California Dreaming

California means joie de vivre, sea and sunshine. In addition to Beach Boys, Surfer Girls and Hollywood, the Golden State also has many animal gems and nature highlights to offer

Expert Guided Field Trip along the Pacific Coast

The seaweed  or kelp forests along the Californian Pacific coast store carbon and provide a habitat for a large number of fish and invertebrates. The survival of around 800 species of marine life, but also the survival of the local fishing and surfing industries, depend on the existence of these kelp forests. California condors are one of the most endangered species in the world. In 1987, a controversial decision was made to bring all remaining condors into human care and the last wild bird was captured in that same year. At that time, it was uncertain if the California condor would ever soar again in the wild. Through the efforts of many organizations and individuals, reintroduction of California condors began in 1992 and now has a population of over 230 animals living in the wild again.

Expert Guided Field Trip into the Desert

The Mojave Desert occupies 35.000 square kilometers primarily within southeastern California and southern Nevada. Small areas also extend into Utah and Arizona. Its boundaries are generally noted by the presence of Joshua Trees (Yucca brevifolia) which are native only to the Mojave Desert and are considered an indicator species. It is believed to support an additional 1,750 to 2,000 species of plants. Besides some mammals like coyotes and bighorn sheep, numerous reptiles such as the California gopher tortoise and the Mojave rattlesnake can be found.

Both field trips can be booked individually or together.

  • date
    • 02 – 13 February 2023 – Pacific Coast
    • 13 – 22 February 2023 – Desert
  • location

    Southern California

  • course duration
    • 12 days including days of arrival and departure
    • 10 days including days of arrival and departure
  • language

    English

  • minimum number of participants

    6 persons

  • fee
    • 1.390 Euros – Pacific Coast
    • 1.290 Euros – Desert
    • hotels from 850 Euros *
    • not including flights

Itinerary Pacific Coast

Following the Pacific coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles we visit impressive redwood forests and numerous nature reserves along the way with many opportunities to watch animals such as sea lions, seals, sea otters but also vultures and maybe even condors. We visit one of the best aquariums of the world in Monterey and learn about its conservation projects and the kelp forest. Whale watching in Monterey Bay is optional. Big Sur – the “Big South” – is the name of the stretch of coast from Monterey to San Simeon, which has been the backdrop for numerous film and television productions from Lassie to Basic Instinct and has been attracting artists for decades. Ultimately we reach Los Angeles, where we still have a whole day to spare before heading back home or further on into the desert.

Itinerary Desert

We are going east from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, the starting point for exploring the Joshua Tree National Park with its unique scenery, fauna and flora. Day trips take us to impressive landscapes with bizarre rock formations, salt-encrusted areas, mud pots and a fascinating animal world. We also learn about the permanent consequences of dam failures, the flight routes of numerous migratory birds and the impact of agriculture and tourism. In San Diego we explore both the city and the surrounding areas. A visit to the world-renowned San Diego Zoo & Safari Park is also on the itinerary before heading back along the coast to Los Angeles, where our field trip ends.

accommodation

US standard hotels/motels included

flights

e.g. home airport – San Francisco/Los Angeles – home airport

equipment

we recommend to bring binoculars, camera and field guides

Program *

  • adaptations to extreme environments
  • life in the desert
  • threats to & conservation of endangered species
  • local conservation projects
  • San Diego Zoo & Safari Park
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • humans & wildlife
  • coastal estuaries
  • seals, sealions, and elephant seals
  • sea otters & the kelp forest
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • redwoods
  • San Francisco Bay

* GoWILD is responsible for the program and its content only. All travel arrangements and bookings are left with participants. Program changes reserved

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