Tom Wilmer

Host of Journeys of Discovery

Host of the Lowell Thomas Award-winning NPR digital media travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, Wilmer has also produced the on-air travel show for KCBX since 1989, and served as digital-media travel host for KRML in Carmel, Calif.

The Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer podcast is also featured on the NPR ONE mobile app, iTunes, Stitcher.com, player.fm (UK) a selected "Best Travel Roundup Podcast" and more than 20 other podcast channels around the world. Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer travel show covers a wide array of subjects including agriculture, culture, arts, science, history and cuisine.

In addition to winning the Lowell Thomas Award--Best Radio Travel Show for several years, Wilmer is the recipient of more than a dozen prestigious industry awards for radio and video, and the prestigious Tourism Australia/QANTAS "Henry Lawson Travel Writing Award" for the best North American feature about Australia as a travel destination.

Wilmer was Travel Editor for Central Coast Magazine in California from its inception through 2008, and Travel Editor at Las Vegas Magazine (1998 - 2003), he has also been a frequent contributor to numerous upscale lifestyle magazines including Tahoe Quarterly, and Arizona Foothills, and former Home Section columnist for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, and locally has produced features for New Times, The Tribune and other regional publications.

Author of three books: Romancing the Coast, California Coast Getaways, and Wine Seekers Guide to Livermore Valley. Wilmer has also produced numerous lifestyle magazine features and more than 1,500 newspaper travel feature stories. His Knight Ridder Syndicate travel features have appeared in more than 40 North American newspapers, including the Toronto Star.

His on-location shows have ranged from the Arctic to African safaris, in the wheelhouse of the Rainbow Warrior II, flying in WWII bombers, navigating a micro light above Victoria Falls, sailing around Grenada, hiking through the wilds of Malaysian jungles and exploring remote atolls and isles throughout the South Pacific. His feature, recorded live at Harland & Wolfe Shipyards in Belfast Northern Ireland, celebrating the centenary of the launch of the Titanic was the recipient of a Best Travel award from Outdoor Writers Association of California.

Recent video/audio Awards:

  • First Place Award for Best Short Video- Pinnacles National Park 2015.
  • Wilmer and his video partner, Simo Nylander produced a video for National Park Service's Alcatraz Cruises 2015
  • In-depth video audio series for the Morro Bay National Marine Estuary Winner of 2015 "Best Outdoor Video"
  • Award from Outdoor Writers Association of California, along with "Best Short Video" award for Morro Bay Estuary Water Quality feature
  • Amgen California bike race commercial 2016
  • First Place "Best Outdoor Radio Feature" Saving Cecil's recorded live on location in Botswana
  • Second Place "Best Outdoor Radio Series" for Audubon Rowe Sandhill Cranes, First Federally Funded Wild Mustang Refuge, Heartland Shooting Range Grand Island, Nebraska. Awarded by Outdoor Writers Association of California

Professional Membership:

  • National Press Club, Washington D.C. (www.press.org)
  • Vice President (SF) Bay Area Travel Writers (www.batw.org)
  • Board of Directors Outdoor Writers Association of California (www.owac.org) 
Hunterliggett.armywmr.com

Fort Hunter Liggett, located in Monterey County, is the largest and one of the most remote U.S. Army Reserve training bases in America. Come along and join correspondent Tom Wilmer as he explores how the base provides for the moral, welfare and recreation needs of the soldiers and civilian employees, as well as the civilian residents of nearby farming communities. Wilmer visits with Brian Lee.

Thomas Wilmer

Back in the latter 19th century, African American athletes often played on baseball teams alongside whites. But segregation took an ugly turn in the dawning days of the 20th century and black players were barred through Jim Crow laws. Undaunted, black teams were formed across America. The first organized league structure was conceived in Kansas City in 1920, and thus was born the Negro National League, followed by eastern and southern leagues.

Thomas Wilmer

Retired Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary guard George DeVincenzi served on “The Rock” from 1950 to 1958, departing just five years before the infamous island prison closed forever in 1963. Correspondent Tom Wilmer met with DeVincenzi in the old prison hospital, directly across the corridor from where DeVincenzi long ago played checkers with the infamous Bird Man of Alcatraz. 

Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for an exploration of Tennessee’s rural realms. Discovery Park of America is located in Union City a 3-hour drive from Nashville. The park features an array of attractions focused on science, technology, engineering and math, a vintage train depot, log cabins, a Titan missile and much more. 

Thomas Wilmer

One of Nashville’s coolest destinations is just nine miles from the heart of downtown. Warner Park encompasses 3,100 acres of forests and open fields, featuring nationally-recognized jogging trails, biking and equestrian trails, a legendary steeplechase and a nature center.

In this episode of Issues & Ideas, we discuss affordability and housing issues on the Central Coast. Greta Mart speaks with journalist Kate Cimini of the Salinas Californian newspaper and CalMatters about her reporting on Salinas farmworking families. In another segment, we learn more about San Luis Obispo County’s YIMBY movement. YIMBY means 'Yes In My Backyard,' and the grassroots group advocates for creating more affordable housing stock in established city neighborhoods.

Thomas Wilmer

Jeff Ray, executive director at Alabama’s Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, talks about the institution, which many consider a $100 million investment in the state of Alabama and its largest philanthropic enterprise. 

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Hawaii's Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, where he visits with Brittany Horn and Madeleine Longoria Garcia—co-owners of Pacific Coffee Research; and baristas from Kona Coffee & Tea in Kailua-Kona and Waimea Coffee Company, located in the town of Waimea.

Oak Ridge National Labs

In the depths of World War II, top-secret labs were staffed around the clock to create a nuclear bomb. Oak Ridge in Tennessee, dubbed 'Secret City,' was built from scratch in a matter of months and became home to 75,000 Manhattan Project scientists and support personnel, including thousands of women. 

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from the L’ecole de la Maison Cooking School at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. General Manager Lola Roeh takes Wilmer on a tour of the award-winning cooking school. 

National Archives and Records Administration

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Geir Gundersen, supervisory archivist at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Part of the same institution, the Ford Museum is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Thomas Wilmer

Located in a century-old building in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina, Elsewhere is a 'safe space' for LGBTQ+ experiences in the American Southeast. Artists from around the world sign up for residencies to explore their craft, and educational experiences range from QueerLab to creative retreats. 

On this week’s Issues & Ideas, we get better acquainted with former San Luis Obispo city councilmember Dan Rivoire. He was recently selected to be the new executive director of leadership development for the SLO Chamber of Commerce. He’s tasked with running Leadership SLO, a county-wide program designed to bring participants out of their comfort zones to learn new leadership styles and ways of handling diversity in opinions and people.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Joe Rotondi, executive director at the Forge Makerspace in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Forge is a collective, community gathering space for artisans who share a quest to work on creative projects, incubate new businesses and share ideas.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Robert Grese, professor of landscape architecture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; followed by a conversation with Kevin Walsh, executive director at the Yankee Air Museum in Ypsilanti, Michigan where visitors can fly aboard WW2 aircraft.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Nawal Motawi, owner of Motawi Tileworks in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Motawi talks about her life journey as an artisan who started her business in a tiny garage back in the early 1990s. Motawi Tileworks was proclaimed by Forbes Magazine’s “America’s Best Small Companies 2017” as one of America’s 25 Small Giants.

Thomas Wilmer

The Detroit Street Filling Station is a vegan eatery where the owners build community in a safe space and host Ann Arbor’s monthly Lesbo-Bingo game that always packs the house. Nearby, Ann Arbor’s Hands on Museum offers kids of all ages interactive experiences, and is a trendsetter in interactive 'hands-on' learning experiences. 

Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a conversation with Chris Canning, mayor of Calistoga, California, followed by a visit with Laura Kirk Lee at Knights Bridge Winery in downtown Calistoga. Situated in the northern reaches of Napa Valley, the town has retained its historic charms and slow-paced character.

Mount View Hotel

Situated in the northern reaches of Napa Valley, the Mount View Hotel has graced downtown Calistoga with its Art Deco motifs since 1919. Hotel owner Michael Woods is such a passionate community booster that he donates 50 percent of the hotel’s profits to local nonprofit organizations. 

hlh.org

The Honolulu-based nonprofit Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative is well underway toward reaching a goal of planting 1.5 million indigenous trees on Oahu and the Island of Hawai’i. 

Thomas Wilmer

The Ark started back in 1965 as an Ann Arbor, Michigan coffee house that morphed into a legendary live-music venue. The Ark consistently attracts big name acts such as Joan Baez and Arlo Guthrie in addition to regional performers. 

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, exploring the university's Museum of Natural History with museum director Amy Harris, and the Museum of Art with its director, Christina Olsen. 

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Dr. Catherine Person, director of education at the University of Michigan’s Kelsey Museum of Archeology in Ann Arbor. The Kelsey specializes in Classical, Egyptian, and Near Eastern archeology and sponsors ongoing field research. 

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Birmingham, Alabama. Join Charles Woods III, education programs manager at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, for a TED talk-style walking tour of the institute’s museum and adjacent Kelly Ingram Park. The park was the site of major protests in the 1960s, where attack dogs were unleashed and the city's then-police chief directed assaults on the protesters with high-pressure fire hoses.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Dave Bateman-Kona coffee industry expert, lecturer and owner of Heavenly Hawaiian Kona Coffee Farms on the Island of Hawaii. Located high on a mountainside above Kailua-Kona, Bateman farms estate-grown beans, operates the popular Konalani Coffee Bar and an enticing vacation rental.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Karen Barry at the Kona Hawaiian Quilt Museum in Kailua-Kona,  Hawaii. Barry shares the story of quilting and its connection with Hawaiian history, and modern day quilting as an art form. Barry also talks about the museum’s connection with the annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival.

Thomas Wilmer

Henry Nicholas Greenwell started a family citrus and coffee farm in Kealakekua on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1850. Greenwell Farms’ first award dates from 1873 when Henry Greenwell's coffee received an award of recognition at the World’s Fair in Vienna, Austria. Today great grandson Tommy Greenwell's family is revered as the OG of Hawaii’s Kona coffee farmers. Correspondent Tom Wilmer recently spent the day with Greenwell at his coffee plantation, so come along and join the conversation about the family’s history and Greenwell’s evolution into high-tech farming, where artificial intelligence is ushering a new era in harvesting and processing coffee beans. 

Thomas Wilmer

Art is infused with the community at The Donkey Mill Art Center, situated on a mountainside in the village of Holualoa, above Kailua-Kona on the Island of Hawaii. Housed in a repurposed coffee mill, the art center is a multipurpose facility where community engagement is the operative philosophy. From art classes for kids and adults, to art shows and musical performances, Donkey Mill Art Center is a dynamic community center and gathering hub. Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a visit with Miho Morinoue, youth program director, and Mina Elison, communications director and curator.

On this week’s Issues & Ideas:  We sit down with two Santa Barbara librarians to discuss a new class open to the public called 'Fact or Fiction,' designed to help community members find accurate health information online.  And later we talk to a Lodi winemaker who credits Cal Poly’s 'Learn by Doing' philosophy for creating graduates armed with the practical, hands-on skills sought out by the wine industry.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer explores Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Join the conversation with Shelly Harms, public relations director at Visit Sheboygan; Jamie Haack at John Michael Kohler Arts Center; Mayor Mike Vandersteen; Chad Pelishek, director of planning and development and Craig Trost, communications director for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. Come along and discover why Sheboygan is the Bratwurst Capital of the World!

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