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.
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.
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.
Award-winning Earth science educator, avid outdoorsman, and national parks aficionado Steve Kluge has taught New York Regents and college-level geology courses for more than 35 years. He’s planned and led day, week, and month-long field trips and expeditions that include geology and natural history, cave exploration, and backpacking. He has led a pre-college expeditionary science program on the Juneau Icefield in Alaska and taught geology on the flanks of Hawaiian volcanoes in a semester-long Cornell University field program. Steve has designed fun and rewarding standards-based instructional activities for kids and teens in partnership with National Geographic, the Geological Society of America, NASA, and New York public television. He has also built his own kayaks, one of which he's paddled along most of the coast of Maine. Kirk Johnson of the NY Times described him as a man of "rumbling enthusiasm,” and Steve brings that enthusiasm with him wherever he goes. He looks forward to sharing the wonders of Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion National Parks with National Geographic travelers.
Conservation Biologist Taylor Edwards is an Associate Staff Scientist at the University of Arizona Genetics Core, where he and his team conducted the public testing for National Geographic's Genographic Project (an innovative global program in which people can trace their ancestry back 60,000 years using markers in their DNA). His background includes a combination of wildlife ecology and molecular biology, and he blends the two disciplines in his own research to answer questions about the conservation of species. Taylor’s work covers a variety of species ranging from plants to fishes, but his specialty is reptiles and amphibians. He is a leading expert on tortoise genetics whose Ph.D. work led to the description of a new species of tortoise and the preservation of crucial habitat in Mexico. At home in deserts and rain forests, his research has taken him to China, Brazil, Mexico, Namibia, and Cameroon—as well as to the canyons of America's desert southwest.
Few people know Yellowstone country and America's national parks better than wildlife biologist Jeremy Schmidt. He has worked in and around Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons for more than 30 years, including stints as a park ranger, a naturalist, a photographer, and an author, writing several articles for National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler magazines. He has also written several books for National Geographic, including titles on Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and the Northern Rockies. His knowledge and passion for America's national parks will enrich your experience.