Expedition Team

Our team is the key to your incredible experience

Let our expert staff weave a narrative on a Columbia and Snake River tour and, turn what would otherwise be merely a string of extraordinary days, into an immersive experience of the rivers’ natural history. Benefit from their specialized knowledge—geology, history, photography, and more—and enjoy their company on hikes or over a drink or dinner. 

Meet the expedition team for this departure

  • Laura McQueen

    Wellness Specialist
    Lola was born and raised in Champaign-Urbana, IL, and has been an enthusiastic traveler since childhood. She grew up dancing, biking, camping, and swimming, and has kept active ever since. Cycling is her favorite form of transportation and after graduating with a degree in history from the University of Illinois, she biked across the United States, from NYC to San Francisco, cycling over 4,500 miles through 19 states. Upon her return to the Midwest, she started experiencing lower back pain which lead her to search out different therapies to find relief. That’s when she got her first massage...and she was hooked!

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  • Linda Burback

    Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor
    Born in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Linda and her Air Force family moved extensively throughout the U.S. when she was a child. Linda continues to travel and explore a broader spectrum of the world as a naturalist with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic. Linda earned her B.Sc. in horticulture from the University of Arizona in 1985 and worked with this degree in the commercial cactus industry for sixteen years.

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  • Mark Coger

    Video Chronicler
    Growing up in a military family, Mark Coger has been traveling most of his life.  While living in Japan, he developed his passion for videography.  He began his venture in the field of video production by filming numerous events for a local high school and the military community before moving to Southern California, where he obtained his degree in filmmaking at California State University Northridge.  From there, he went on to produce and direct his first major short film, An American Journalist which was screened at the Method Film Festival.

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  • Marylou Blakeslee

    Expedition Leader
    For the past 20 years, Marylou Blakeslee has traveled the world sharing her love of wild places. She lectures on a number of topics from the bears and wolves of the Arctic, to the leopard seals and whales of the Antarctic, as well as the turtles and fishes of the Great Barrier Reef.

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  • Melissa Farlow

    National Geographic Photographer
    Award-winning photographer Melissa Farlow has worked extensively for National Geographic magazine in the American West for stories ranging from public lands and environmental issues to wild horses. Primarily known for her personal approach when photographing people, Farlow has documented diverse cultures and landscapes from South America to the Alps, Alaska to Quebec, and beyond. Her work has also been published by National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian, LIFE, Marie Claire, GEO, and The Nature Conservancy. Melissa earned a Pulitzer Prize with the staff of the Louisville Courier-Journal and won Pictures of the Year portfolio honors while at the Pittsburgh Press. Her images are printed in over 70 books including Day in the Life series and a number of National Geographic’s books, such as The Photographs, Best 100 Wildlife Photographs, Women Photographers at National Geographic, and Wild Lands of the West and Long Road South on the Pan American highway. Based part-time in the Pacific Northwest, she has hiked and camped on the Oregon coast over the past 25 years and photographed stories for National Geographic in Olympic National Park and the Rouge River Valley. Melissa has led numerous photo workshops in Italy, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, served on the faculty of the prestigious Missouri Photo Workshop, and taught National Geographic Photo Camps, which use photography to help youth and young adults in underserved communities around the world to develop their own voices.

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  • Owen Walker

    Cultural Specialist
    Owen B Walker was born in Moab, Utah and raised in very rural North Idaho. He graduated high school in Palmer, Alaska, where Northwest Native Art first stirred his soul. After achieving a degree in Sociology/Anthropology from Western Washington University, Owen focused on pre-historic peoples and places of the Pacific Northwest.  This interest and his 40 plus years of living and working in the rural Pacific Northwest awakened a spiritual connection, which he chooses to express thru Northwest Coast Native Art. 

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  • Rich Kirchner

    Rich Kirchner has worked as a naturalist in Antarctica, Alaska, the Bering Sea, Baja and the High Arctic, including Greenland, the Canadian Arctic and Iceland. His 25 years as a professional wildlife photographer has granted him international publication credits included in magazines such as Geo Germany, Geo France, Natural History, Audubon, National Wildlife and Ranger Rick, as well as more than a hundred books.

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