Natural wonders are closer than you think. Embark on a Local Expedition with Academy scientists and experience the greater Bay Area's biodiversity like an insider.

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Academy donors and community science staff explore tidepools at Pillar Point


Every spring and fall, Donor Circle supporters at giving levels of $10,000 and higher are invited to join Academy scientists on an exclusive Local Expedition to a unique site in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. From marveling at meadows of California-native wildflowers to observing elephant seals at Año Nuevo, discover the ecological richness of our region—and learn how your support is helping to regenerate it.

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Upcoming Local Expeditions

Scorpion on black background

Local Expedition: Spiders, Scorpions, Bats, and Stars
Saturday, September 24, 2022 | 6:30 PM - 8:45 PM

Donor Circle supporters at giving levels of $10,000 and higher are invited to a special evening under the stars with Academy scientists on a Local Expedition to Mt. Diablo. Guests will have the opportunity to discover tarantula and scorpion species with Dr. Lauren Esposito, detect bats and owls with Dr. Shannon Bennett and Dr. Durrell Kapan, and enjoy the awe-inspiring starry night with the Academy’s astronomy experts. RSVP by September 9 to reserve your spot.

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Past Local Expeditions

Sea otters floating on their backs in Elkhorn Slough, California

Elkhorn Slough
Spring 2022

Academy scientists and donors explored this marine estuary teeming with seals, sea otters, and birds and enjoyed a beautiful catamaran ride, delicious lunch, and guided walk—all while learning more about the Academy’s Thriving California initiative.

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Academy botany curator Sarah Jacobs among wildflowers at Russian Ridge Preserve

Russian Ridge Preserve wildflowers
Spring 2021

One of the jewels of the Peninsula, Russian Ridge Preserve is famous for its dazzling spring superbloom. Donors, along with Academy scientists, Development staff, and Executive Director Scott Sampson, enjoyed a guided hike through this wildflower wonderland of poppies, lupines, and more.

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People observing elephant seals at Ano Nuevo Preserve

Año Nuevo seal viewing
Spring 2020

Just 55 miles south of San Francisco is the Año Nuevo Coast Natural Preserve, home to one of the world’s largest colonies of northern elephant seals. Donors, along with Academy scientists, Development staff, and Executive Director Scott Sampson, made a pilgrimage to see these incredible pinnipeds molt, bask, and breed in this beautiful coastal habitat.

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Donors planting trees at Blue Oak Ranch Reserve

Blue Oak Ranch Reserve tree planting
Fall 2019

California’s blue and valley oak woodlands are home to hundreds of ecologically important plants and animals. Donors, along with Academy scientists, Development staff, and Executive Director Scott Sampson, explored Blue Oak Ranch Reserve’s protected woodlands—usually accessible only to researchers—and helped plant trees to support regeneration efforts at this vital, at-risk ecosystem.

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Junior Expeditions

Toddler girl and mom play with science equipment in Naturalist Center

Donor Circle supporters at giving levels of $25,000 and higher are invited to bring their children on two special Junior Expeditions each year. From animal encounters to hands-on projects, these unforgettable adventures are designed for the whole family to enjoy—and introduce your young naturalists to inspiring Academy scientists.

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Contact us
Questions about Local Expeditions or Donor Circle benefits? We're happy to help. Contact us today!
Genesis Brito
Leadership Philanthropy Coordinator