Public Relations Blog

The Endangered Species Road Trip by Cameron MacDonald



Spotted owls in Oregon; desert tortoise in the Mojave; panthers in Florida; and piping plover’s on Cape Cod—Cameron MacDonald made sure he saw them all and many more on a trip that would make John Steinbeck, Jack Kerouac, and Charles Kuralt proud.  Armed with a used Grand Caravan, his toddler and infant children, his wife, and his dog, MacDonald set out on the adventure of a lifetime attempting to see the endangered animals, plants, and trees he had been studying and writing about in his day-to-day life as a wildlife biologist and journalist, live in their natural habitats.

Proof of his success is found in his new book, THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ROAD TRIP: A Summer’s Worth of Dingy Motels, Poison Oak, Ravenous Insects, and the Rarest Species in North America (Greystone Books; August 20th 2013; $17.95), which is replete with photos and details from his trip.  Some of the highs and lows for MacDonald included seeing the rare spotted owl in Oregon while unknowingly contracting a rather severe case of poison oak; suffering intense heat and barren terrain in the Mojave while hiking along, “poking each rock in hopes that a head might pop out” to reveal the ever elusive desert tortoise; and at the side of the road in California, fearing he was going to get a ticket, but instead sharing a photo-op of a California condor with a state trooper.

In between bouts of screaming kids, messy diapers, inclement weather, and horrible hotel rooms, MacDonald offers fascinating details about the natural history of the animals he sought, and also provides insight into the threats they face such as overpopulation, commercial fishing, and climate change—forces that are driving them toward extinction.

THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ROAD TRIP is an engaging exploration of family dynamics, life on the road in America, and the natural history of a vast continent.


Cameron MacDonald has worked as a wildlife biologist across North America.  His writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, the Georgia Straight, and elsewhere.  He lives in Vancouver, B.C.