Outward Bound California with correspondent, Molly Blaisdell

Courtesy Outward Bound California

Courtesy Outward Bound California

In 2008, Outward Bound launched its first West Coast urban-based “Center” in San Francisco (“Bay Area Center”) following the successful establishment of other Centers in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, New York and Philadelphia in the 1980s and 1990s. Urban-based Centers reach more underserved urban youth populations through a menu of programs that promote personal transformation using the natural and historical settings of cities and their surrounding areas. Join correspondent, Molly Blaisdell in San Francisco as she interviews Outward Bound California Executive Director, Josh Brankman; faculty member, Lawence Schuessler; Student Services Associate, Marcela Maldonado; and Operations and Program Director, Aiko Yoshino.
Courtesy Outward Bound California

Courtesy Outward Bound California

Outward Bound was founded in 1941 during World War II to provide young sailors with the experiences and skills necessary to survive at sea. Outward Bound was a joint effort between British shipping magnate Sir Lawrence Holt and progressive German educator Kurt Hahn. Hahn believed education must encompass both the intellect and character of a person. In creating the first Outward Bound School, he expanded the concept of experiential learning to include real and powerful experience to gain self-esteem, the discovery of innate abilities, and a sense of responsibility toward others. Outward Bound has since become the premier adventure-based education program in the world. In the early 1950s, Josh Miner founded the Outward Bound movement in the United States, and in the ensuing decade, Outward Bound pioneered wilderness experiential learning with the establishment of the Colorado Outward Bound School in 1961. Outward Bound’s curriculum established the standard for outdoor education: adventure, challenge, character development, compassion and social and environmental responsibility. In 1991, Outward Bound established the Pinnacle Scholarship Program to increase student diversity and provide opportunities for highly motivated and low income students to enroll in Outward Bound courses. California leaders, investors and nonprofit partners pioneered the program, which is now offered nationwide.

Listen to Ms. Blaisdell’s interview on the Lowell Thomas Award winning podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer featured weekly on NPR.ORG.   Check out this episode!

For further information:
Outward Bound California          1539 Pershing Drive,  San Francisco, CA 94129             (415) 933-6222


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6pmL9HtIOU – See the impact for yourself!

Laurie McAndish King


Laurie McAndish King with host of Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer NPR.ORG weekly podcast

Laurie McAndish King talks story about her new book Lost, Kidnapped, Eaten Alive on Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer NPR.ORG podcast                            Photo Credit: Jim Shubin

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer as he visits with acclaimed travel journalist, Laurie McAndish King as she talks about her new book, Lost, Kidnapped, Eaten Alive and reads some selected passages.

Laurie McAndish King is an award-winning writer and photographer specializing in nature and culture. Her work has appeared in Smithsonian magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, and literary anthologies from Lonely Planet and Travelers’ Tales. Whether she is lost in a parallel universe, kidnapped in the scorching Tunisian desert, or eaten alive by the blood-sucking denizens of tropical north Queensland, King’s stories—poignant, quirky, and often quite funny—are always inspiring and entertaining. Her new collection of true travel tales, Lost, Kidnapped, Eaten Alive, is available from Amazon and your local bookstore.


Cassowary Photo Credit: Laurie McAndish King

Listen to King’s interview on Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, the Lowell Thomas Award winning podcast featured weekly on NPR.ORG. Check out this episode!

Luwak Photo Credit: Laurie McAndish King


Pacifica a Coastal Haven 20 minutes from San Francisco


Landa Mar Beach, Pacifica, CA Photo Credit: Sharron Waiker

Landa Mar Beach, Pacifica, CA Photo Credit: Sharron Waiker

The natural beauty and unparalleled serenity of Pacifica, California has attracted travelers to this coastal gem for more than 100 years. Located just 15 minutes south of San Francisco, Pacifica feels worlds away but is convenient to some of the most vibrant, international communities on the West Coast.

Easily accessible from Highway 1, Pacifica’s rich cultural heritage and bohemian personality make it a unique destination worth discovering. Of the many diversions, Pacifica boasts some of the most breathtaking panoramic vistas atop a wide range of hiking trails and walking adventures along the expansive beaches dotting the destination’s shoreline. Additionally, the destination features recreational options, including surfing, boating, scuba, fishing and paragliding, birding, cycling, golf, tennis, archery and horseback riding. According to the National Marine Sanctuaries of the West Coast, Pacifica is known to be the fourth richest area in the world for marine mammal life.

Listen to correspondent, Molly Blaisdell’s Pacifica show on Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer the Lowell Thomas Award winning podcast featured on NPR.ORG  Check out this episode!


Yexplore Yosemite Adventures

images-8If you’re planning a first visit to Yosemite National Park, a guided hiking adventure is an excellent way to maximize your experience. Yexplore Yosemite Adventures offers an array of customized back country explorations, from day hikes to overnight backpack treks.

Photo Credit Yexplore.com

Photo Credit Yexplore.com

Yexplore also offers specialized Photographic workshops including one that’s focused on capturing Yosemite landscapes at night with a sky full of stars. Hiking options also include treks to the top of Half Dome, journeys through Tuolumne Meadows and alpine Lakes, and a backpack trip wending above the tree line across Red Peak Pass at 11,200 feet.

Photo Credit Yexplore

Photo Credit Yexplore

We met up with John Degrazio the CEO of Yexplore Yosemite Adventures in the Sierra foothills town of Sonora.

Listen to the conversation on Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, the Lowell Thomas Award winning NPR.ORG podcast. Check out this episode!


Telephone: 800-886-8009


AFTCO’S Bill Shedd Awarded Conservation Award

Bob Semerau (lft) Bill Shedd (rt) Photo credit: Barbara Steinberg

Bob Semerau (Lft) Bill Shedd (rt)
Photo credit: Barbara Steinberg

Bill Shedd, president of the American Fishing Tackle Co. was recently awarded the prestigious 2014 Californian of the Year by the Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC). Shedd is the son of Milton Shedd, founder of Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute and SeaWorld San Diego.

In the past two years alone, Shedd’s American Fishing and Tackle Company has made approximately $500,000 in financial contributions to marine environmental research and conservation. He is a co-founder of United Anglers of Southern California, California’s largest sport fishing organization, leading efforts to develop White Seabass grow-out facilities and hatchery programs. Shedd volunteers more than 500 hours a year on marine resource and recreational fishing industry issues. Among his many contributions to marine ecology, Shedd is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hubbs/SeaWorld Research Institute, a member of the International Game Fish Association’s Board of Trustees, He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Coastal Conservation (CCC), and the California Artificial Reef Enhancement program (CARE).

Join Tom Wilmer, Vice President of the Outdoor Writers Association of California for a conversation with Bill Shedd–the 2014 Californian of the Year, on the Lowell Thomas Award-winning NPR Podcast, “Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer”  Check out this episode!

Discovering Western Nebraska’s Treasures

Western Nebraska Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

Western Nebraska
Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

Scotts Bluff territory Nebraska-- Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

Scotts Bluff territory Nebraska– Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

Western Nebraska is a realm of never-ending surprises from the diverse environment where rolling hills are suddenly interrupted by towering sandstone bluffs and spires, rolling rivers, and even the largest hand planted forest in North America. The Sandhills of Western Nebraska are a mesmerizing undulating grass covered landscape that is a destination draw in its own right.

Join correspondent, Tom Wilmer for an exploration of cool things to do and see in Western Nebraska. Well start our journey in Sidney, Nebraska at the home and birthplace of Cabela’s outfitters.

Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

Next stop is Alliance Nebraska where we’ll visit with Becky Thomas, director of the Knight Museum and Sandhills Center.

The Museum of the Fir Trade on the outskirts of Chadron, Nebraska showcases the roots of the American West that was trail blazed by fir trappers and traders, 200 years before the Lewis & Clark Expedition.

Western Nebraska is graced with tall sandstone bluffs and outcroppings. Chimney Rock National Historic Site in Bayard, Nebraska includes an interpretive center where visitors learn about the trials and tribulations of the early pioneers. We’ll join Loren Pospisil who shares his insights in to Nebraska’s most recognizable visual icon of Western migration.

Pony Express statue in Sidney, Nebraska-- Photo credit Tom Wilmer

Pony Express statue in Sidney, Nebraska– Photo credit Tom Wilmer

IMG_4197Fast food chain eateries abound in Nebraska, but there’s a new generation of restaurateurs who offer trend setting cuisine. We’ll stop in at the Emporium coffee shop and restaurant in Scotts Bluff Nebraska for a chat with owner, Sara Schluter and her executive chef, Rob Backus who came from Napa Valley California to infuse Nebraska with cutting edge culinary offerings.  www.visitnebraska.com

Listen to the in-depth interview on the Lowell Thomas Award winning NPR.ORG Podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer  Check out this episode!

Award-Winning Author Steven T. Callan


Ryan Hanson & Steve Callan

Ryan Hanson & Steve Callan

Listen to award-winning author Steven T. Callan, as he talks about his hit book, Badges, Bears, and Eagles—The True-Life Adventures of a California Fish and Game Warden. Steve’s book, a 2013 “Book of the Year” finalist, chronicles his illustrious thirty-year career as a wildlife protection officer for the state of California.

During his career as a wildlife protection officer, Steve Callan conducted some of the most fascinating, complex, and highly successful wildlife investigations in California history. He also collected a wealth of action-packed, suspenseful, and often humorous true stories. In Badges, Bears, and Eagles, Steve provides a vivid first-person account of his adventures.  Steve and his colleagues outsmarted game hogs, thwarted fish thieves, and foiled outlaws. Callan was even stalked by African lions and mauled by a five-hundred pound Bengal tiger. Callan and his working partner, Dave Szody, conducted a three-year undercover investigation which exposed a statewide criminal conspiracy to kill California black bears for their valuable gallbladders. It’s not all about catching bad guys—it’s also about conservation: in “Saving Lake Mathews,” Steve chronicles how he helped save a beloved wildlife sanctuary from development.

Callan has earned numerous awards for his work in wildlife protection. He also was recently awarded the 2014 “Best Outdoor Magazine Column” Craft Award, from the Outdoor Writers Association of California.

Passionate about the environment, Steve and his wife Kathleen are avid kayakers, anglers, bird watchers, and scuba divers. They currently live in the Redding area. The interview includes some commentary by a young State Warden, Ryan Hanson based on the Blue Fin in Morro  Bay Harbor.

Listen to Steve’s interview on the Lowell Thomas Award winning travel podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured weekly on NPR.ORG and produced by California Central Coast NPR affiliate KCBX  Check out this episode!

Steve can be found online at callan.coffeetownpress.com

Travel for the 21st Century…Stewardship Travel


Morro Bay Estuary

Morro Bay Estuary

Host Tom Wilmer visits with special guest Diane Strachan, Stewardship Travel Specialist. Stewardship Travel, a new trend in tourism, is about meaningful travel where visitors enjoy “doing good and feeling good” when on vacation.  It is about contributing in a small way when you visit a region, not just being an “extractive tourist” but being a “pro-active visitor” who is invited back again and again.

NPR.ORG’s award-winning podcast host Tom Wilmer helps audiences understand the ins and outs of this new travel trend by interviewing California’s San Luis Obispo County Business Improvement District’s Stewardship Tourism Specialist and seasoned adventurer Diane Strachan, a leader in outdoor, adventure travel, and environmental education for the past 35 years.

Strachan, who has won the California Governor award for Environmental and Economic Leadership for one of her projects, says, “Stewardship Travel helps visitors make a difference on vacation. It’s about creating and having many opportunities to care, learn, engage deeper, and feel great when on vacation. Welcome to tourism for the 21st Century.”

Stewardship Travel is the next step in the evolution of eco-tourism in America.

There is a selection of over 70 activities for individuals and families along California’s Hwy. 1 Coastal Discovery Route throughout San Luis Obispo County. www.coastaldiscoveryroute.com

Listen  to Diane and the Lowell Thomas Award Winning show Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer. Check out this episode!

Exploring Nebraska’s Western Region

Scotts Bluff

Join Karen Kollars, Nebraska Agritourism Specialist as she takes us on an exploration of discovery of special places to see and things to do in the far western panhandle region. We’ll visit the Legacy of the Plains Museum and interpretive center in Gering. A visit with the Park Ranger at Scott’s Bluff National Monument, a landmark on the Oregon Trail. The High Plains Homestead, tucked on a hilltop in the northeast corner of the state, is a recreated 19th Century village—a collection of authentic pioneer structures that serve as guest accommodations and restaurant.

In the tiny town of Lewellen, The Most Unlikely Place serves great food in an art gallery setting where live music is also regularly performed. You have to see Carhenge, located on the outskirts of Alliance, to fully appreciate its uniqueness. Modeled on Stonehenge in England, there’s nothing like it anywhere else in America.

Fort Robinson Army post dates from the 1870s and served a variety of invaluable functions including a base for Calvary horses, the Buffalo Soldiers, and during WWII served as a German POW camp as well as major War Dog training facility. Today, it’s a state park where you can spend the night in old officers and enlisted men’s accommodations, some dating from the 1870s. We’ll join James Potter, State of Nebraska Senior Research Historian for a visit at the fort.

 Listen to the interview on the Lowell Thomas Award winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer featured weekly on NPR.ORG  Check out this episode! 


To lean more about exploring Nebraska: www.visitnebraska.com


Indianapolis Zoo’s International Orangutan Center

Quinn and Orangutan at Indianapolis Zoo

Join correspondent Julie Henning in Indianapolis, Indiana for the opening of the International Orangutan Center at the Indianapolis Zoo. The 4-acre, $26 million dollar state-of-the-art addition is dedicated to orangutan research and conservation.

Home to eight orangutans that were rescued from private owners and the entertainment industry, scientists at the International Orangutan Center conduct daily research on orangutan cognition and behavior that will be incorporated into published research and accredited studies.

Nearly the size of two football fields, the International Orangutan Center offers plenty of room for the orangutans to roam and opportunities for visitors to get “up close and personal with” the Great Apes. The Hutan Trail, an industrial looking network of cables, platforms, and bridges circles 60-feet around the perimeter of the exhibit. If it’s not raining, you can ride the Skyline tram for your own birds-eye view.

Key to the mission of the International Orangutan Center and the Indianapolis Zoo is to raise awareness (and donations) for the conservation efforts to save the wild orangutans in Borneo and Sumatra.

Dr. Robert Shumaker and Dr. Christopher Flynn Martin work with orangutans on touch-screen computer monitors inside the Center’s learning lab. Lisa Goodwin is the Senior Keeper of the Great Ape area. Goodwin explains what zoo patrons can expect when they visit the International Orangutan Center and what types of things piqué the orangutan’s curiosities.

Check out this episode! on NPR.ORG Podcast “Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer