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California

The Wildlife & Wonders of Channel Islands National Park

Program No. 14758RSBLOG
Explore the pristine ecology of Channel Islands National Park, discovering a wealth of unique flora, fauna and geology as you learn the islands’ story from local naturalists.

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At a Glance

Relatively untouched by modern culture, California’s Channel Islands National Park is an oasis of natural splendor. Journey by boat and experience two days inside the national park and enjoy the sea life along the way. Get up close to the island’s rich array of plant life, sea birds and mammals — some found nowhere else in the world – and explore Ventura like a local as you immerse yourself in the treasures of this region.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles on uneven terrain. Travel to islands by boat, weather permitting. Climbing ladder and stairs.

What You'll Learn

  • Join local naturalists who add expert insight during expeditions to Channel Islands National Park.
  • Discover how the islands’ isolation has created a unique ecosystem as you study endemic plants and geology.
  • Trace the human history from the native Chumash people to explorers, fur traders, ranchers and scientists.

General Notes

This program visits the Channel Islands two days during the week. Landing locations and islands will vary by date. Our program is planned far in advance, and the exact landing locations for 2025 will be determined when tide schedules are made available later in 2024 in conjunction with our vendor’s schedule. Boat trips to the Channel Islands are dependent on sea conditions, which can be rough, and subject to cancellation by the boat’s captain depending on ocean swell and wind conditions. Alternate plans on the mainland will be in place if an island field trip is cancelled.
Featured Expert
All trip experts
Profile Image
Margery Spielman
Margery Spielman is an accomplished environmental artist, lecturer, naturalist and professional diver. As a scuba instructor and stunt diver, she worked underwater on numerous television productions and for many years, worked on freelance assignments for The Cousteau Society, doing research, logistics, diving, speaking and illustrating. Described as a visionary realist, she’s exhibited her artwork in major Marine Art Expos from Hawaii to Paris. For over 25 years, Margery’s been the leading Naturalist in Road Scholar’s Channel Islands programs.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Margery Spielman
Margery Spielman View biography
Margery Spielman is an accomplished environmental artist, lecturer, naturalist and professional diver. As a scuba instructor and stunt diver, she worked underwater on numerous television productions and for many years, worked on freelance assignments for The Cousteau Society, doing research, logistics, diving, speaking and illustrating. Described as a visionary realist, she’s exhibited her artwork in major Marine Art Expos from Hawaii to Paris. For over 25 years, Margery’s been the leading Naturalist in Road Scholar’s Channel Islands programs.
Profile Image of Alicia Stratton
Alicia Stratton View biography
Alicia Stratton grew up as an Air Force “brat,” living in Japan, Texas, and West Virginia, then settling in Ventura. She is a licensed boat captain and certified SCUBA diver, and holds a teaching credential. She worked for The Nature Conservancy, Island Packers as a naturalist/boat captain, and was the research and education coordinator for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Alicia served on the committee that established marine reserves around the Channel Islands. She has a bachelor's degree in environmental biology.
Profile Image of Ken McAlpine
Ken McAlpine View biography
Ken McAlpine is an award-winning author who has written for various magazines ranging including National Geographic, winning three Lowell Thomas awards — travel writing's top award. Ken was born in Hong Kong and spent his childhood in Southeast Asia. He continued to travel throughout his life while writing, working on assignments from diving with white sharks to running the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. Ken currently lives in Ventura and likes to stand in his yard at night, looking at the stars.
Profile Image of Don Morris
Don Morris View biography
Don Morris retired in 2001 after enjoying a forty-one year career as a National Park Service archeologist, the last 16 years of which he spent at Channel Islands National Park. There he investigated and reported upon subjects ranging from historic shipwrecks and farmhouses to what are currently the oldest known human remains in North America, the Arlington Woman. In 1994, he worked as the project archeologist on the excavation of the most complete (94% or thereabouts) pygmy mammoth ever located on the Channel Islands.
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