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.
Research ecologist and herpetologist Cecil Schwalbe has been leading natural history workshops for more than 30 years, including many expeditions to the national parks of the Colorado Plateau. Cecil was part of an international research effort to save loggerhead and black sea turtles, and he has worked with National Geographic magazine on a story about the global plight of frogs. Much of his current research focuses on the effects of invasive non-native animals and plants on native ecosystems. An entertaining storyteller, Cecil looks forward to sharing his insights on this remarkable region.
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.
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.
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.
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.