To stir curiosity by connecting art and science in the spirit of John Steinbeck, Ed Ricketts, and their journey on the Western Flyer.

Ed Ricketts studied intertidal communities; John Steinbeck wrote about human communities. Both were concerned with  interconnectedness of animals, humans and their environments. And both were aware of how ecological holism, the awareness that all life was connected, brought spiritual awareness. Western Flyer education programs will be holistic as well, demonstrating how close vision and deeper insights are connected; in the words of John Steinbeck, we “look from the tide pools, to the stars and back again.”


The Western Flyer Foundation is an educational venture whose vision is:

To Inspire deeper appreciation of marine environments.
To see the world through the lenses of both science and art.
To understand your community’s place in a larger world.

The Western Flyer Foundation stirs curiosity by connecting art, literature, and science, drawing from the collaborative vision of John Steinbeck and Edward F. Ricketts. The Foundation’s educational programs will provide creative outreach opportunities both on land and aboard the Western Flyer. The Western Flyer will offer free, at-sea experiential learning for school children from Alaska to Mexico.

Currently, the Western Flyer Foundation is restoring the Flyer, an 87 year old wooden purse seiner, preserving the boat’s “DNA.” Once restoration is completed, the Western Flyer will be based in Monterey, California, from which it will travel the Pacific coast of North America from Alaska to Mexico, including Baja California and the Sea of Cortez. The Flyer will dedicate time each year for basic marine research, equipped with state-of-the art technology including a remotely operating underwater vehicle (ROV) capable of operating at depths to 4,000 meters.