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The 2016 Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner - Schedule of Events

   As explorers of the world, we frequently have the pleasure and privilege of moving through landscapes of amazing beauty, to witness pristine ecosystems, and to experience the overwhelming stillness found in earth’s wild and wide-open spaces. Whether we immerse ourselves in these places to conduct research or to find renewal, we know the supreme importance of these open lands to our own well-being and to the survival of all life forms. Thoreau said it like this: "In Wildness is the preservation of the world." Yet, as much as we explorers depend on these places, we often lose sight of the significant efforts and dedication required to keep these places intact and safe from development and degradation.

   For the 2016 Lowell Thomas Awards, we honor the champions of wild and open lands. Our awardees have dedicated themselves to the preservation of wild places, intact ecosystems, and open lands; they are the guardians of places that inspire us to roam, get lost and explore. It is our particular pleasure to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of these four stellar individuals. We hope you will join us in Santa Barbara to help pay tribute to their wonderfulness.

Join us October 14, 15, and 16

in Beautiful Santa Barbara by-the-sea

   Santa Barbara, California in October! A more fitting backdrop for the celebration of natural beauty and open lands could hardly be found. Being hemmed in by rugged peaks on one side and the dazzling Pacific Ocean on the other, allows this California Shangri-La to offer up unparalleled opportunities for experiencing an array of outdoor activities and natural beauty rarely found in a single locale. The geography is also conducive to limiting sprawl and for attracting a population that cares about conservation and preservation. It is thus a perfect milieu for this special event.

   For the 2016 Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner, we put together a number of events and activities that showcase the best this region has to offer. From our exquisite Natural History Museum to the misty reaches of our Channel Islands, to the vineyards of our famed Santa Rita Hills AVA, and many points in between, we guarantee that this weekend will inspire you and live long in your memories.

   A note about getting to Santa Barbara, CA: if you are driving up from or through the Los Angeles region, allow plenty of time. Friday afternoon traffic can delay your trip by many hours. For this reason, we also recommend for those coming by plane to fly directly into Santa Barbara airport. It costs a little more but the “puddle-jumper” flights from LA or SF not only give you fantastic views, doing so will also allow you to forego the pain of sitting in traffic. If you do decide to fly into LAX on Friday, try to arrive by noon or 1pm and consider taking the “Airbus” shuttle service, which will deposit you within a block of our reserved hotels (Fess Parker Resort and Wayfarer).
Schedule of Events

Friday, October 14

Evening Reception, 5:30pm - 8:00pm

   For those choosing to stay for the weekend, your Lowell Thomas celebration opens Friday evening with a private reception at one of the oldest natural history museums in America. This delightful and historic institution will be opened for the exclusive enjoyment of The Explorers Club members, our honorees and a host of special guests. Participants will be free to roam the museum’s hallowed halls munching on delicious delicacies and local beverages. Our guests will also be treated to a special wine tasting and lecture about the region’s unique geography, which allows for the production of world-class vintages, presented by Palmina, one of the region’s top producers. In addition to a warm opportunity to meet and greet your fellow explorers and our honorees in this congenial setting, the evening will also feature a flag expedition send-off, and will conclude early enough to allow guests to sample one of Santa Barbara’s many acclaimed eateries or watering holes. Van service to/from Fess Parker will be provided.

Location:Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
2559 Puesta Del Sol, Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Saturday Morning, October 15

Morning Awardees’ Symposium, 8:30am - 11:30am

   Consistent with The Explorers Club time-honored tradition of story-telling, the 2016 Lowell Thomas Awards weekend upholds that tradition with a symposium presented by our four outstanding awardees and moderated by Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner Chair, Alan Feldstein. Do not miss this opportunity to hear the personal narratives on how these four awardees came to their life’s work preserving millions of acres of key geographies and ecosystems on four different continents. This is the material of renowned TED talks! And made available in an intimate setting for our guests. Do not miss this session.

Location:Fess Parker Resort
633 East Cabrillo Boulevard Santa Barbara, CA 93103

Saturday Afternoon, October 15

VIP Luncheon 11:30am - 1:00pm (Roraima Guests and Awardees only)

   Our Roraima guests will enjoy a special opportunity for close conversations with the awardees over lunch at one of the resort’s fine dining options. This will occur immediately following the symposium. Details will be announced.

Location:Fess Parker Resort
633 East Cabrillo Boulevard Santa Barbara, CA 93103

Saturday Evening, October 15

Gala Reception & Awards Dinner, 5:30 – 10:30 pm

   The 2016 Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner and Reception will be a spectacular visual treat showcasing wilderness and open spaces from around the world, including imagery from your fellow Explorers Club members, and multimedia presentations featuring our awardees. The evening will make your heart and soul soar and inspire the best in all of us to double down on our efforts to protect all the wild that remains. We will also feature a flag return, many special guests, a highly curated silent auction, and of course convivial conversation. An Après Dinner Mingle under the stars will ensure the inspiration continues well into the evening.

Location:Fess Parker Resort
633 East Cabrillo Boulevard Santa Barbara, CA 93103

Sunday, October 16


   Purchasers of the Weekend Pass and Tables will have the option of participating in one of several excursions on Sunday. They all feature transport to and from the Fess Parker hotel and each will finish up in the late afternoon or early evening. Thus, if you live in the region you can still return home Sunday evening. The sign-up for these excursions is on a first come; first served basis and there are limited number of slots, especially for the island trip. They all offer a wonderful opportunity to be with your friends and fellow-explorers in a place of beauty. For those who do not purchase a Weekend Pass or table, these excursions will be available on a “Space Available Basis” which will be announced Saturday evening. But why take a chance of missing out?

Excursion 1:
Voyage to Santa Cruz Island Nature Reserve

   In its vastness and variety of flora, fauna, and geology, Santa Cruz Island is unsurpassed. At over 96 square miles in size and the largest island in California, Santa Cruz contains two rugged mountain ranges and 77 miles of craggy coastline cliffs, giant sea caves, pristine tidepools, and expansive beaches. The island is also rich in cultural history with over 10,000 years of American Indian habitation and over 150 years of European exploration and ranching. All of this natural and cultural history will be on display and highlighted in lectures provided by your guides.

   This excursion includes round-trip van transport from Fess Parker to Ventura Harbor, where you will embark on an Island Packers boat, From there you motor across the 30 mile Santa Barbara Channel, one of the richest and most productive marine areas in the world, where whales and dolphins of many species can be spotted year round. The boats are large and roomy with both indoor and outdoor seating areas (and good strong coffee!). After disembarking at Prisoners Harbor, you will be transported to Santa Cruz Island Reserve, an area of the island not open to the public, where you will enjoy several informative lectures by renowned experts, walking tours and a gourmet lunch.

   Dress warmly for this trip and wear good walking shoes. It is not a physically difficult excursion. Binoculars highly recommended.

Excursion 2:
Guided Hike through Shangri-La

   Spanning the short distance between the Pacific Ocean and the 4000 foot high point of La Cumbre Peak in the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara’s “front-country” boasts some of the most scenic day hikes in California. Standing atop these rugged peaks, you can gaze out over striking views of the city, the ocean, and the Channel Islands shimmering on the horizon. In shady canyons, swimming holes and soothing waterfalls make refreshing rest spots and picnic venues. Wildlife sightings are an added bonus.

   Join Kevin Condon & Darrow Feldstein, your expert guides for this adventure. They are founders of The Bird School Project, an organization created with a spirit similar to that of the Explorers Club. The Bird School Project visits schools in the Monterrey Bay area to foster awareness, knowledge and love for local natural places through bird watching and other out-of-doors activities. Taking a walk along one of Santa Barbara’s famed hiking trails with expert guides, knowledgeable about the flora and fauna will make for a delightful Sunday with fellow-explorers.

   This excursion includes round trip van transport to the trailhead with your guides starting at the Fess Parker and includes a gourmet box lunch. Be prepared to enjoy some exercise, learn about the region’s diverse ecology and develop the kind of good camaraderie that only a walk in the wilderness engenders.

   Dress in layers for this excursion. Daypack, water bottle, hiking boots and binoculars recommended (binoculars can also be provided by the guides). This hike will be moderate in difficulty with a few steep uphill sections on a maintained trail.

Excursion 3:
New! VIP Encounter at the Zoo

   We have added a new remarkable excursion! With the help of our good friends at Cheetah Conservation Fund and the world-class yet intimate Santa Barbara Zoo, our group is being provided a very special insider’s educational tour of the zoo. This option starts at 9am and ends at noon so you will have plenty of time to travel home or enjoy other parts of Santa Barbara.

   During this excursion you will enjoy meeting the zoo’s two beautiful Asian Elephants, Sujatha and Little Mac in this private encounter. You will meet and converse with the Elephant Team, the only keeper team at the Zoo wholly dedicated to one species. You will have a face-to-face meet and greet with one of the Zoo's ambassador animals and its keepers, while learning about the animal you’re encountering as well as how all the Zoo's ambassador animals promote the Zoo’s mission to preserve the natural world through education, and conservation. You will visit the Penguin Encounter, where you will meet one of the penguins from our Humboldt Penguin Flock. As the penguin explores in front of you, you will have a chance to chat with their keeper about the unique care they get at the Zoo and why Santa Barbara is a perfect home! The excursion will finish up with a Hospital Tour, where you get a special look at the zoo’s veterinary facility complete with quarantine quarters, surgery room, and in-house pharmacy. The guide will discuss the care our animals receive from our Veterinary staff while pointing out some similarities to your own doctor’s office.

   The Zoo is within 10 minutes of the Fess Parker Resort and transportation to the meeting point will be provided.

•  Click Here to Purchase Tickets

•  Click Here for Lodging Information

•  Click Here for the Awardee Announcement

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