Welcome to Special Guest- James Currie

2016 James Currie web pic

 Special Guest James Currie is a birding expert, conservation advocate, and host of Nikon’s Birding Adventures TV and Nat Geo Wild’s Aerial Assassins. He was born, raised, and worked in Cape Town, South Africa. James and his family have lived in Florida since 2007. A life-long birder and native of South Africa, James Currie has led professional wildlife and bird watching tours for over 12 years and his passion for birding and remote cultures has taken him to far corners of the earth from the Amazon and Australia to Africa and Madagascar. He has contributed to several publications, including the acclaimed Southern African Birdfinder. He is also an expert in the field of sustainable development.


Presenters, Workshop Leaders
& Field Trip Guides

Taylor Abbott  

Genevieve Atwood is an earth scientist - geographer, a former three-term state legislator and former State Geologist and Director of the Utah Geological Survey. She is currently Chief Education Officer of Earth Science Education, a small not-for-profit organization that uses local geology to teach teachers earth science principles, outdoors, in their students' neighborhoods. She is an Associate Instructor in the Geography Department at the University of Utah and teaches Geography of Utah.

Tim Avery has worked for the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory and the Utah DWR doing bird surveys.  He currently holds Utah's Big Year record.

John Bellmon is a life-long birder. He helped organize the 1st Ogden Christmas Bird Count 30 years ago.  He is founding president of the Wasatch Audubon Ogden Chapter-1981, and founding chairman of the Audubon Council of Utah-1985.  He served on the board of Directors of the National Audubon Society as representative of the Rocky Mountain Region from 1998-2004.

Randy Berger is a graduate of Utah State University and has been with DWR for 25 years working in wetlands management. He is manager of Salt Creek, the Public Shooting Grounds, and Locomotive springs WMA. He is also the project leader for the Invasive and Noxious Weed Control Project for DWR's Waterfowl Management Areas (2006-2018).

Jeff Bilsky is one of the few individuals that have seen over 300 birds in the state of Utah in the span of one year.   Jeff is entertaining, as well as informative; his trips are bound to leave you stimulated.  Jeff has a vast knowledge of birds, habitats, and migrant traps in and throughout the state of Utah.  Birding with Jeff is an unforgettable learning experience.

Adam Brewerton grew up birding in Utah and has been a fan of the outdoors just as long.  He has worked for the Division of Wildlife Resources as a bird biologist/ecologist for 6 years.  He currently works in the Northern Region as the Sensitive Species Biologist for the region.  He recently earned a master's degree in Avian Ecology from Utah State University studying sagebrush songbirds following Utah's largest wildfire, the Milford Flat Fire.  Like most that choose the outdoors as their office, he loves to ski, bike, hike, and raft when he is not working from behind a pair of binoculars.

Howard Browers is currently the wildlife biologist at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.  His background includes managing eight refuges located in northeast Oregon and southeast Washington.  He holds a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology from Oklahoma State University and a M.S. in Wildlife Science from South Dakota State University.

Ron Brown is co-owner of R&G Horse and Wagon with his wife, Ginger.  They started doing a Roman-style rider act in a wild west show in 1970 and have wrangled horses for several major motion pictures.

Jaimi Butler is the coordinator for Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster college.  Since 1999 Jaimi has been working in and around GSL as a field and lab biologist for a variety of organizations.  As coordinator of GSLI she manages undergraduate research, K-12 outreach and does anything she can to spend as much time at the lake as possible.

Terri Clemons got involved with birding when she bought a cat named Oliver seven years ago and set up a bird feeder on her balcony to keep him occupied and out of mischief. She enjoyed the birds more than the cat did, and took it up as a hobby. She especially enjoys viewing shorebirds and raptors. Terri is also a volunteer and seasonal employee at Antelope Island State Park.

Kate Davis    

Joseph Donnell began his career in parks and recreation in 1984 working with a county parks system in Pennsylvania while attending high school and college.  He graduated from slippery Rock University with a dregree in Recreation Resources Management.  He has worked for the US Fish and Wildlife service in Rhode Island and Connecticut doing endangered species studies and protection.  In 1992 he began a career with Utah State Parks and Recreation as a Park Ranger and is currently the Park Manager at Rockport State Park.

Kathy Donnell is the Park Naturalist at Rock Cliff State Park.  She is also a volunteer for HawkWatch International and serves on the Utah Society for Environmental Education Executive Committee.

Phil Douglass has served the people and wildlife of Utah for the past 20 years. His experiences include wetland biologist, assistant manager at Farmington Bay WMA and his current assignment as Regional Conservation Outreach Manager. His current duties include managing all outreach programs for Northern Utah, which include hardware Ranch WMA, education and education programs.

DaLyn Erickson is the Rehabilitation Specialist  and Executive Director at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah.  She has over 13 years of experience training and working with every species of raptor as well as most non-raptor species native to Utah.  Throughout these years DaLyn has also provided wildlife education programs for groups of all ages. 

Bill Fenimore is affiliated with the Wild About Birds store in Layton, Utah.  He was selected as the International Franchise Association's "Franchisee of the Year 2008".  Bill also won in 2008 the "Roger Tory Peterson Nature Education Achievement Award" from the Roger Tory Peterson Institute and the "Ludlow Griscom Award for Outstanding Contributions to Regional Ornithology" from the American Birding Association.  He is the author of "Backyard Bird Guides", a series for each of the 50 states.  Bill's Wild Bird Center was selected as the Utah Business of the Year 2009 for Environmental Education by the Utah Society for Environmental Education.

Kenny Frisch has been birding all his life, mostly in his native western New York but also traveling to all parts of the country. Since moving to Utah in 2011 he has thrown himself headfirst into Utah birding, seeing over 335 species so far. He helps contribute at Utahbirders.com.

Valerie Frokjer discovered her passion for birds after an Ornithology class at Weber State University, while obtaining her Bachelor's degree in Zoology.  She then went on to work for Dr. John Cavitt doing a Colonial Waterbird Survey all over Utah.  She is currently employed at Weber State University.

Brian Ferguson is retired from the U.S. Forest Service.  He has worked in diverse ecosystems and promotes quality habitat for many species of wildlife.  He volunteers at Antelope Island State Park and Bear River National Migratory Bird Refuge.  He is also a nature photographer.

Dave Ghizzone is the owner operator of Gonzo Tours.  His kayak and pontoon boat business is located at the Antelope Island State Park marina.  His birding tours spotlight birding along the shores of Antelope Island and Egg Island (but not close enough to disturb the nesting birds.

Charity Gibson is the Naturalist at Antelope Island State Park.

Dick Gilbert is past President and also has been water master of the Ambassador Duck Club since 1993. The Ambassador is a 3,000 acre privately-managed wetlands and uplands habitat on the south shore of the Great Salt Lake.  He is an avid birder and hunter.

C. Val Grant is president of Bio-Resources, a company looking for environmentally friendly solutions for industries.  He has served three years as president of Bridgerland Audubon.

Stephanie Greenwood   

Ron Greer is a former Habitat Restoration Biologist for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. His master studies focused on Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse on the 4 Mile Ranch.

Mike Hearell has grown up as an avid waterfowler and has a passion for learning about and finding ducks. This background was easily converted to the world of birding.

Rich Hansen is currently Area Manager of Farmington Bay WMA.

Dallin Henderson is an avid bird watcher and outdoorsman.  Teaching and working in Scouting as a Scout master, Cub master, Varsity Coach, and Round Table Trainer for more than 25 years.  He firs fell in love with bird watching while attending college in eastern Idaho and enrolling in a Western Bird Study class and has been watching birds ever since.  Contractor by trade, bird house builder by profession.

Home Depot, Centerville has been a Festival Partner for many years.  They are a great asset to our community.

Dr. Frank Howe has been with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources for 15 years as the Coordinator for the Partners in Flight, Mexican Spotted Owl and Non-game Avian Programs.  He is currently involved with a variety of issues in avian ecology, including riparian and shrub-steppe bird monitoring, Endangered Species surveys, bird/habitat model development and population trend analyses.  Frank enjoys leading field trips that offer a mixture of bird ID and ecology.

Bob Huntington has a passion for birdwatching that takes him into the field 3-4 days a week.  He leads field trips for GSL Audubon and Salt lake Birders and he participated regularly for six+ years in the Great Salt Lake Waterbird Survey.

Dick Hurren has always been interested in birds and birding in the US, Europe and the Middle East.  He served as Outings chair for Bridgerland Audubon for 6 years. He currently is a volunteer for Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.

Gerry Johnson grew up in the remote areas of northern Minnesota, spending a lot of time in the woods and on the lakes in the area. This experience helped instill in him a love of nature and keen observation of wildlife. Formally educated as an engineer, his photographic education has been mostly self-taught, along with a lot of help from his friends.

Allison Jones received her Master's degree in Conservation Biology from the University of Nevada at Reno. She has since worked as an endangered species specialist in both Colorado and Utah studying threatened birds, small mammals, and plants. Currently she is conservation biologist for the Wild Utah Project. Recently she has been a member of the Utah State task forces concerning Utah's black bear management plan, wolf conservation and management plan, and recently participated in the planning process for Governor Herbert's recently released Greater Sage Grouse Conservation Plan to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Patrick Kelly says he has been a duck hunter since the age of 12 and a birder since the age of reason.  He is a member of the Ambassador Duck Club and Great Salt Lake Audubon.

Tonya Kieffer is the Utah DWR community fisheries program biologist and KSL Outdoors Correspondent with Adam Eakle.  She has called Utah home for 4 short years, and carried her love for birding from the great state of Ohio, where she grew up and was fortunate to be involved in a birding mecca with a very passionate group of birders from the McGee Marsh and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge area- such as Kenn and Kim Kaufman, Mark and Julie Shieldcastle, Tom Kashmer.  She also worked for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology on the Ivory-billed woodpecker recovery team in the 2007-2008 field season in the Big Woods of SE Arkansas, where the search for Elvis still continues.  She received her bachelor of science in Biology with a wildlife management emphasis from the University of Findlay in Findlay Ohio.

Jerry Liguori

John Luft graduated from Kansas State University with a B.S. in Wildlife Biology.  He has worked for DWR since 1994 at Ogden Bay WMA and Farmington Bay WMA as assistant superintendent.  He is now the Project Coordinator for the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem Project.

Bob MacDougal has been birding more than 20 years. He is past president of Salt Lake Birders and is an experienced field trip leader.

Wayne Martinson works as Utah Important Bird Areas Coordinator for National Audubon Society.  In 2008, Keith Evans and Wayne co-authored a book titled: Utah's Featured Birds and Viewing Sites: A Conservation Platform for IBA's and BHCAs.

Keeli Marvel discovered the wonderful world of birds while taking ornithology and world bird families courses at Brigham Young University.  She has a Master's degree in Wildlife and Wildlands Conservation and has been the Natural Resource Specialist at Dugway Proving Ground for the last two years. She love spending time outdoors and currently serves as the president of the Utah County Birders.

Samuel McKay is the Native Aquatic Biologist for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Northern Region.  He will give a hands-on presentation on native amphibians and reptiles of Utah.  

Katie McVey is a Wildlife Refuge Specialist at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Brigham City, UT.  She originally hails from north-central Wisconsin and holds Masters of Raptor Biology from Boise State University, where she studied burrowing owls.  Katie is an avid naturalist and has passion for teaching about the out-of-doors.

Bonnie Messinger and her family began watching the Burrowing Owl colonies in the West Desert of Utah in the late 1980's.  Over the next decade they observed ongoing habitat destruction and the gradual decline of some established colonies.  Bonnie and her husband, Jim, began videotaping the 'Clowns of the Desert' in 1999.  They joined a group (Raptor Inventory Nest Survey-RINS) of raptor enthusiasts tracking raptor nesting activity on the West Desert in 2000.  Each spring and summer Bonnie observes and videotapes Burrowing Owl activity and creates educational video to give others the opportunity to watch the antics of these comical desert dwellers.

John Mull is an insect ecologist who teaches in the Department of Zoology at Weber State University. His research interests include ant-plant interactions, seed dispersal, and pollination biology.

John Neill works with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources as an Avian Biologist for the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem Program. He began with the program in 2001 and has developed a deep appreciation of the Great Salt Lake and its abundant life by conducting lake-wide bird surveys.

Ann Neville has been the manager of Kennecott's Inland Sea Shorebird Reserve since it opened in 1997.  She is the North American representative for Birdlife International and their Birds and the Environment partnership with Rio Tinto.

Dr. Russ Norvell has been working in the field with the birds of Utah for the past 16 years.  Currently, he works with Utah's Non-game Avian program designing and conducting research on Utah's riparian and shrubsteppe bird population trends, and is finishing his graduate studies (USU) on the shrubsteppe-obligate birds of Rich County.

Ryan O'Donnell   

Dave Oleyar, HawkWatch International

Bryant Olsen has been a bird lover since he picked up an 'Audubon Society Guide to Birds of North America' when he was 19 and has been actively studying and seeking out the company of birds ever since- almost 20 years now.  Really more of a naturalist than a 'birder', he focuses on the way birds interact with their environment.  Besides birds, he also has an interest in no-feathered wildlife, botany, geology, astronomy, as well as gardening.  He works at the Salt Lake City Public Library.

Neil Paprocki    

Don Paul is president of AvianWest Inc., a bird and habitat conservation business. He currently serves on the Shorebird Science Team for the Intermountain West Joint Venture. He is also President of the Linking Communities, Wetlands and Migratory Birds, Utah Committee. He also consults for a variety of organizations interested in conservation. He is a career wildlife biologist having served 34 years in several positions for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and four years as the Great Basin Bird Conservation Region Coordinator. Don is also a founding member of the GSL Bird Festival planning committee.

Eric Peterson has worked at Utah's Hogle Zoo since 1994.  He is a senior keeper there and works with the Elephants and Rhinos.  He is an active member of the Utah County birders and a Citizen Scientist for Hawkwatch International.  He is also a published photographer, with a passion for catching wildlife through the lens of a camera.

Carolina Roa is the Conservation Science Program director at Salt Lake City's Tracy Aviary.

Shyloh Robinson loves birds... A LOT:. I started birding mid 2009 after having a mystical experience with the Great Blue Heron we saw while river rafting through Desolation Canyon in Central / Eastern Utah. Observing the heron standing stoically before snatching a fish, then gobbling it down while we floated by was a genuine face melting experience. When they spread their wings and took flight, so did I. I was spellbound and completely captivated. I HAD to see those birds again.

Jolene Rose is a biologist at Antelope Island State Park.

Vivian Schneggenburger began doing river trips many years ago and has been enthralled with the bird life along our Western river corridors.  As a nurse she has a flexible schedule and spends time birding while hiking, river running and skiing.

Bret Selman and his family are the owners of 4-Mile Ranch.  They have been caretakers of this unique land for generations and are avid birdwatchers.

Dennis Shirley is a retired Conservation Officer for Utah Dept. of Wildlife Resources.  He is a well known local birder and as of 2006 holds the Utah Bug Year Record.  He is an active member of Utah County Birders.

Lee Shirley is a former Biology teacher and has served as President of Utah Audubon Council.  He is on the Northern Region Advisory Council of the DWR, past President of Wasatch Audubon Society, on the Board of the Ogden Nature Center and Friends of the Bear River Refuge.  Lee and Paula Shirley enjoy sharing their enthusiasm for birds and birding.

Doug Sims is a professional photographer from Davis County.  He is the co-founder/president of the Photgraphix Camera Club of Layton, Utah and board member of the Salt Lake Photo Club.  Doug teaches the Wildlife Photography Class at the Tracy Aviary.

Arnold Smith has been interested in birds, especially their nesting behavior since he was eight years old.  He is a long time active member of Wasatch Audubon.

Weston Smith grew up watching birds with his father, Arnold.  As a lifetime resident of Morgan County he has spent countless hours bird watching in different areas of the county.  Weston also enjoys feeding birds and has counted approximately 124 species of birds in his yard over the past 6 years.  Weston is a new member of the Board of Directors for Wasatch Audubon Society.

Ella Sorensen is a well-known Utah birder and author and has worked and spoken avidly to protect bird habitats in the state.  Ella is manager of the National Audubon Society's Gillmor Sanctuary on the south shore of Great Salt Lake.

Kyle Stone graduated from Weber State University in 2006 with a bachelors in zoology. While there he discovered his love for birds while taking an ornithology class and began working for the Avian Ecology Lab. In 2009, after 4 years with AEL, he was hired by UDWR as a biologist on the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem Program.. 

Kathi Stopher has been the Visitor Services Manager for Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge Natural Resources Educator for nearly 20 years.  She is the mother of 3.  As an outdoor enthusiast, she loves to hike in the mountains, watch wildlife, and engage in all things wilderness.  She is inspired by Aldo Leopold's writings to change career paths and take education to the out-of-doors.

Les Talbot is a retired Biology teacher, and has been an avid birder for the last 10 years. He is the fieldtrip chairman for the Wasatch Audubon, and sits on their Board of Directors. He currently volunteers at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge teaching Environmental Education classes, and leading bird tours.

Al Trout graduated from Colorado State University in 1971 with a degree in Wildlife Management.  For the next 35 years he was employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a Refuge Manager in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and finally at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Utah.  His primary responsibility was the restoration, expansion and enhancement of the Refuge in the aftermath of flood damage inflicted by rising water of Great Salt Lake in 1983-87.  Now retired, Al is a member of the Friends of Bear River Refuge, Wasatch Audubon, and Friends of Great Salt Lake.

Jim Van Leeuwen assists John Luft with the Great Salt Lake boat tours.

Bob Walters is the DWR's Watchable Wildlife Program Coordinator. He initiated Bald Eagle Day in 1990 and has led/hosted myriad Watchable Wildlife Program Field Trips for years. He instigated and continues to maintain, nurture and sustain the famous Salt Lake City peregrine falcon family in downtown SLC.  With the cooperation of the LDS Church and SLC Peregrine Falcon Watchpost Team volunteers, Bob informs, educates and showcases the falcon family to passersby, spearheads the annual vigil to safeguard the first flights of the young-of-the-year birds and, since 2006, makes possible real-time, worldwide web coverage of the family via the SLC Peregrine Falcon Cam.

Nikki Wayment received a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife from Utah State University. Her non-profit experience comes from her tenure at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, Ga, where she served as Curator of Science and Education.  She has been with HawkWatch International for 5 years and loves sharing her passion for raptors, the environment, and the important work that they do.

Merrill Webb   

Boyd White currently works as an environmental scientist at Deseret Chemical Depot and part time as a Wildlife Technician for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.  He has a BS in Natural Resources with an emphasis in Fish and Wildlife from Oregon State University and an MS in Rangeland Ecosystem Science from Colorado State University.  In 2007 Boyd worked on a master's thesis to validate a graphic information system model for predicting Burrowing owl habitat at Dugway Proving Ground and surrounding areas.  While working on the thesis he volunteered to collect research data for a DoD Legacy Project for the Migratory Linkages of Burrowing Owls which required trapping and banding the owls, taking morphological data, and collecting blood and feather samples for DNA and radio isotope analysis.  In 2005 - 2006 he volunteered with trapping, fitting with radio collars, and track Greater Sage-grouse in Tooele County.  Boyd is Chairman of the West Deseret Adaptive Resource Management Local Working Group for Sage-grouse.

Wendy Wilson is the Assistant Park Manager at Antelope Island State Park.

Ben Woodruff has been training and handling raptors for 22 years.  He has had the opportunity to train and work with every species of diurnal and nocturnal raptor native to Utah as a practicing falconer, wildlife educator, and aiding in raptor rehabilitation.  Ben is the author of the book "Trapping Essentials", an illustrated guide for biologists, bird banders, and falconers.  Ben is the Director of the John Hutchings Museum in Lehi Utah and presents educational programs featuring live raptors.

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