Cloud Ridge Naturalists
tufted puffin

“The ocean is our blind spot...
Ever since the first humans gazed, awed, out
to sea, we have held certain truths to be self-evident:
that the ocean is infinite, inexhaustible,
boundlessly tolerant of whatever abuse we
hurl at it. Wrong.”

Julia Whitty, writing in NRDC’s OnEarth

The marine world, at least beyond the surf zone, is out of sight and out of mind for many people. Each Conservation in Focus voyage—Cloud Ridge’s “classroom afloat”—embodies the true spirit of expeditionary discovery and is designed to expand your understanding of the natural history of marine and terrestrial ecosystems and provide opportunities for exploring the global ocean realm. Our multidisciplinary staff includes Audrey Benedict, Geoff Hammerson, Sarah Drummond, Jennifer Hahn, Marilyn Hailbronner, and the conservation photography team of Bob Rozinski and Wendy Shattil. Guest researchers frequently join to share their discoveries. All of our leaders dedicate their expertise to portraying the inherent beauty of the natural world as well as the environmental dramas that threaten the fragile fabric of life.


Whether you are interested in conservation issues close to home or in the most remote corners of our changing planet, learning new ways to tell a compelling “natural history story” or to share your observations of the natural world with others helps sharpen the focus on conservation issues. Delivering a strong conservation message requires a thorough understanding of your subject—but also the knowledge that environmental threats to the global ocean realm matter to all of us. We’ll portray the intricate complexity of both marine and terrestrial ecosystems but also learn what scientists are discovering and doing about the far-reaching ramifications of global warming, ocean acidification, the thinning and disappearance of polar sea ice, the effects of overfishing on seabird and sea mammal populations, and the ways in which the immense mid-ocean gyres, aswirl in plastic detritus, are impacting the entire marine food chain. Each voyage opens new windows on the natural world as well as opportunities to master the creative, technical, and presentation skills necessary to make visual media—both photography and art—more powerful tools for conservation. Long before the camera became a standard piece of field equipment, expedition naturalists kept illustrated field journals in which to record their discoveries and observations. Working together, naturalists, photographers and artists continue to play crucial roles in creating a constituency for conservation. After each voyage, we’ll produce a book that reflects what we’ve learned and that can be shared with others—a visual memoir that truly captures the essence of place, the many fascinating adaptations of marine plants and animals, key conservation issues and current research, as well as human endeavors that are marine resource-wise and sustainable.

spacer spacer