The Coastal Institute at Camp Ocean Pines is excited to offer a series of expert-led excursions around the central coast!  We started with three excursions during the spring of 2017 and hope to make the Adult Nature Series a permanent fixture of our Coastal Institute programming throughout the year.

Registration details:

  • Registration is open to anyone
  • All excursions meet at Camp Ocean Pines and transportation is provided
  • Children under 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult
  • Children under 12 years old are half price
  • We are offering a 10% discount for groups/families of 3 or more people - use the code 3ormore at checkout
  • We are offering a 10% discount for all graduates of the UC California Naturalist Program - use the code calnat at checkout

Come join us as we explore and learn together!


Event #1 - Owling at Carrizo Plain National Monument

Date: Saturday, April 1

Price: $99/person

Instructor: Chris Cameron

Description: Join us for an amazing and educational day on the beautiful Carrizo Plain!  You will be led by lifelong naturalist Chris Cameron, who leads annual owling trips for the Morro Bay Bird Festival, one of the largest bird festivals in the country.  Chris will begin the afternoon with an introductory lecture on California's owls.  After that, we will head east together to the Carrizo Plain to search among the wildflowers for great horned owls, barn owls, burrowing owls, and long-eared owls.  As we explore the plain, you will also learn about the natural history of this unique area.  We will stop for dinner at Sylvester's Burgers in Atascadero while the sun goes down, then visit some local spots on our way back to look for screech owls, saw-whet owls, and nightjars. 

  • Transportation provided (15-passenger vans)
  • Meet at Camp Ocean Pines at 1:00pm
  • Bring money for dinner OR pay the extra $10 at check-out to have us cover your meal
  • We will return to Camp Ocean Pines around 9:00pm
  • Please note: we cannot guarantee owl sightings but we can guarantee a fun and educational experience! :)

Event #2 - Condor Hike at Pinnacles National Park

Date: Sunday, April 30

Price: $99/person

Instructor: Richard Neidhardt

Description: Learn about the incredible journey of the California condor while hiking around one of California's most unique National Parks!  Richard, a long-time volunteer with the condor recovery program, will lead us on a 3-4 mile moderate hike around the park to look for condors.  Along the way, we will learn about the process of tracking and working with California condors, along with natural history of these incredible birds and of Pinnacles itself.  A portion of your registration fee for this event will go to Pinnacles Partnership, a nonprofit organization dedicated to aiding condor recovery efforts.

  • Transportation provided (15-passenger vans)
  • Meet at Camp Ocean Pines at 7:00am OR at the Pinnacles NP East Side Visitor Center (not the West side!!) at 9:30am
  • Bring a pack lunch OR pay the extra $10 at check-out to have camp provide a pack lunch
  • We will return to Camp Ocean Pines around 5:30pm
  • Please note: we cannot guarantee condor sightings but we can guarantee a fun and educational experience! :)

Event #3 - Raptor Experience at Camp Ocean Pines

Date: Saturday, June 10

Price: $49/person for half day (just the morning), $99/person for full day (morning and afternoon)

Instructor: Chris Cameron

Description: This is your chance to interact with live birds of prey and, if you choose to spend the whole day with us, to experience what it's like to hunt with a raptor as your partner!  Our instructor is Chris Cameron, lifelong naturalist and licensed falconer who has been working with raptors for over 35 years.  The first half of the day will be all about California's raptors and their natural history; Chris will give an interactive presentation using several different live raptors to teach you about the birds of prey that call this state their home.  After lunch, Chris will teach about the sport of falconry.  You will have the chance to accompany Chris and one of his birds on a hunt - you will even don a falconer's glove and call the bird to your hand!  

  • Meet at Camp Ocean Pines at 9:00am
  • Two registration options: half day (natural history portion only) OR full day (natural history and falconry)
  • If you choose to stay all day: bring a pack lunch OR pay the extra $10 at check-out to have camp provide a pack lunch
  • Half day experience ends at 12:00pm
  • Full day experience ends at 4:00pm


Chris Cameron - Executive Director at Camp Ocean Pines

Chris has a life-long love for nature. Using wind-felled logs from the property and straw bale construction in the passive solar designed cabins, Chris has developed the reputation of Camp Ocean Pines as a place of natural beauty and sustainable development, a center for growth in students and adults alike. Through the years, Chris has led hundreds of kids and adults on wild adventures.  A resident on the central coast for 37 years, his hobbies include falconry, gardening, and traveling.  


Richard Neidhardt - Board Member and Pinnacles Condor Fund Chair at Pinnacles Partnership

Richard grew up on a lake in South Carolina obsessed with everything that swims, crawls, hops, flies or grows.  He is a graduate of the Coastal Institute California Naturalist certification program, and has been a volunteer on the Pinnacles National Park condor crew for 7 years.  He has thousands of hours experience in tracking, observing and handling condors and has been leading condor viewing hikes in Pinnacles NP for the last 4 years.  In his youth, he was a backpacking guide and climbing instructor.


For questions about registration, event details, or anything else, contact:

Kat Montgomery, Outdoor Education Director


805-924-4015 (direct line)

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