Touchstone Tours

an opportunity for in-depth inquiry

Natural History Institute Touchstone Tours provide an opportunity for in-depth inquiry into the nature of heartrendingly beautiful landscapes—and our own natures.

Fall in love with the world

Natural History—the practice of intentional, focused attentiveness to the more-than-human world—is also the practice of falling in love with the world. Each multi-day trip is designed to not only enhance participants’ ecological understanding, but to help each participant feel a rejuvenated personal reconnection with the world. The Touchstone experience facilitates a deepened affinity with wildness, a revelation of awe, and a keen awareness of nature’s resilient beauty and power to heal.

 

UPCOMING TOURS:

JUNE 8 – 11, 2024:  DIATREMES AND ANTICLINES, DWELLINGS AND PETROGLYPHS: THE GEOLOGY AND HUMAN HISTORY OF THE SAN JUAN RIVER

Join us on an exclusive multi-day river adventure that explores the rich human history and geology of the Colorado Plateau while floating 27 miles on the scenic San Juan River. Led by Dr. Reuben Ellis, Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Woodbury University, and retired geologist Dr. Flemming Mengel. More info and registration here.

OCTOBER 28 – NOVEMBER 3, 2024:  THE GULF OF CALIFORNIA, MÉXICO: WILD ISLANDS, RICH DESERT

This tour will take participants to the islands and Sonoran Desert coastline of the Sea of Cortez, led by Senior Advisor & Executive Director Emeritus Tom Fleischner and Science Director Emeritus Lisa Floyd-Hanna. Join our mailing list to be notified when registration opens.

PAST TOURS:

APRIL 17-23, 2023:  THE GULF OF CALIFORNIA, MÉXICO: WILD ISLANDS, RICH DESERT

Our 2023 Touchstone Tour — to the islands and Sonoran Desert coastline of the Sea of Cortez, led by Senior Advisor & Executive Director Emeritus Tom Fleischner and Science Director Emeritus Lisa Floyd-Hanna. (more info)

MAY 9-12, 2022:  DIATREMES AND ANTICLINES, COTTONWOODS AND SONGBIRDS: THE GEOLOGY AND NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SAN JUAN RIVER

A multi-day river adventure down the San Juan River — from Sand Island to Mexican Hat, this is a river trip of legendary proportions. Few people get to float this iconic stretch of river with guides like Lon Abbott and Tom Fleischner.  (more info)

CANCELED MAY 22-26, 2020:  DIATREMES AND ANTICLINES, COTTONWOODS AND SONGBIRDS: THE GEOLOGY AND NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SAN JUAN RIVER

Our second trip down the San Juan River — from Sand Island to Mexican Hat, with guides Lon Abbott and Tom Fleischner.  (more info)

CANCELED JULY 12-17, 2020:  CASCADIA WILD: OLD GROWTH FORESTS, GLACIAL PEAKS, AND WILDFLOWER MEADOWS

Our first trip to explore the breathtaking ecological diversity of this wild corner of America, just a few miles south of the Canadian border, with NHI’s Executive Director Tom Fleischner.  (more info)

JANUARY 22-FEBRUARY 7, 2020:  ECUADOR: BRIGHT ISLANDS, DEEP FOREST

Our third annual Touchstone Tour to Ecuador!  This tour, again led by Tom Fleischner, is more than a day longer and will include exploration in the Galápagos Islands, Amazon, cloud forest, Andean highlands and the city of Quito.

JUNE 4-7, 2019:  DIATREMES AND ANTICLINES, COTTONWOODS AND SONGBIRDS: THE GEOLOGY AND NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SAN JUAN RIVER

Our fifth Touchstone Tour and our first trip down the San Juan River — from Sand Island to Mexican Hat, this is a river trip of legendary proportions. Few people get to float this iconic stretch of river with guides like Lon Abbott and Tom Fleischner.

APRIL 29-MAY 5, 2019:  THE GULF OF CALIFORNIA, MÉXICO: WILD ISLANDS, RICH DESERT

Our second annual Touchstone Tour — to the islands and Sonoran Desert coastline of the Sea of Cortez, once again led by Natural History Institute’s Executive Director Tom Fleischner.

JANUARY 16-30, 2019: ECUADOR: DEEP FOREST, BRIGHT ISLANDS

Our second annual Touchstone Tourto Ecuador — this expedition, led by NHI Executive Director Tom Fleischner, will make a transect of this rich center of biodiversity, from the upper Amazon, across the Andes, into montane cloud forest, and culminating in the Galápagos Islands.

MAY 14-20, 2018:  THE GULF OF CALIFORNIA, MÉXICO: WILD ISLANDS, RICH DESERT

Our second Touchstone Tour — heading to a hotspot of marine and desert diversity.  NHI Executive Director Tom Fleischner will lead a small group exploration of this remarkable region.

JANUARY 7-20, 2018:  ECUADOR: BRIGHT ISLANDS, DEEP FOREST

Our inaugural Touchstone Tour — following a transect across one of the most biologically diverse nations on earth — from the unique islands of Darwin, up into the Andean highlands, then down into the Amazon Basin, led by NHI Executive Director Tom Fleischner.