Sarah Allen leads the Science Program for National Park Service National Park Service’s Pacific West Region. For over 30 years she has studied marine birds and mammals extensively in California, and ranging from the Gulf of the Farallones to Antarctica. She has authored scientific papers on harbor seals and other topics and is currently working on climate issues for the National Park Service. She is the co-author of the UC Press book, A Field Guide to the Marine Mammals of the Pacific Coast.
Lishka Arata is the Communications Coordinator for Point Blue Conservation Science and is based at Point Blue’s headquarters in Petaluma. Her main focus at Point Blue these days is supporting excellent and engaging science communications. She has a B.S. in Biology from Humboldt State University, and has worked as a field biologist in Point Blue's San Francisco Bay Tidal Marsh, Central Valley Riparian, and Northern Sierra Forest projects. Additionally, she led education and outreach programming at Point Blue for 10 years.
Bob Atwood is a member of the Marin Audubon Society and led the most recent Sausalito Christmas Bird Count. He has his M.S. in Biology and has conducted ecological field research in Mexico. Bob is a long term resident of Marin and enjoys finding rarities and uncommon birds in California.
Sharon Barnett is co-owner of Marin Nature Adventures, science teacher at Marin Country Day School, a hiking instructor for the College of Marin, and one of Marin’s most dynamic interpretive naturalists. Known as Sharon Heron, she gets children and adults excited about nature. She is the 2011 Terwilliger Environmental Award winner for excellence in environmental education.
Bob Battagin has birded West Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area for 17 years. He has led many field trips for several Bay Area Audubon Societies and has contributed monthly birding articles to the Plumas Audubon Society’s newsletter for the past 13 years.
2019 Friday Keynote | Sharon Beals, a San Francisco-based artist who has photographed nests of various species, all collected sometime in the past two centuries and preserved in the collections of the California Academy of Sciences, the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at Berkeley, the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology and the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates, which are highlighted in her book, Nests: Fifty Nests and the Birds That Built Them. Much of Beals’ work has an environmental bent. For a past project, she photographed still lifes made from plastic trash floating in lakes and the ocean. Beal became interested in birds when reading Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds, a 1999 book by naturalist Scott Weidensaul. She learned about the incredible migrations of Arctic terns and blackpoll warblers and also about the habitat and food supply loss along many of the species’ routes. Much of Beals’ work has an environmental bent. For a past project, she photographed still lifes made from plastic trash floating in lakes and the ocean. Beal became interested in birds when reading Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds, a 1999 book by naturalist Scott Weidensaul. She learned about the incredible migrations of Arctic terns and blackpoll warblers and also about the habitat and food supply loss along many of the species’ routes. “I have become what I call a theoretical birder, one with a very short life list but on a quest to learn what birds need to be sustained both locally and globally,” Beals explains in an artist statement. “It was only after making the first photograph of a nest, drawn to its palette and messy, yet graceful and functional form, that I knew I had found my medium—or at least a way that I could be a medium for the birds.”
Jenni Benson has worked with Point Blue Conservation Science’s STRAW (Students and Teachers Restoring A Watershed) project for almost five years managing habitat restoration projects around the Bay Area. She has a keen interest in birding and always has an ear out for bird song. Prior to coming to Point Blue, Jenni held seasonal positions with The Nature Conservancy, Audubon California, and Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory. These positions gave her experience with point counts, nest searches, habitat assessment and vegetation surveys, and restoration ecology. Through these experiences, she has learned that collaboration and community involvement are essential in effective conservation efforts.
Frank Binney is a professional interpretive planner who has helped enhance visitor experiences at Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Mount St. Helens, the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, and numerous California State Parks. He is the author of Point Reyes and the San Andreas Fault Zone: The Aerial Photography of Robert Campbell. In 2004 he was named Volunteer of the Year, Pacific West Region of the National Park Service, for his pro bono help assisting National Seashore biologists with Tule elk and snowy plover studies. In his younger years, Frank explored and mapped caves throughout the world, including participation in cave surveys at Mammoth Cave National Park, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Channel Islands National Park and Lava Beds National Monument. Today he enjoys using his science background and interpretive guiding skills to help people make personal connections to the special places, unique stories and priceless resources of Point Reyes National Seashore.
Janet Bodle has recently joined Yellowbilled Tours. She retired from 35 years as a Family Physician in Corte Madera/Larkspur and is happy to be able to devote time to the logistics of YBT. Having a BA and MA in Zoology from U.C. Davis, she has had a life-long interest in nature. She has volunteered as a docent at the California Academy of Science, the Marin Foothill Yellow-legged Frog Program, and the Audubon Canyon Ranch Heron and Egret Project. In 2016, she completed the Master Birder program through the California Academy of Science and Golden Gate Audubon Society. She is a board member and volunteers for bird walks and the native garden of Olompali Historic State Park.
Heather Cameron studied with the late Rich Stallcup, is a long-time member of Point Blue Conservation Science, and has been birding in the Point Reyes area for over 22 years.
Scott Carey is an avid birder, and is currently working on shorebird and Marbled murrelet surveys with Avocet research. He has guided local bird watching trips in Marin and Sonoma counties, as well some further afield in Humboldt County and Arizona. When not out bird watching, he has participated in a number of bird surveys, as well as volunteered for the Marin Breeding Bird Atlas.
Rich Cimino lives in Marin County. As a long term EAC member & volunteer he has been leading the PRBF Beginning Birding module for 6 years. As a member of The Olompali People he has been leading quarterly bird walks in Olompali State Park for 5 years. He is the owner and field guide for Yellowbilled Tours, (a sponsor of the PRBF), which offers annual birding tours.
Josiah Clark grew up steeped in the natural history of the Bay Area, where he has been birding for more than 20 years. Defining moments of birding experiences include: observation and mist-netting on Southeast Farallon Island; extensive travel, study, and tour-leading in Latin America; and a 24-hour birding and bicycling marathon in Marin County during which he spotted 158 species. Josiah owns Habitat Potential, an ecological consulting firm dedicated to interpreting, preserving, and creating habitat for wildlife in human settings.
Susan Cochrane-Levitsky is a botanist, who has dedicated her career to conservation, leading California's programs to understand and protect endangered plants, and overseeing conservation policy to protect our state's natural diversity as the Chief of the California Department of Fish and Game's Natural Heritage Division. She also oversaw the production of several educational books on California's unique plants and wildlife. Now a landscape artist, she shares her love of nature through her paintings and by leading botanical tours in beautiful natural areas of California.
Peter Colasanti graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1974 with a degree in zoology and almost immediately came west to see more birds. Since then he’s made his home and living in the North Bay, taking long birding trips to the Neotropics in the good years, and most of them are good years. Peter leads surveys at Tolay Regional Park and Tolay Creek Ranch for Sonoma County agencies. He also leads field trips and monitors bird populations at Shollenberger Park for the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance.
Emiko Condeso is a biologist and GIS specialist for Audubon Canyon Ranch. At the Cypress Grove Research Center, she manages ACR’s long-term biological monitoring projects and collaborates with staff and partners in conservation research. Her own research interests include understanding how spatial patterns, particularly in human-altered landscapes, influence biological communities.
Joe DiDonato owns Wildlife Consulting and Photography, an East Bay biological services firm. He formerly worked as a naturalist for the East Bay Regional Park District. He specializes in raptor biology, and is a very experienced birder.
Adam Donkin grew up holding a pair of binoculars, birding the Bay Area from the age of four—Rich Stallcup was one of his many mentors. Throughout the years, he has volunteered as a naturalist and tour leader, sharing his love of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
Wendy Dreskin is a naturalist who loves and teaches about everything from birds and butterflies to wildflowers, mushrooms, lichens and galls. She has been teaching the popular Community Education class Meandering in Marin at College of Marin since 1998. She teaches nature education classes for children at various schools in Marin County, and helps train WildCare docents. She leads trips to various CA destinations as well as leading an annual safari to Tanzania. As a volunteer, she has coordinated the Marin Butterfly Count since 2005, and runs the Junior Botany program for WildCare and the Junior Bird Watcher program for Marin Audubon . She was Education Chair of the Marin Chapter of the California Native Plant Society for ten years. In recognition of her work inspiring both children and adults, she was awarded the Terwilliger Environmental Award.
Daniel Edelstein is a consulting biologist who has led birding tours for more than 25 years and presented public birding presentations in more than 20 states. Daniel has several blogs and a website about northern California birds, and is currently conducting songbird and raptor surveys for two projects. Check out his wood-warbler blog, or more on his classes at Merritt College in Oakland, CA.
Taylor Ellis is a wildlife technician at Point Reyes National Seashore, where he implements the northern spotted owl monitoring program. He has been working with spotted owls for 14 breeding seasons since first interning with the U.S. Forest Service in New Mexico. Over this time has worked throughout California and the southwest with various other wildlife species including northern goshawks, snowy plovers, and desert tortoises. He recently received his M.S. in Biology after studying the indirect impacts of tule elk on small mammal populations at Tomales Point.
Mary Anne Flett is a native Californian and naturalist. She has been birding and eco-traveling for fun and working as a professional wildlife biologist for nearly 40 years. She especially loves land birds and hearing the dawn chorus. She has conducted bird research in mountain meadows and old growth forests in the Sierra Nevada for many years; her primary current focus is on studying rare marsh species and surveying birds associated with riparian and wetlands restoration projects around the San Francisco Bay and Estuary and elsewhere in Northern California. She has been working with Lorraine Parsons and Avocet Research Associates on the Giacomini Wetlands project since 2007, before the levees were breached.
Andrea Freeman has been working as a naturalist and environmental educator for the past 23 years. She has extensive experience teaching in the outdoors and has comprehensive knowledge of the natural sciences, with special expertise in botany, ecology, marine biology and phycology (the study of seaweed). She has been a board member of the California Native Plant Society and has led botany and ethnobotany walks as well as marine biology/tidepool outings for many years. She is a member of the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers Association, loves star-gazing and sharing her knowledge of the night sky with others. She is familiar with the wildlife of Point Reyes and can identify them by sight and sound. She has a Master’s Degree in Natural History and Environmental Studies and is an enthusiastic interpreter of the marvels of the natural world. She’s also an author, poet, and storyteller and plays the Celtic harp.
Keith Hansen is an internationally known birder and wildlife artist of Bolinas, Marin County, California. He specializes in birds illustrations with scientific accuracy. His childhood interest in birds developed into a lifelong passion. He has created illustrations for various organizations to adorn or enhance publications that have included books, scientific journals, magazines, newsletters and logos. He has worked on murals, taught drawing classes, had art shows, displayed at numerous Bird Symposiums and produced private commissions. His latest accomplishment is a 14 year project illustrating a book entitled, Birds of the Sierra Nevada: Their Natural History, Status and Distribution, authored by Ted Beedy and Ed Pandolfino. He leads birding tours to Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the Yucatan. His workspace, The Wildlife Gallery is located in Bolinas, California where people are welcome to visit the studio and view originals, prints and the various works that I have on display.
Juan F. Garcia
Roger Harris is a certified Wildlife Biologist, who has lived next to and studied the Corte Madera Marsh for over 30 years. He is the author of the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s resource management plan for the Corte Madera Marsh and author of the Town of Corte Madera’s wildlife management plan for the Corte Madera Shorebird Marsh. He is currently on the Marin County Parks and Open Space Commission. Roger has been privileged to work as a naturalist on eco-tours around the world for the National Audubon Society and for the Oceanic Society.
Alan Hopkins is a California native, who obtained a BFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1976. Natural history observation and scientific processes are important elements that inform his art work. He has worked for NOAA’s Cordell Bank Ocean Monitoring Program, and is the co-founder and compiler of the San Francisco Bird Count. In 2008, he gave a slide presentation and wrote the text on the California Quail for Fritz Haege’s Animal Estates at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He was the Shipyard Trust for the Arts Naturalist in Residence from 2002 to 2007, and was awarded the Shipyard Trust for the Arts Artist in Residence from 2010 to 2012. Alan currently works in his studio at the Hunters Point Shipyard in San Francisco.
Lisa Hug M.ED., is a freelance naturalist and contract biologist. She is an experienced birder in the North Bay area whose frequent haunts include Bolinas Lagoon, Point Reyes National Seashore and Bodega Bay. She teaches bird identification classes for the community education program at the College of Marin. She is also an energetic co-leader for Shearwater Journeys Pelagic Tours. She loves to share her knowledge of and enthusiasm for the natural world with others.
Sandra Hunt-von Arb has been a wildlife biologist in Northern California specializing in sensitive and endangered species since the mid 1990’s. More recently she has found her true passion, Dragonflies & Damselflies. She surveys for the endangered Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly in Illinois. She started and manages the Facebook page Western Odonata, participates in CalOdes for reporting dragonfly sightings, and organized the last CalOdes Dragonfly Blitz (VI) in Del Norte County. She has also presented and/or led field trips on dragonflies for Godwit Days, Redwood Region Audubon Society, and Redwood Parks Association & Tolowa Dunes Stewards, among others.
Megan Isadore, an award-winning conservationist and naturalist, co-founded and directs The River Otter Ecology Project. Her previous projects include work on endangered coho salmon recovery, wildlife rehabilitation, environmental education and medical risk analysis education and publications.
2019 Saturday Keynote | Kenn Kaufman, a lifelong naturalist, is the originator and editor of the Kaufman Field Guides series. His fascination with birds developed at the age of six, and he went on to become one of the world's best-known bird experts, but his interests extend to every area of nature. In addition to his work on the field guides, Kenn is also a Field Editor for Audubon Magazine, and a regular columnist for BirdWatching and Birds and Blooms.
Kaufman burst onto the North American birding scene as a teenager, hitch-hiking around the continent in pursuit of birds, an extended journey that was later chronicled in his memoir Kingbird Highway. Establishing an early reputation as an expert on bird identification and distribution, in 1984 he became associate editor of the journal American Birds, which was then published by the National Audubon Society, and began teaching birding workshops throughout the United States and Canada. During the same period he also began leading international birding and nature tours, eventually leading multiple trips to all seven continents and many oceanic islands. His first book, A Field Guide to Advanced Birding, published in the Peterson series in 1990, drew wide acclaim, and in 1992 he became the youngest person ever to receive the lifetime achievement award of the American Birding Association (the award was later renamed, and he received it again in 2008). Since the late 1990s, most of his attention has gone into the Kaufman Field Guides. Countless hours in the field doing research and photography are followed up with countless hours of writing, editing, and design work, collaborating with experts in each subject to ensure the highest quality in the finished books. Aside from the field guides, Kenn's best-known book is his Kingbird Highway. Published by Houghton Mifflin in 1997 and still in print, it has become something of a cult classic, especially among young birders. It tells the story of his adventures as a teenager in the 1970s, thumbing rides all over North America in an obsessive search for birds. A memoir of a different kind is his Flights Against the Sunset, published by Houghton Mifflin in 2008. This book tells a series of stories "from that frontier where the world of birds intersects with the world of the humans who pursue them."
John Karachewski is a geologist for the California-EPA (DTSC) in Berkeley. He has conducted geology and environmental projects throughout the western US from Colorado to Alaska to Midway Island and throughout California. He leads numerous geology field trips for the Point Reyes Field Institute and also enjoys teaching at Diablo Valley College. Doris Sloan and John collaborated on a popular book about the Geology of the San Francisco Bay Region. He enjoys photographing landscapes during the magic light of sunrise and sunset.
John Muir Laws is a wildlife biologist, naturalist, educator, artist and Research Associate of the California Academy of Sciences. He has taught nature education teacher since 1984 in California, Wyoming, and Alaska. In 2009, he received the Terwilliger Environmental Award for outstanding service in Environmental Education. He is a 2010 TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Fellow with the National Audubon Society. He was the 2011 artist for International Migratory Bird Day. He is author and illustrator of several books including, The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling (2016), The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds (2012), Sierra Birds: a Hiker’s Guide (2004), The Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada (2007), and The Laws Pocket Guide Set to the San Francisco Bay Area (2009). He is a regular contributor to Bay Nature magazine with his Naturalists Notebook column.
Carolyn Longstreth is served as a board director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin (EAC) for 9 years and is currently the Secretary of the California Native Plant Society. She is an avid birder and the creator of the CD, Birding By Ear at Point Reyes. She taught classes on birdsong at an Audubon Center in Connecticut, and more recently at last year’s Point Reyes Birding and Nature Festival.
Dave MacKenzie is a naturalist who has been birding since he was 12. As an engineering consultant he has traveled widely, searching out birds in many areas, although his favorite patch is near his home in Muir Beach, CA. He has done monitoring of Northern spotted owls in Marin County, developed a bird list of the Redwood Creek watershed (including Muir Woods) for the National Park Service, and recently has been doing research on river otters for the River Otter Ecology Project. Dave loves everything natural, and also enjoys flyfishing, kayaking, mountain biking, wildlife tracking, and camping with his grandchildren. His current project, the Baccharis Institute, studies modern evolutionary biology.
Joe Mueller has been teaching biology at the College of Marin for 25 years. Of the 15 different courses he has taught, subjects of particular interest include ecology, marine biology, ornithology and environmental science. Taking a holistic approach to science, Joe emphasizes the inter-connective approach to understanding biology. He is the recipient of the 2008 Terwilliger Environmental Award.
Becky Olsen is an avid birder, who has been a volunteering for the Golden Gate Raptor program for about 25 years. She has participated in many bird surveys, and been a bander for Audubon Canyon Ranch on Tomales Bay and the Modini Ranch property.
Lorraine Parsons is the lead Vegetation/Wetland Ecologist at Point Reyes National Seashore for the past 17 years. She was the project leader for the Giacomini Wetland Restoration Project, which was completed in 2008. After that, she managed the Abbotts Lagoon Coastal Dune Restoration Project, which is restoring approximately 300 acres of coastal dune north of Abbotts Lagoon. She has also worked on several other wetland and dune restoration projects in the Seashore.
Todd Plummer has almost 30 years experience as a birder and conservationist. He became a Certified California Naturalist through the UC Davis program in 2014 and spends a lot of time uploading observations to iNatualist. He studied bird population dynamics and endangered species management at the University of Georgia and currently works in an aging research lab. He has led many bird hikes on both coasts of the U.S., and worked as a wildlife biologist in the Sierra Nevada. His motto: Every day, a treasure hunt.
Peter Pyle has worked as an ornithologist and marine biologist throughout the Pacific. During the 1980-2000's much of his research was conducted on birds and white sharks at the Farallon Islands and he is now a species identification specialist and consultant for the Greater Farallones Association's Beach Watch Program. He is a Research Associate both at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, and the B.P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu, and is one of the world's leading experts on the science of avian molt. To date he has authored over 170 papers in scientific journals, two books, including Identification Guide to North American Birds" Parts 1 and 2; and coauthored 3 additional books. A feather in his cap includes describing and naming a new species of shearwater (Puffinus bryani), named after his grandfather, Edwin Bryan. Peter currently works as a staff biologist for the Institute for Bird Populations in Point Reyes Station.
Dave Shuford has been a senior scientist in the Wetlands Ecology Division at Point Blue Conservation Science since 1975. Primary interests include the status, distribution, trends, and conservation of birds in California and the West. Major research projects have focused on: shorebird distribution and abundance throughout the Pacific Flyway; colonial breeding waterbirds in California; reconnaissance surveys at the Salton Sea and Klamath Basin; and long-term trends and reproductive success of California Gulls at Mono Lake relative to concerns over water diversions.
Dan Singer has been studying birds since childhood. His interest and expertise in difficult identification issues and the status and distribution of birds in California, North America, and much of the the rest of the world, led to many years as a regional editor for the journal North American Birds. He has served as a member of the California Bird Records Committee since the 1990s. Dan spends an inordinate amount of time watching gulls, but would rather be at sea looking for petrels. He can often be found leading pelagic trips along the central California coast. For the past several years Dan has been a regional editor for eBird in California. His latest mission is to make you an eBirder.
Meryl Sundove is an environmental educator, formerly with the National Audubon Society at the Richardson Bay Audubon Center and now with Point Blue Conservation Science's Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed (STRAW) program. She is a recipient of the Terwilliger Environmental Award. Meryl has lived next to and studied the Corte Madera Marsh for over 30 years. She also teaches the popular spring birding by ear class for the Marin Audubon Society. Meryl has been privileged to work as a naturalist on eco-tours around the world for the National Audubon Society and for private vendors.
Bill Walker is a Bay Area wildlife photographer who has been photographing wild birds and their environment since 2003. He has taught photography for Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society and the Coastside Land Trust. His work is published on flickr, at birdwalker.com, and in his annual BirdWalker wall calendar.
Jim White is an avid birder. He graduated as a chemical engineer from Iowa State University in 1962, and has worked in the field of general contracting. He also enjoys hiking, camping, biking, and skiing.
Ken Wilson is the owner of Talon Tours, is a native New Zealander and has been leading nature and bird watching tours worldwide since 1995. Ken has also led focused tours in many national and state parks in the western United States, as well as key birding sites during migration. He is a long time Sonoma county resident and has taught many popular classes in the county.
David Wimpfheimer is a biologist, naturalist and EAC board member with a passion for the birds and natural history of the West. During his twenty years of expeditions, in addition to local classes for the Point Reyes Field Institute, Marin Agricultural Land Trust and the California Academy of Sciences, he has led numerous tours to Mexico, Alaska, Scotland and other regions for groups including the Smithsonian Institution, Wild Wings, and Elder hostel. Although the majority of David’s field trips are geared toward teaching and interpreting the language of the avian world, he is just as experienced teaching the rich diversity of the greater natural world. From whale watching expeditions to wildflower forays, he will make every visit to the natural world memorable and enjoyable.
COVER PHOTOGRAPH: DAVID WIMPFHEIMER