RTPI strives to connect people with the species that live within their country, cities, towns and even their very own backyards in order to ignite a passion for the wild places that exist within each. To learn more about these projects, please see the links below:
Roger Tory Peterson was exploring Europe with British friend and seabird expert James Fisher when Roger presented the idea of taking an expedition to show James the wilds of North America. While Roger had already seen much of the continent, James would provide him with a fresh set of eyes to observe and experience the natural world of North America once again, as if for the first time. The pair embarked on a thrilling 100-day trip along the edge of the continent in April 1953, covering a total of 30,000 miles.
Their excursion took them from Newfoundland to Florida, the heart of Mexico to the dry Southwest, the Pacific Northwest to the Pribilof Islands of Alaska before returning home. As James and Roger traveled they recorded blossoming spring flowers, emerging insects, hundreds of migrant and nesting bird species and made an account of their many hours on the road together. The numerous memories of the splendors they encountered were later documented in a book titled Wild America, first published in 1955. It is a complete retelling of the epic journey that taught them so much about the untamed habitat of the continent and showed them the beauty of the natural world that continued to inspire their life’s work.
Sixty years later, the travelogue of the duo’s trip throughout Wild America still resonates to those passionate about the natural world, summoning an innate curiosity to learn of the wild places that persist today. Through a series of projects and initiatives, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History continues to celebrate the natural world within the North American continent. Educational outreach and conservation projects take us to the city streets of Jamestown, the hills and valleys of western New York and Pennsylvania, the coastal plains of Connecticut and the tropical forests of Costa Rica and Panama, each home to a diverse array of remarkable species.