspective. Listed below are some of the experts and the departure date(s) they will be joining.

Kitty Coley
Birder, Naturalist, Geologist

Kitty Coley is a geologist, naturalist, and avid birder who serves as a consultant to National Geographic magazine. She has led the Society’s expeditions for many years, including several trips to these three extraordinary National Parks. Kitty’s specialties include this rugged country’s fantastic geology and its desert plants and ecosystems. In 2006, Kitty kayaked and rafted the Grand Canyon for 21 days on a noncommercial exploratory trip, an experience which she regards as one of the highlights of her life. Kitty’s personal and interactive approach makes traveling with her both educational and fun.

Departure Dates
  • Aug 17 - 23, 2014
  • May 23 - 30, 2015
  • Jun 13 - 20, 2015

Christa Sadler
Author, Educator, Geologist

Christa Sadler is a geologist, educator, wilderness guide, and writer with a serious addiction to rivers, deserts, and mountains. Her research in archeology, geology, and paleontology has included several ridiculously hot summers searching for dinosaurs in the badlands of Montana, fighting off dust storms and overly curious camels in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, and steering clear of annoyed marine iguanas in the Galapagos Islands. In 2003, Christa participated in a National Geographic research grant to find and catalog fossil vertebrate in the Grand Canyon. She appeared in the July 1996 and June 2004 issues of National Geographic magazine in connection with her work in the Gobi Desert and the Grand Canyon. Christa is the author of Life in Stone, a book about the fossil history of the Colorado Plateau, and she has published an anthology of short stories by boatmen on the Colorado River. She has taught introductory geology and paleontology courses at Northern Arizona University and other Arizona colleges, works as an instructor for the Grand Canyon Field Institute, and runs geology programs for park service staff at Grand Canyon National Park.

Departure Dates
  • Aug 31 - Sep 06, 2014

Kirt Kempter
Naturalist, Geologist

Kirt Kempter is a field geologist and teacher based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A Fulbright Fellow, Kirt has led many geologic expeditions to Bryce, Zion, and Grand Canyon National Parks, and has published numerous maps and articles on the geology of the American Southwest. He has conducted fieldwork on a National Geographic-funded project, as well as studies of plate tectonics and volcanism around the world, including Iceland, Costa Rica, and Mexico. He received his Ph.D. in geology from the University of Texas.

Departure Dates
  • Sep 14 - 20, 2014
  • May 16 - 23, 2015
  • Sep 12 - 19, 2015

Fred Fagergren
Anthropologist, Archaeologist

34-year National Park Service veteran Fred Fagergren grew up in Zion National Park, where his father was chief ranger, and in Mesa Verde, Petrified Forest, and Grand Teton National Parks. As an adult, Fred went on to lead his own distinguished career with the park service, including eleven years as superintendent of Bryce Canyon National Park. He also trained in Grand Canyon National Park, and served as superintendent of Ohio's Mound City Group National Monument and Florida's Big Cypress National Preserve. Fred lives near St. George, Utah, and looks forward to introducing travelers to the southwestern parks he's known and loved for a lifetime.

Departure Dates
  • Jul 11 - 18, 2015
  • Sep 19 - 26, 2015

Stewart Aitchison
Biologist, Geologist, Photographer

Stewart Aitchison has been exploring, photographing, teaching, and writing about biodiversity, geology, and the American Southwest for forty years. He frequently travels as a naturalist and photo instructor aboard the National Geographic-Lindblad fleet. Stewart also spent ten years as a field biologist for the Museum of Northern Arizona, a nonprofit institution dedicated to preserving the Colorado Plateau's natural and cultural heritage. His travels and studies have resulted in more than 20 books, including the bestselling Grand Canyon: Window of Time, a photography book focused on the history, geology, and mystery of this natural wonder. His latest book is The Desert Islands of Mexico's Sea of Cortez. Stewart's photos have appeared in National Geographic, Arizona Highways, the Los Angeles Times, Mountain Bike magazine, National Wildlife, Nevada magazine, Outdoor & Travel Photography, Reader's Digest, and Sierra.

Departure Dates
  • Aug 08 - 15, 2015
  • Sep 05 - 12, 2015