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A Q&A with Expert David Clapp

By | April 5, 2014

Q: What do you find sets Smithsonian Journeys travelers apart from other groups that you have led, and what do you most enjoy about teaching Smithsonian members on tour?

A: I enjoy my travels with the Smithsonian as much for the people as for the destinations. Smithsonian travelers are interested in a wide array of subjects. They like to learn about cultures, people, the environment, and about specific species and their role within that environment. Questions are asked, answers researched, and consequences discussed. This breadth of interest makes every day a day of exploration and learning.

Q: Do you have a single most memorable experience from all of your travels as Study Leader with Smithsonian Journeys?

A: I have many memories of glorious sunsets, engaging wildlife, wonderful traveling companions, and spectacular vistas. I also remember lost luggage, missed flights, illnesses, and flat tires. But each altered plan offers another (unplanned) opportunity. Birding along an African track as the tire is changed is something that wasn’t on the itinerary but offers a chance to meet new wildlife and often new people as well. Everything is memorable; life is a box of chocolates that you know–or at least a box of memories as good as you make them.


David Clapp

David Clapp is a respected naturalist and teacher who worked extensively in land conservation and habitat management. David has taught at Northeastern University, lectured on strategies for land protection in the United States, Africa, Europe, and Asia, and consulted for an array of governmental and conservation agencies. He has led Smithsonian Journey adventures for about thirty years. Especially through his involvement with ecotourism he has been able to train naturalists, provide natural history materials and work with conservation organizations worldwide. His lectures run the gamut from plate tectonics and the history of the world to flight and migration as it relates to sites being visited. David is also an extremely gifted photographer. He is a popular study leader and our travelers consistently express their appreciation for his efforts and enthusiasm.

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