The 2020 Chautauqua was canceled due to COVID-19
We missed seeing you here in the Mono Basin, but we trust that we'll be able to go birding and celebrate the Mono Basin together when it is once again safe. Until then, follow the links to enjoy a dawn chorus from Lee Vining Canyon, and a sunset from the Mono Lake County Park Boardwalk.
Lastly, don't forget to mark your calendars for the nineteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua, June 18–20, 2021. We hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy—we're thinking of you.
Presenter Biographies 2019
Karen Amstutz lives on the edge of Yosemite National Park with her husband and their three daughters. Like many mountain creatures, Karen and her family undertake a seasonal migration upslope to Tuolumne Meadows where she works each summer as a Ranger-Naturalist. Karen earned her MA from Humboldt State University and her BS from UC Davis. She has been fortunate to have worked as a naturalist in beautiful places for most of 30 years. With her binoculars always around her neck, Karen has traveled extensively in Asia, Central America, and Europe in search of new adventures and feathered life forms.
Ted Beedy has spent most of his life birding in the Sierra, including the Mono Basin. He authored the wildlife chapters of the Water Rights Environmental Impact Report for Mono Lake, and spent three years doing field work in the Mono Basin. Along with Ed Pandolfino, he is co-author of Birds of the Sierra Nevada: Their Natural History, Status, and Distribution, which includes color illustrations of about 270 species by Keith Hansen. Ted received his Ph.D. in Zoology from UC Davis in 1982.
Peter Bergen, Out Side in Nature's director, is known as one of the most sought-after nature connection specialists in California. He is famous for his ability to guide children and adults in creating and developing lifelong personal relationships with the natural world, doing so in accordance with time-tested best practices of indigenous wisdom, harvested from around the world and from our ancestral lineages by dedicated and passionate elders, mentors, and colleagues. A deep nature connection is easily accessible to anyone who experiences and practices primitive skills, tracking, and bird language. And there is a lot of joy and laughter along the way! • outsideinnature.com
Enjoyment of birding was hard won for Savannah Boiano. She started bird watching in the middle elevation conifer zone of the Sierra Nevada where birds seemed to tease her from the dark shadows and lofty bows. Now living in the foothills of Sequoia National Park, birding is a daily part of her life. Whether sitting, hiking, biking or driving, birds are never far from her view.
Kevin C. Brown is a historian and journalist based in California. He was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and earned his doctorate in history at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Pa.). Currently, he is completing a book on how the Devils Hole pupfish survived the twentieth century, under contract with the University of Nevada Press.
Ryan Carle works as an ecologist and project leader for the environmental non-profit Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge on conservation of seabirds and their island habitat in California and Chile, and conservation research on Wilson's and Red-necked phalaropes at Mono Lake. His work involves studying seabird ecology and collaborating with artists, designers, and scientists to create innovative solutions for seabird habitat restoration and conservation. Ryan is also a lecturer with the Environmental Studies department at UC Santa Cruz.
Hernán Casañas is an environmentalist and conservationist with vast experience in field work as well as in the executive management of related organizations. He has been the Executive Director of Aves Argentinas/Asociación Ornitológica del Plata since March 2016. Hernán has carried out important projects and fields campaigns, given numerous courses and lectures, and published over fifty scientific publications and documents.
Marcela Castellino is a biologist born and raised in Miramar, Argentina. Since 2012 she has been following phalaropes and studying aspects of their ecology, first in the Great Salt Lake in Utah and then in Mar Chiquita and Epecuén lakes, two important saline lakes in Argentina. She is also currently working on her PhD at the University of Cordoba. Like the phalaropes, she loves summer, traveling, and saline lakes.
Mary Clapp is currently a Ph.D. student in the Graduate Group in Ecology at UC Davis. Her dissertation focuses on the impacts of introduced trout in high-elevation lakes on the activity of birds and bats. In her research she makes use of traditional field survey and emerging audio recording techniques. Though native to the east coast, she migrated to the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada in 2010, where her scientific imagination took flight and where she has continued to naturalize. When she isn't in the alpine zone eavesdropping on birds and bats, she can be found in lower elevations exploring riparian corridors, cliffsides, boulder fields, and hot springs, or (more likely) at her computer in Davis.
Rob P. Clay is the Director of the Executive Office of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN), housed by Manomet, Inc. WHSRN is a voluntary partnership working to protect key sites for shorebirds throughout the Americas. Rob has had a life-long passion for birds, with his earliest memories being of shorebirds and waterfowl on the south coast of the UK, where he grew up. His interest in Neotropical birds and conservation began during an undergraduate expedition to Paraguay in 1992 and led to Ph.D. studies of manakins in Costa Rica and Panama. Since 1997, Rob has called Paraguay home, where each year he sees Wilson's Phalaropes, quite possibly from Mono Lake.
Susanna Danner is the Land Conservation Program Director for the Eastern Sierra Land Trust. She comes to the Eastern Sierra from The Nature Conservancy's Idaho Chapter, where she was the Director of Protection, coordinating a statewide program to protect working lands and wildlife habitat. Before her time in Idaho, she spent fourteen years in California's Central Coast, where she received a BA in Biology and Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz and worked for Coastal Watershed Council and the Big Sur Land Trust. Though she grew up in Massachusetts, Sus and her family made frequent trips to the Sierra to ski and visit her aunt and uncle in Mammoth Lakes. She enjoys fly fishing, bicycling, birdwatching, and watercolor painting.
Pete Devine directed the non-profit Yosemite Conservancy's education programs for eight years, organizing the diverse field seminars and custom adventures that the Conservancy offers, and has now semi-retired to more of a naturalist role. Before working for the Conservancy, Pete directed the education program of Yosemite Institute (now NatureBridge) for 14 years. Born and raised near Boston and schooled in biology in Colorado, Pete has been a park ranger in Utah, an archaeologist in New Zealand, a guide on the Colorado River, and a teacher in Chile. He makes annual studies of the Lyell Glacier, and is married to a National Park Service archaeologist. He's the guy in the "Yosemite Frazil Ice" video, and has led the Conservancy's trips to Yosemite's sister national parks in China. Pete loves Steller's Jays.
Scott Dietrich grew up in the Sacramento area before moving to Lake Tahoe in 2013. He has worked in the Sierra as a biologist for the local Tahoe Resource Conservation District and Point Blue Conservation Science, and currently runs his own birding guide business in Lake Tahoe while continuing his research on Willow Flycatchers in the Little Truckee watershed. And anytime he can, he backpacks in the backcountry where he photographs, records, and films his favorite birds.
Ryan DiGaudio was born and raised in the Bay Area, and currently lives near Point Reyes, where he is a senior ecologist for Point Blue Conservation Science. Ryan has enjoyed studying birds and their habitats throughout California and beyond. And though he spends most of his birding time at lower elevations west of the Pacific Crest, Ryan finds the Mono Basin landscape and its birds particularly alluring and magical.
Deanna Dulen, longtime Mono Basin resident and explorer of forests near and far, has experienced and researched conservation challenges including her work on climate refugia and adaptation in her personal and professional work. She is member of the World Commission on Protected Areas with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and has worked at the Mono Basin Scenic Area for nine years and in five National Parks, including Devils Postpile National Monument as Superintendent.
Santiago M. Escruceria is a Colombian-born American citizen residing in California for the past 40 years. He graduated with a BA in Cultural Anthropology and a minor in Environmental Studies from Sonoma State University. He has taught environmental education, in Spanish and English, for the past 27 years, 19 of which he has spent with the Mono Lake Committee. At Mono Lake he manages the Committee's Outdoor Education Center program for Los Angeles youth. Santiago is an avid birder and bird photographer, leading birding adventures in Colombia during the winter and walks for school groups in the Mono Basin during the rest of the year. • guadualitobirdingtours.com
Krista Fanucchi is the current Birding Intern for the Mono Lake Committee. A Bay Area native, Krista was exploring and camping in Yosemite by the time she could walk. It was there in the Sierra Nevada that she gained lifelong mentors, her passion for birds, and an enduring sense of place. Krista received her B.S. in Geography with a Minor in GIS from Portland State University. She has worked and lived for six seasons in Yosemite, most recently as a bird bander for the MAPS program. She has also banded birds in Point Reyes National Seashore and researched/banded raptors at a migration site in Oregon. She is forever grateful for the opportunities she has had to observe and absorb in such a thriving community of naturalists.
Raejean Fellows serves as President of the Electric Auto Association, the oldest and largest non-profit educating and advocating for rapid adoption of electric vehicles. Raejean helped found the local chapter, Eastern Sierra Electric Vehicle Association with Mammoth Lakes local Don Condon. Raejean and Don brought the first ever National Drive Electric Day Event to Mammoth Lakes last September, where 140 attendees experienced rides in electric cars.
Lisa Fields is a California State Parks ecologist based in San Diego but works in parks extending from the Mexican border to central California. Her passion is raptor management, particularly the Osprey at Mono Lake. She initiated the Osprey nest monitoring program at Mono Lake in 2004, the nestling banding program in 2009, and the use of GPS transmitters to track migration in 2013. In San Diego, she manages the San Diego Osprey Project to document and monitor Osprey nesting in San Diego County.
Alissa Fogg is the Central Sierra Program Leader for Point Blue Conservation Science and has worked in this role since 2009. She has spent the last 15 years studying birds in the Sierra Nevada with an interest in mountain meadows, fire ecology, and conifer forest management and she coordinates the Sierra Nevada Bioregional Monitoring program in partnership with the US Forest Service. Alissa lives amidst the oaks and pines on the west slope of the Sierra west of Lake Tahoe but pursues any excuse to go birding, biking, skiing, hot-springing, and general rambling in the Eastern Sierra.
Jora Fogg grew up and went to college in Washington, moving to California in 2004 and the Eastern Sierra in 2012. Previously, she spent four years in Colorado with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies as a biologist managing State Parks and National Park Service bird monitoring programs. Jora is currently the Policy Director for the Friends of the Inyo, working on public lands projects and leading exploration outings to special places in the Eastern Sierra. She lives in June Lake with her husband and daughter. Jora enjoys time "naturalizing" (especially birding), skiing, hiking, and cycling.
Terri Geissinger is a historian/guide for the Bodie Foundation. She is active in the Mono Basin Historical Society, and has been interviewing the last surviving residents of Bodie to collect their stories and memories before they are lost. Terri has a talent for making history come alive—her interpretive programs are immensely popular because of her enthusiasm and commitment to Bodie's history.
Vern Gersh started his career as a bird watcher 25 years ago when a friend showed him a nesting Red-tailed Hawk. Once bitten by the birding bug, bird watching blossomed beyond a hobby into a passion for Vern. His passion has taken him all over the world, seeking out obscure species. He is proud to have misidentified birds on six continents!
Lacey Greene loves deserts and mountains. She is an enthusiastic observer who has spent nearly twenty years working locally on species management and conservation. She feels lucky to have worked with Yellow-legged Frogs, Phainopepla, Desert Tortoise, pupfish, speckled dace, Willow Flycatcher, pika, and Sage-Grouse. She is currently the treasurer for the Eastern Sierra Audubon Society and works for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Recovery Program out of Bishop.
Tom Hahn is a field biologist with Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Biology from Stanford University and a PhD in Zoology from the University of Washington. He has been studying crossbills, White-crowned Sparrows, and other songbirds all over the west since the mid-1980s, and has spent countless hours in the field around Tioga Pass. He enjoys observing animals in their natural habitats, exchanging observations with fellow naturalists, and learning from his students. Tom is currently on the biology faculty at UC Davis, and lives in Davis with his wife Julie and his son Lyle.
Keith Hansen is a wildlife artist who specializes in the imaginative and accurate portrayal of birds. Coming from a large family of artists and naturalists, Keith began birding in the sixth grade. While following his older brother through the woods of Maryland, a single Cedar Waxwing changed his life forever. He began to illustrate birds in 1976 and has not looked back (unless there was a bird behind him). He has illustrated 13 books, innumerable birding articles, logos, and even a 128-foot-long mural. He and his wife Patricia operate Sacred Monkey Tours, a tour company specializing in nature and cultural trips to the Central American tropics.
Kirk Hardie founded Red Tail Adventures, LLC (redtailadventures.com), which provides bird watching and ecotourism guiding services to individuals and organizations, primarily in the Lake Tahoe Basin, northern Sierra Nevada, and Great Basin, but also in other areas of the United States and abroad. He has been adjunct faculty at Sierra Nevada College since 2010. His academic interests focus on ornithology and teaching students field-based skills that can be used for research projects to further academic careers or future jobs. His research has focused on Gunnison Sage-Grouse, Lewis's Woodpecker, and breeding bird surveys in Colorado, Oregon, Nevada, and California.
John Harris' interest in the Mono Basin's mammals began while he was working as an undergraduate assistant in a study of chipmunks in 1975. He went on to study small mammals on Mono's dunes as a graduate student and has worked on small mammals in the Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley of California. John is the author of Mammals of the Mono Lake–Tioga Pass Region and recently retired from teaching at Mills College in Oakland.
Justin Hite is now in his fifth year supervising the field operations of the Kauai Forest Bird Recovery Project after more than a decade and a half of wandering aimlessly through this beautiful birdy world. Justin launched his ornithological career perched on Mono Lake's islands in the company of the noble California Gull, and will always consider the Mono Basin home.
Sarah Hockensmith leads a very active lifestyle, but will always find time to slow down to watch the birds sing. After working for the US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and various governmental agencies in the natural sciences, Sarah decided to settle down her migration and is the Outreach Director for the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science. With a smile on her face and her binoculars in hand, she leads folks on wildflower and bird tours throughout the Tahoe Basin and Sierra Nevada.
Kris Hohag, M.Ed. is a descendant of the Mono Lake Paiute/Kudzadika and an enrolled citizen of the Bishop Paiute Tribe. He is an artist, writer, educator and founder of Legendary Skies Enterprises, LLC.
Almost 20 years ago Debbie House was able to reach "escape velocity" out of southern California and move to the Eastern Sierra by accepting a full-time position as a biologist with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, where she serves as their bird nerd. Although she still misses Coast Live Oaks and California Towhees, she is now entrenched and enthralled with terminal saline lakes. She spends many hours a year walking the shoreline of Mono Lake or counting birds at Owens Lake, and her weekends anywhere quiet in Mono County. Debbie loves to help people discover something new for themselves about birds or other wild creatures.
Ann Howald is a retired botanist from Sonoma who lives in the Eastern Sierra all summer, hanging out at Hilton Creek in her used Airstream, and continuing her long-term studies of the plants of Mono County. This summer she's also leading several field trips for the Bristlecone Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, and will continue helping the Mono Lake Committee and others to rid Mono County of invasive weeds.
Oliver James fell in love with birds and the Mono Basin at a young age. He first arrived at Mono Lake as a participant in the fifth annual Chautauqua in 2006. In 2008 he joined a study of breeding Tachycineta swallows in Lee Vining Canyon and in 2011 was the Mono Lake Committee's Birding Intern. Oliver has sought birds and other creatures from Alaska to Peru but is currently a graduate student at UC Berkeley. He is the author-illustrator of Birds of Berkeley from Heyday Press.
Maya Khosla is a wildlife biologist and is currently serving as the Poet Laureate of Sonoma County (2018-2020). She plans to spend part of 2019 searching for nesting Black-backed Woodpeckers in Inyo and other National Forest lands. Maya's work in the natural world led taken her into the wild, to the page and to the screen. Her new poetry book is All the Fires of Wind and Light (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2019). Searching for the Gold Spot is her film about wild places recovering rapidly and supporting high biodiversity after wildfire – when they are not logged. The film received excellent reviews from Library Journal and Video Librarian. Maya's other books are Web of Water: Life in Redwood Creek (non-fiction), Keel Bone (poems, Bear Star Press, Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize), and Heart of the Tearing (Red Dust Press).
Sara Kokkelenberg is the Stewardship Coordinator for Eastern Sierra Land Trust. She is pleased to be living and working in the incredible beauty of the Eastside and to be continuously learning from conservation experts. Although born in a suburb of Chicago, she couldn't be happier with Bishop's desert paradise and easy access to the mountains. She spends most of her free time running from one adventure to the next—highlining, hiking, and climbing.
Linda LaPierre has spent most of the last 40 summers at Lundy Lake. She and her husband had the experience of a lifetime spending the winter of 1978–79 snowed in at Lundy. That winter introduced her to birds, as David Gaines asked them to keep a log of the birds they saw in the canyon. Linda's interest in researching Lundy began in 1984, when she located the foundation of the Lundy schoolhouse, scraping up pen nibs and the metal rings on pencil erasers. She began her research in the Mono Lake Committee's research library, spending many hours going through material in the back room of the old Committee. She has been a Mono Lake volunteer leading a history/nature tour in Lundy Canyon for the last 12 summers. It has been said that we all have "a place of the heart." Linda found hers long ago in Lundy Canyon.
Nora Livingston is a passionate naturalist who spent her childhood immersed in nature from day one. She got her professional start as a naturalist as a Mono Lake Intern in the summers of 2008 and 2009, where she led natural history tours of the lake and weekly birding walks. Her next job as a seasonal ornithologist took her to the most beautiful corners of the country and beyond for seven years. She is now the Mono Lake Committee's Lead Naturalist Guide. It is her utmost joy to share her love of birds and nature with anyone and everyone to help foster a deeper respect for this unique planet.
Burleigh Lockwood has been a field biologist since the age of four, lying on her belly watching ant highways and caterpillars chewing on leaves. She pursued biology through high school and into college. While she was finishing her degree in Environmental Biology, she began working for California Fish & Wildlife as a seasonal biologist. In a career shift to the Forest Service, she became an official 'hooter' on Spotted Owl surveys, learning the habits and hoots of the owls in the Sierra. While doing field work in the Sierra, she began volunteering for Fresno's Chaffee Zoo Education Department. She is now a staff biologist for the zoo, presenting 'Natural History Stuff' to children of all ages.
Paul McFarland has pushed dirt, paper, politics, broken vehicles, dead trees, a few too many rocks, and the bounds of rationality while working on and for the public lands and wildlife of the Eastern Sierra. A true amateur in the Latin sense of the word, there isn't one facet of our natural world that has taken precedent on any of his guided natural history explorations over the past two decades, from birds to butterflies to basalt and bedrock mortars, everything has a story that's tied to everything else. Paul lives in Lee Vining with his wife, Yvette, and children Solomon, Henry, and Lydia dreaming of a future where Highway 395 is a railway, but not much else has changed on the landscape.
Terry McLaughlin has been in love with nature her whole life. Starting by dissecting Bladder Campion (Silene vulgais) in a horse pasture as a child and moving on to design and implement two state-of-the-art naturalist training programs, she has spent her life and career outside. A self-declared penguinephile, Terry's newest passion is the adaptations of the birds inhabiting the Southern Ocean.
Ellery McQuilkin has lived in the Mono Basin for all of her fourteen years and enjoys exploring the area by foot, skis, and kayak. She is a student at Lee Vining High School entering tenth grade and likes meeting the many scientists who visit Mono Lake. Her science fair project studied fall streamflow in watersheds with glaciers versus watersheds without, and she used advanced methodology including GIS mapping and used the salt conductivity method to measure streamflow.
Geoff McQuilkin is the Executive Director of the Mono Lake Committee. Geoff's goals are ensuring Mono Lake's continuing protection, restoring Mono Lake's tributary streams, enhancing the Committee' education program, and continuing the strong tradition of scientific research at Mono Lake. Geoff has worked for the Committee since 1992, and he's happy to live close to the lake with his wife Sarah and their daughters Caelen, Ellery, and Cassia.
Peter Metropulos has spent over 30 years exploring and birding throughout Mono County and has an intimate knowledge of Mono Basin birds. He has served as one of the sub-regional editors of North American Birds magazine for over 30 years, and has co-authored several articles and bird-finding guides. Peter is a practicing horticulturist and is therefore able to identify and share many of the area's botanical wonders as well.
Connie Millar is a Senior Scientist with the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, in Albany, California. Connie is recognized for her leadership in developing climate-adaptation strategies and tools for management of western public lands. Her research team addresses a wide range of issues related to mountain environments and climate, including responses of subalpine forests and montane mammals (including American pika) to historic and ongoing climate change in Great Basin ecosystems. Connie received her PhD in genetics from the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) in 1984, holds a MS in forest genetics from UCB and a BS in forest science from the University of Washington, Seattle. She divides her time between the Bay Area in winter and the summer field season in the Mono Basin.
Bartshé Miller is the Eastern Sierra Policy Director at the Mono Lake Committee, where he works on Mono Basin policy issues such as protecting the integrity of the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area and working with the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and scientists on the ongoing restoration of Mono Lake and its tributary streams. He has lived in the Mono Basin for over 20 years, and subsequently no longer has space or money for more field guides or natural history books.
Dan Molnar is a Culinary Institute of America alumnus, has worked with Wolfgang Puck and is the former Executive Chef of the White Bark at the Westin Monache Resort. He now runs Daniel Molnar Private Catering and First Chair Food Truck in Mammoth Lakes.
Lisa Murphy is a lifelong naturalist and lover of the night sky and the flying mammals that emerge at dusk. Lisa was a naturalist Ranger in the high country of Yosemite for two decades. (Lisa appears in Yosemite's dark night sky video). She currently teaches the California Naturalist course at Columbia College in Sonora and manages the Gold Country Bat Project.
Erin Naegle is a professor of biology at Columbia College in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Among other classes she teaches Principles of Evolution and Zoology. She works with Lisa Murphy on the Gold Country Bat Project and through this she has begun a long term bat acoustical monitoring project on campus with her students.
Kristie Nelson has had a love for birds since some of her earliest memories. She has conducted ornithological fieldwork throughout much of the state, serves on the California Bird Records Committee, and has been the project leader for California Gull research at Mono Lake since 2005. She lives in the Mono Basin and is very familiar with its assemblage of bird life. When not engaged in birding activities, she is busy running a small diversified farm with her husband.
Kay Ogden saw Mono Lake for the first time when she rode in her first of three Bike-A-Thons, and her heart never recovered. She worked for the Mono Lake Committee for four years before leaving to ride her bike around the world for a year. After returning, she became the Associate Director for the Sierra Nevada Alliance, and is now home, working as the Executive Director for the Eastern Sierra Land Trust. Kay is thrilled to be back to the Eastern Sierra, and recently married her longtime partner, spending their first night married together camping overlooking Mono Lake with their rescued German Shepherd, Rush Creek.
Karyn "Kestrel" O'Hearn began following birds around during Natural History Field Quarter while at UC Santa Cruz. After graduating in 1996 (Environmental Studies BA) she worked as a teacher-naturalist at four outdoor schools, eventually making her way to the Sierra and ultimately Yosemite National Park, where she has worked as a seasonal interpretive ranger-naturalist since 2002. After more than a decade as an outdoor educator and then 8.5 years teaching middle school science, she is now finishing up a master's program in Avian Sciences at UC Davis. Her project uses soundscape recordings to characterize non-breeding bird communities in a Giant Sequoia forest across areas with different fire histories. While building her early career resume she has worked with the California Conservation Corps, Sonoma County Regional Parks, CalFire, and as biological field technician in Idaho and Eastern Oregon. When not working, her love for birds and natural history has led to being a docent and trip leader for Yosemite Area Audubon, designing and leading programs for Sierra Foothill Conservancy, and co-instructing two California Naturalist courses.
Roy Poucher has been a Sea and Sage Audubon Society (Orange County) general trip leader and trip leader in their introductory birding classes (including for aural birding) for 26 years. He has led national Audubon trips to Arizona, Texas, North Dakota, the Great Lakes, the Eastern Seaboard, and up and down California. Through his company, Bird Odyssey Tours, Roy has led international trips to Kenya, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, Thailand, Cambodia, the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and India. Tours to Chile and the Upper Texas Coast are upcoming. His passion is bird vocalization, and he has mentored aural birding with Dick Walton (author of the Peterson bird sounds audio series), Luis Baptista (late of the CA Academy of Sciences), Tom Hahn (UC Davis), and Sylvia Gallagher (Southern California educator).
Mike Prather has lived in Inyo County since 1972, both in Death Valley and Lone Pine. He has worked tirelessly on desert issues such as wildlife return at Owens Lake, water, wilderness, and parks. He currently is chair of the Inyo County Water Commission and a board member of Friends of the Inyo. Mike and his wife Nancy are retired public school teachers and have two grown daughters Robin and Phoebe. They also have four grandchildren: Corvid, Kestrel, Veery and Wren. Mike lives in the Alabama Hills above Lone Pine.
Will Richardson has been birding and conducting field research in the Sierra Nevada since 1994, including several seasons working for the organization formerly known as Point Reyes Bird Observatory in the Mono Basin and elsewhere in the Eastern Sierra. Will received his PhD in Ecology, Evolution, & Conservation Biology from the University of Nevada, Reno, studying bird communities in Sierra Nevada aspen habitats. He resides in Truckee and focuses most of his attention on the natural history of the Lake Tahoe region. He is slowly chipping away at authoring a status and distribution guide for the birds of the Lake Tahoe Basin, and is co-founder and Co-Executive Director of the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science.
Michael Ross lives with his wife in El Portal at Yosemite's western boundary, perched on a bluff overlooking the Merced River where they hear dippers sing and watch herons hunt. For more than 30 years he has led field classes and custom hikes for the Yosemite Conservancy, including many programs for children and families. He wrote and illustrated his first two children's books in 1979 and has written 40 more since then. Rolypolyology, Become a Bird and Fly, Snug as a Bug, Bird Watching with Margaret Morse Nice, and Baby Bear Isn't Hungry are a few of the titles inspired by his life and work in the mountains. His newest book Plantology includes information on bug, bird, and plant interrelationships. Michael graduated with a BS in Conservation of Natural Resources with a minor in Entomology from UC Berkeley and earned a teaching credential in early childhood education from Fresno State University.
Ane Carla Rovetta is a multi-talented presenter. She holds the Renaissance belief that art and science are kindred disciplines, each supporting and enhancing the other. She has illustrated seven books, and illustrates natural history stories in front of live audiences throughout the west. She also creates her own art supplies using local soils, stones, seeds and roots. Ane Carla was named Environmental Educator of the Year in 2015 by the Terwilliger Foundation and has received numerous grants to make non-toxic art installations with children. She lives in Sonoma County where her pastel chalks are rolled in a "funky little outbuilding that used to be a chicken coop." Ane's playful spirit makes each of her gatherings a joyful learning adventure.
April Sall is a biologist and land manager originally from the California desert where her family homesteaded for generations. She worked for the National Park Service and then The Wildlands Conservancy where she spent 11 years managing desert preserves. While at TWC April worked on renewable energy policy, the California Desert Bill and newest California desert National Monuments, Sand to Snow and Mojave Trails. April is the Director of the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership and lives in June Lake where she enjoys hiking, paddle boarding, fitness and volunteering for the Mono Lake Committee.
Dave Shuford is a recently retired wetland biologist with Point Blue Conservation Science and became immersed in avian studies at Mono Lake in 1983 when he began research on California Gulls nesting on the lake's islands. Dave has conducted breeding bird atlas projects in Marin County and the Glass Mountain region of Mono County and has surveyed shorebird and waterbird populations throughout the interior of California. He has spent countless hours exploring the hinterlands of the state and has a passion for understanding and adding to knowledge on the status and distribution of California's diverse avifauna. He regularly teaches classes with the Mono Lake Committee and with San Francisco State's Sierra Nevada Field Campus at Yuba Pass.
Stephen Shunk rode his first Mono Lake Bike-A-Thon without ever having seen the lake itself. After his first view of Mono Lake, Steve became a Monophile for life. Since then, Steve has become an accomplished professional birder, leading birding tours from Alaska to Peru and speaking at birding festivals across North America and beyond. In 1997, Steve landed on the east slope of Oregon's Cascade Mountains, where he co-founded the East Cascades Bird Conservancy and the Oregon Birding Trails program. Over the last 20 years, he has become a pathological woodpecker fanatic, and has recently published the Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America, Steve's infectious enthusiasm for birds and the outdoors will leave you with many fond memories and a new appreciation for the nature that surrounds us. • paradisebirding.com
Rodney Siegel is Executive Director of The Institute for Bird Populations, where he has been conducting and coordinating research on Sierra Nevada birds for 20 years. Much of his work focuses on the ecology of birds and fire. Rodney is particularly interested in research that has practical applications for management and conservation, and has published over 50 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and co-authored multiple conservation strategies for California birds.
Micah Silver was born and raised in Truckee and currently lives in Quincy where he works for the US Forest Service as a Wildlife Technician. Micah has been a passionate birder since 2015 and his favorite place to bird is Sierra Valley, just west of the Sierra Nevada in Plumas and Sierra counties, which is a unique region for migratory and breeding birds.
Greg Stock is the first-ever Yosemite National Park geologist. He received a degree in Geology from Humboldt State University and a PhD in Earth Sciences from UC Santa Cruz. A near-lifelong resident of the Sierra Nevada, Greg has studied and mapped the geology of the Sierra Nevada and Mono Basin for over 20 years. He resides in Yosemite Valley with his wife Sarah and daughter Autumn.
Sarah Stock is the Terrestrial Wildlife Biologist at Yosemite National Park where she has overseen the park's program for land-animal biodiversity since 2006. She studies wildlife ranging from songbird population dynamics to Great Gray Owl and Spotted Owl responses to fire, to the ecology of bats. She earned her Master's degree at the University of Idaho in 2001 where she focused on the migration ecology of forest owls. Before moving to Yosemite Valley with her family, she studied birds in locations ranging from Alaska to the South Pacific islands. Sarah has authored many technical reports and peer-reviewed publications on wildlife ecology and management.
John Wehausen is an applied population ecologist who has studied bighorn sheep populations in California since 1974. He was a member of the recovery team for bighorn sheep in the Peninsular Ranges in California and helped draft the recovery plan for that distinct population segment of desert bighorn sheep. Following their listing as a federal endangered species, he wrote most of the recovery plan for bighorn sheep in the Sierra Nevada. More recently, in 2012 he drafted a conservation plan for desert bighorn sheep in southeastern California across the large region from the White Mountains to the Colorado River. In 1995 John helped found the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation and serves as its president. In 2012 John retired as an Associate Research Scientist with the University of California's White Mountain Research Station, but continues to work full-time on bighorn sheep conservation issues in California including the Sierra Nevada. • sierrabighorn.org
David Wimpfheimer worked for the Mono Lake Committee in the mid-1980s, accomplishing a variety of educational, lobbying, and promotional objectives. On eleven 350-mile fundraising Bike-A-Thons pedaling from Los Angeles to Mono Lake, he was known to pedal off-course to pursue birds. As a professional nature guide, David educates and interprets all aspects of the environment, not just birds. For over 30 years, David has led tours and taught classes for organizations such as the Smithsonian Institution, Point Reyes Field Institute, Mono Lake Committee, Oceanic Society, Road Scholar and Wild Wings. • calnaturalist.com
Jim Woods is a lifelong birder who resides in Carson City, Nevada, where he runs his own birding tour business, Birding Under Nevada Skies. He offers birding tours of private ranches in the Carson Valley, the high mountain lakes and rivers of the Sierra Nevada, and the marshes and wetlands of the valley floors. He leads tours at the Eagles and Agriculture Festival in Nevada's Carson Valley and the Spring Wings Festival in Fallon, Nevada.