Thank you to all the guides who make the Point Reyes Birding and Nature Festival a huge success!
Sarah Allen is the Ocean and Coastal Resources Program Lead for the 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 Conservation Educator for Point Blue Conservation Science in Petaluma. 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. She has conducted marbled murrelet surveys in Southwest Oregon, yellow-billed cuckoo monitoring in Southeast Arizona, and plant (tropical liverwort) research on the Island of Trinidad. In 2007, she migrated from field biology to conservation education to disseminate Point Blue's science to various audiences and help inspire the current and next generation of conservation scientists and environmental stewards.
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.
Paul Bannick is an award-winning wildlife photographer specializing in the natural history of North America with a focus on birds and habitat. Coupling his love of the outdoors with his skill as a photographer, he creates images that foster the intimacy between viewer and subject, inspiring education and conservation. Paul was involved in our festival in 2016 as the featured keynote speaker. He also lead a private birding event, and a bird walk for youth focused on Woodpeckers. He is the author and photographer of two books, Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls, and The Owl and The Woodpecker, Encounters with North America’s Most Iconic Birds. His work has won awards from several prestigious photography contests, including those hosted by Audubon Magazine and the International Conservation Photography Awards. You can find his photography prominently in bird guides from Audubon, Peterson, The Smithsonian, Stokes, The National Wildlife Federation, and in several volumes of the Handbook of the Birds of the world. His work has been featured in a variety of publications from The New York Times, Audubon, Sunset, Nature’s Best Photography Magazine, Birds and Blooms, Ranger Rick, Pacific Northwest (two cover stories), Seattle Times, Alaska Air Magazine, and in many other books, magazines, parks, refuges, and other outlets in North America and Europe. He has appeared on NBC Nightly News, Evening Magazine, King 5 and on dozens of NPR stations and programs, including Travels with Rick Steves and BirdNote.
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.
Gordon Bennett is the former president of Westbrae Natural Foods, a naturalist guide trained at Audubon Canyon Ranch, a member of their Board of Advisors, and a graduate of the Environmental Forum of Marin. Gordon is also a 20-year veteran of the Gulf of the Farallones BeachWatch program, a researcher and educator for its harbor seal program, and was the 2003 National Marine Sanctuary Volunteer of the year. He has surveyed salmon and spotted owls for NPS, was an elephant seal educator for ten years, and was appointed by Bruce Babbit to the Federal GGNRA/PRNS Citizens Advisory Commission. Gordon has birded, herped, and friended with Rich Stallcup for over 20 years. He and his wife, Kate, hold the record for the first Limpkin in Jalisco, have banded albatross with Peter Pyle on Midway, and have lain prone with Bob Stewart viewing flowers at Chimney Rock. Gordon has been involved with coastal issues at local, state and national levels for over two decades. During that time, he has worked for Marin Audubon, the Sierra Club and EAC. His work saving Bolinas Lagoon was featured in a 2008 documentary Call It Home – Searching for Truth.
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.
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 21 years.
Scott Carey is an avid birder and works for Wild Birds Unlimited in Sebastopol. 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 and has been birding northern California for over 50 years. He is the owner and field guide for Yellowbilled Tours, which offers annual birding tours to Nome and Barrow Alaska, as well as California, Arizona, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Belize and France. In support of the Olompali State Historic Park, he leads a monthly beginning bird walk and a CBC section. He is an advocate for nature and served for eight years as the conservation chair for the Ohlone Audubon Society. He participated in the Altamont Pass Wind Turbine Area Golden Eagle & Raptor surveys. He is the compiler of the Eastern Alameda County Christmas Bird Count now in its ninth year. Conservation, bird photography and eco-sustainable tourism are his other interests.
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.
Daniel Dietrich is a professional wildlife photographer, a certified California Naturalist, and owner and guide of Point Reyes Safaris. His travels have taken him and his camera to every continent on the planet to photograph wildlife. He is on board of directors for the Environmental Action Committee and is on the ethics committee for the North America Nature Photography Association (NANPA).
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.
Jules Evens is a naturalist and writer, who has lived and birded in the Point Reyes area for more than three decades. He is the founder and principal of Avocet Research Associates and a long-time research associate with Point Blue Conservation Science and Audubon Canyon Ranch. His primary research focuses on tidal wetlands and avian population trends. He is the author of The Natural History of the Point Reyes Peninsula and An Introduction to California Birdlife (both published by University of California Press), as well as various scientific papers and natural history articles.
Mark Forney was born and raised in Massachusetts where he enjoyed the outdoors and studied biology. He moved to California about twenty years ago to pursue a graduate degree in conservation biology. Mark moved to Marin County in 2007 where he took up birding in earnest, and has since concentrated on the birds of Marin. He enjoys learning about the distribution patterns, in space and time, of the commonly encountered birds species of the area. Mark seeks to learn something new every time he observes a bird, be it a behavior, a plumage, or a call.
Andrea Freeman has been working as a naturalist and environmental educator for the past 20 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.
Harry Fuller is a resident of McMinnville, Oregon, and is an active volunteer with Klamath Bird Observatory. He was a long-time San Francisco resident and birder where he led numerous professional and volunteer trips in that area. He has taught classes on early American ornithology, bird song and field identification at the California Academy of Sciences, local Audubon groups and Point Reyes Field Institute. He has written Freeway Birding, about Interstate-5, Great Gray Owls of California, Oregon and Washington, and just published a history of changes in San Francisco’s natural habitats and wildlife since the earliest written records. Check out his Oregon & Northern California bird updates or Partnership for International Birding.
Rob Furrow teaches evolutionary biology at San Jose State University. As a birder, he focuses on birding by ear and green (carbon-free) birding. Recently, he has been tackling the quest to set the highest biking big day record in the United States. He performs surveys throughout the SF Bay Area, and tries to record bird song whenever he can. He has led birding and naturalist trips for the past decade and still gets extremely excited before every trip, whether it’s with 4th graders, college students, or adults.
Tom Gaman is a forester, and the co-founder of East-West Forestry Associates, an environmental consulting firm dedicated to sustaining and restoring the vitality and diversity of forests and watersheds in California and communities around the globe.
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.
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.
Burr Heneman has been involved in marine issues at state, national and international levels for 45 years. He also has a long-time interest in native plants. He has participated in seabird and white shark research on the Farallon Islands and other field work in Galapagos, Mexico, Shetland, the Lesser Antilles, and Belize. Burr designed the Packard Foundation’s global seabird conservation program. His past marine conservation emphases have included fisheries management reform, oil-spill prevention and response (including the 1989 Exxon Valdez and 1991 Gulf War oil spills), and marine debris. He is a former Executive Director of the Point Reyes Bird Observatory (now Point Blue Conservation Science).
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.
David Jaffe has guided and taught a variety of audiences about our natural world and our connection with it for over 20 years. His childhood interest in natural systems eventually brought him to Evergreen State College where he earned a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Geology, followed by a M.S in Applied Ecology from the University of Vermont. Mingling an academic background with experience working around the world in exceptionally diverse environments, he is able to efficiently observe, understand, and interpret natural and cultural history. He has climbed onto an elephant in Nepal, looked into the eyes of masked boobies in Galápagos, sought nudibranchs on the Great Barrier Reef, and walked the Ghats along the Ganges River in India. He has led backcountry trips in Denali National Park, learned from students in Kentucky, and gained great insights while hitchhiking home from work in Yosemite National Park. In addition to working many years in Denali National Park, he has worked in Southeast Alaska on various ships. He has experience as a naturalist in many of the lower 48 states. And he has also worked as a divemaster in Australia, Costa Rica, and India. He assisted with the establishment of a marine protected area off the coast of Madagascar and researched birds in Canada and South America. His enthusiasm about the natural world is contagious.
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 Kelly is the Director of Conservation Science for Audubon Canyon Ranch. He develops scientific programs and conservation activities for ACR’s system of wildlife sanctuaries in Marin and Sonoma counties and for associated systems such as Tomales Bay. John’s scientific interests focus on habitat relationships, foraging, and energetics of coastal and estuarine birds, and on the breeding biology of herons and egrets in the San Francisco Bay area. He also works on local and regional conservation issues and serves on the Tomales Bay Watershed Council.
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.
David McGuire is the founder of the non-profit Shark Stewards with the mission of restoring ocean health by saving sharks and protecting critical marine habitat. Educated in Marine Biology, David holds a masters degree in Environmental Health from UC Berkeley. David is the writer, producer and underwater cinematographer of several award-winning documentaries, including Sharks of San Francisco Bay. A sailor and diver, he has participated in several ocean expeditions around the world for National Geographic, the California Academy of Sciences where he is a research associate and a Patagonia explorer. He has also published numerous articles on the state of the ocean and sharks and writes a blog on sharks and ocean health called Ocean Voices. David catalyzed and built a coalition leading to the introduction and passage of the California Shark Conservation Act, AB 376, and has worked on similar legislation in 10 other US States. He also volunteers his time on several boards including the Cordell Bank National Marine sanctuary Foundation and the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival. He is a popular public speaker on sharks and the ocean and lectures at the University of San Francisco- especially during Sharktober. His current work includes an assessment of the San Francisco Bay shark and ray population, a federal bill to ban the shark fin trade and establishing shark sanctuaries in Malaysia.
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.
Fiona O'Kelly is a Bay Area native, and has always known that she wanted to spend her days in the wilds of the world. She has spent almost two decades sharing her love of Northern California's varied habitats with people of all ages as a career outdoor educator and naturalist. She has lived in Point Reyes for the last twelve years, during which she worked as a naturalist for a local summer camp exploring the woods, creeks, marshes and bluffs of Point Reyes National Seashore, and as a seasonal park guide for the National Park Service at Point Reyes National Seashore. Fiona is a Certified California Naturalist with a B.A in Environmental Studies and a Biology minor from Sonoma State University.
Claire Peaslee is a naturalist, writer and editor, and improvisational theater artist inspired by the lands and waters of greater Point Reyes. She offers Listening To Gaia events for people to come into full, embodied connection with the living world and learn while receiving its gifts.
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.
Bob Power was the lead field seminar leader for the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society from 2006--2015, leading and co-leading both domestic and international birding eco-tours. Bob has been a day-leader for the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory’s HawkWatch program for the past fourteen years, taught Introduction to Birding at Palo Alto Adult School for seven years and has been a field trip leader for the festival since its inception.
Peter Pyle has been working for the Institute for Bird Populations (IBP) since 1996, where he conducts research on molt, writes, and holds banding workshops. He is a Research Associate at the California Academy of Sciences and the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, and has authored or co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed papers, four books, and a monograph on the birds of Hawaii. He is perhaps best known for his two part Identification Guide to North American Birds, which has detailed criteria for aging and sexing. In 2011 he had the good fortune of describing a new species, Bryan's Shearwater, and naming it after his grandfather. He attended Swarthmore College while also working on forest bird surveys in the South Pacific, and was also a biologist on the Farallon Islands for 15 years.
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.
Juan-Carlos Solis is passionate about connecting people to nature and designing programs to experience our planet first-hand. He’s a seasoned expedition leader and naturalist with 20 years of experience managing and leading local trips in California and in all of the world’s 7 continents. While working as Public Programs Manager for the California Academy of Sciences for 9 years, and Field Associate for the Ornithology and Mammalogy Research Department, he led several local and international natural history programs including Academy Travel Expeditions to Antarctica, Baja California, Mexico and Canada’s West Coast. He continues to lead trips for other companies and has lectured on environmental education topics in India, Australia, Panama, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, and most recently in Sweden. Throughout his career, Juan-Carlos has been praised for his hands-on teaching style, enthusiasm and vision for environmental education. He pioneered the delivery of interpretive programming at the California Academy of Sciences and significantly contributed to the design of the highly interactive model of the new Academy. Moreover, as Director of Education for WildCare, Juan-Carlos founded new programs serving thousands of children and families with field trips to some of the Bay Area’s most beautiful parks, including Muir Woods, China Camp and Spring Lake. Through one of these programs, WildCare Family Adventures, and in collaboration with the Audubon Society and Point Blue (former PRBO), he organized the very first bilingual / bicultural Christmas Bird Count for Latino families in the United States in 2009.
Kevin Stockmann is a naturalist, a marine biologist and co-founder of Marin Nature Adventures. He designs and leads birdwatching and wildlife viewing tours throughout Marin County. Kevin also works offshore for NOAA Fisheries as a commercial fishery observer.
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.
Richard Vacha has studied tracking and nature awareness for over 30 years, has hosted the Marin Tracking Club for 10 years, and has started the Point Reyes Tracking School, offering classes, workshops, guided walks and tracking surveys. He has been writing a monthly column for the Point Reyes Light, Tracking Notes, about local tracking and the philosophy of awareness. He is currently publishing a collection of 50 essays in a book titled, The Heart of Tracking.
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, 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.
Bill Yeates is a birder, and the former President of the Monterey Peninsula Audubon Society. He is currently on the Governing Board of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency appointed by the California State Senate.
Julie Zickefoose is an avid birder, artist, author and our 2017 Saturday night keynote speaker. She loves to introduce people to birdwatching, and has spoken at a number of festivals around the country. She started off as an illustrator of natural history subjects as a college freshman in 1976. A six-year stint as a field biologist with The Nature Conservancy's Connecticut Chapter proved a strong motivator both to learn more about ecosystems and to go back to drawing. Along the way, she began to write her own essays, studded with observations of birds and animals, and writing slowly crept into the forefront of her interests. Bird Watcher's Digest has been the major print venue for her writing since 1986, and she's painted 27 covers for the magazine. She was a contributor to National Public Radio's All Things Considered from 2005-2010, telling stories of bird-eating bullfrogs and orphaned hummingbirds. She is also an author of Letters from Eden, The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds With Common Birds, and her newest book, Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest. She lives with her family on an 80-acre wildlife sanctuary in Appalachian Ohio and leads birding trips abroad.
COVER PHOTOGRAPH: DAVID WIMPFHEIMER