Cloud Ridge Naturalists
spacer 2015 Cloud Ridge Naturalists


sage grouse logo by Barbara BashCloud Ridge Naturalists, one of the oldest and most respected nonprofit environmental education programs in North America, is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. Over these many years, several thousand people have experienced the special blend of natural history education and exploration that Cloud Ridge offers.We are proud to provide learning opportunities that inspire and enable our participants to become better-informed stewards—not just “snapshot” sojourners of the natural world. Moving beyond the “last great place” model that drives traditional ecotourism remains a key component of our mission. Our educational vision embraces a multi-disciplinary perspective well grounded in state-of-the-art science. Just a glance through the biographies of our leaders and guest lecturers should convey the excellence and dedication they bring to everything we do—their expertise and passion for teaching is unsurpassed!

Our voyages take us to some of the world’s most beautiful wilderness areas—enjoying the wonder but always acknowledging the environmental challenges that transcend international and ecological boundaries. We minimize our travel footprint wherever we go—by small ship, boat, raft, sea kayak, or on foot—and work only with outfitters and guides whose operating principles and environmental ethics parallel our own. We select classic lodging, vintage boats, and expedition-style ships that have a strong sense of place and purpose. Your safety, comfort, and enjoyment are of upmost importance to us—even in the remotest of settings. Our groups are kept small and congenial, creating the best possible atmosphere for learning and discussion. More than 80% of our participants each year have traveled with us before. That matters to us. We look forward to welcoming new friends and old!


Our 2015 season begins in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez aboard the M/V Westward and continues with three voyages aboard the M/V Catalyst to our favorite destinations in Southeast Alaska and the Salish Sea. I often use the phrase sea change to describe Cloud Ridge’s shift in focus to the conservation challenges facing the global ocean realm. But what does the term “global ocean” mean—and why should we care? The world’s five ocean basins are interconnected by major surface and deep-water currents in a circulation system that creates a global ocean covering more than 70% of the earth’s surface. The global ocean is the world’s largest wilderness, with a lineage of life 3 billion years older than anything above sea level. Marine scientists estimate that 90% of the world’s biodiversity once resided in the global ocean— and that human actions have degraded ocean ecosystems more in the past fifty years than in all of human history. Cloud Ridge participants have seen dramatic examples of these changes first- hand on our Arctic and Antarctic voyages. Researchers are revealing—thread by thread—the intricately woven connections that exist between global climate, the oceans, and all terrestrial ecosystems. The consequences of ignoring the environmental challenges facing the global ocean are truly profound. Conserving life in the sea and on land requires that we view the world through a vastly different lens—and that we inspire the next generation of ocean stewards to do the same.

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