Naturalists at Large

Who We Are & Our Philosophy

Outdoor Education Where & When You Want It.


NAL LogoWho We Are

Naturalists at Large is the leading outdoor and environmental education group in California. Since 1985, we have provided outdoor education programs for tens of thousands of students from over two hundred schools. We have introduced students to environments as diverse as the pygmy forest of Sonoma, the Giant Forest of Sequoia, the spring wildflowers of the Sonoran Desert, and giant kelp forests of Santa Catalina Island’s waters.

We pride ourselves on our ability to facilitate outdoor programs that are exciting and fun, while giving students an understanding of the beauty and diversity of our planet. We are committed to teaching people of all ages the skills to be at ease in the outdoors, and to come to a better understanding of the Western ecosystems: mountains, deserts, and seashores.

Education of the natural world and learning how to become a responsible steward of the environment is every bit as important as traditional academics. Through thought provoking subject matter and activities, as well as Leave no Trace ethics and proper camping habits, we hope to inspire not only a love of the natural world, but a sense of responsibility to sustain wilderness for generations to come.

Richard Stowell, Founder, Naturalists at Large
Richard Stowell, Founder, Naturalists at Large

The Naturalists At Large Tradition

Naturalists at Large was founded in 1985 by Richard Stowell, a former school administrator, to fill a void that existed in outdoor programs. Existing providers offered only “packaged” programs, where schools had to fit themselves into a pre-defined, inflexible program. Naturalists at Large does not offer “one-size-fits-all” programs, but instead designs a program that meets each school’s specific goals. Naturalists at Large ensures that your most precious resource, time, is well spent.

Our Philosophy & Mission

Naturalists at Large will be the preferred provider of quality environmental and outdoor education programs to independent and public schools at geographically diverse sites throughout California.

Comfort in the Outdoors

Naturalists at Large believes that no one can truly appreciate the outdoors unless they are comfortable. All participants in our outdoor education programs learn the art of being comfortable in the outdoors while having fun. Learning to be comfortable while cross-country skiing in Sequoia National Park, or rock climbing in Joshua tree National Park provides students with a unique opportunity to discover harmony with the natural world, and memories that will last a lifetime.

In addition to outdoor skills and stewardship of the environment through education and “Leave No Trace” skills, our programs build cooperation, self-confidence, and leadership skills. Outdoor settings foster cooperation with one another, while challenge and responsibility promote self-confidence.

We pride ourselves on the personal service we provide each school. These include pre-trip campus visits, in depth goal assessment with one of our Field Coordinators, planning packets, and post-trip evaluations. We strive to provide you with a smooth professional experience from moment you pick up the phone. With over 20 years of experience we are ready to give you everything you’ll need for a successful program.

Our Pricing Philosophy

We have no fixed prices. You control the prices when you help us with the design of your program. There are many ways to maximize your experience without exceeding budget limitations. Program location, duration, ratio of instructors to students, and date selection can change the cost of a program. We’ll work with you to develop a program that meets your budget.

Plan Your Trip Today!