2017 Speakers and Leaders
Connie Anderson became interested in birding when she put
up her first birdfeeders in 1987. She started a life list for her backyard and has
recorded 58 species so far. She has participated in many Audubon field trips through
the years, but is new at leading them. She participates in the Colony Watch program
and helps occasionally with the Bird Rescue program. She also gardens to attract birds
and butterflies. She has learned that if you create a habitat for them, they will come
to your yard.
DR. MICHAEL ANDREU
Dr. Andreu is teaching and extension faculty at the University of Florida’s
School of Forest
Resources and Conservation with expertise in sustainable forest management,
quantification of ecosystem services, and restoration ecology. Dr. Andreu also coordinates
the Tampa Bay Watershed Forest Working Group and the
Florida Stewardship Program, and
manages UF’s 2080-acre Austin Cary Memorial Forest. He holds degrees from University of
Washington (PhD, 2005), Duke University (1995), and University of the South (1992), and
has work experience in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, including forester,
ecologist and backcountry ranger.
Mary Barnwell has been a public land manager for 20 years.
She currently works for Hillsborough County managing the Little Manatee River corridor
lands and coastal preserves along Tampa Bay, including Cockroach Bay Preserve. She also
worked for Pinellas County for a short time and for the Southwest Florida Water
Management District for 17 years, where she banded resident songbirds, Florida scrub-jays
and also worked with USFWS and Operation Migration to provide a stopover site for
whooping cranes in Marion County. Mary has a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Science from
Eckerd College and a Master’s degree in Natural Resource Management from Oregon State
University. She has also completed substantial graduate level coursework in ecological
restoration at UF and in wildlife conservation at OSU, and recently completed canine
DR. EVAN BENNETT
Dr. Evan P. Bennett is associate professor of history at Florida
Atlantic University, where he teaches environmental history, labor history, and the history
of Florida. More pertinently, he is a Tampa native currently working on an environmental
history of Tampa Bay. After earning his B.A. and M.A. in history at the University of South
Florida, he earned a Ph.D. in history at the College of William & Mary. As a historian, he
is most interested in the intersections of work, culture, and the environment. His first
book, When Tobacco Was King: Families, Farm Labor, and Federal Policy in the Piedmont was
published by the University Press of Florida in 2014. He is also co-editor of Beyond Forty
Acres and a Mule: African American Landowning Families since Reconstruction, also published
by the University Press of Florida.
Jim Caldwell has been a photographer for nearly 5 decades and
has worked professionally as a motion picture cameraman for numerous TV commercials and
industrial films. He currently is co-host of The Fotobug podcast (www.thefotobug.com) and specializes in nature, landscape and travel
photography. He is also a certified Florida Master Naturalist and is vice-president of
Pinellas Friends of Florida Master Naturalists.
Megan Campbell has been a member of the Tampa Audubon Society
for about 5 years and joined the board as a director in 2016. She is currently a volunteer
for Tampa Bay Raptor Rescue and participates in Eaglewatch. She is never bored as long as
she has access to the outdoors. Be it in a backyard, a park, or a shopping center parking
lot - nature's always putting on a show, if you stop to pay attention!
An avid and experienced birder, Carol Cassels has worked for FCIS as
the Seasonal Warden for fourteen years. Ms. Cassels is a field biologist responsible for patrolling
the Hillsborough Bay colonial waterbird colonies during the spring and summer nesting season and
conducts surveys of nesting species for Audubon. She provides photo-documentation of bird
occurrence and is a chemist currently employed by the Florida Department of Health inspecting
hazardous liquid holding tanks.
Resee Collins is the Eagle & Rehabilitation Permit
Coordinator for the Southeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Resee manages all
migratory bird/eagle wildlife rehabilitation permits, and eagle exhibition, depredation,
scientific collecting, take (disturbance) and nest take permits. She also was the Vice
President/Director of the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey for 21 years, and a founder
of the Audubon EagleWatch Program and the Florida Wildlife Rehabilitators Association.
Andrew grew up in Florida and was in the business world
until he had an early mid-life crisis and quit his job to go back to school and work
with birds in Arizona, Hawaii, and Venezuela. He received his PhD from the University of
Missouri in 2011 and worked for the US Forest Service and the University of Nebraska-Omaha
before accepting the role of FWC’s avian research lead in February 2014.
An environmental educator for youth and adults, Dolly Cummings
has a B.S. in Biology from SUNY at Stony Brook. Dolly is the Volunteer Education Director for
the Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center, a Biological Scientist in the Tomato Breeders Lab at
UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, and an avid Citizen Scientist. At Camp Bayou,
Dolly is the facilitator for a variety of environmental education programs, including WILD
projects, Project WET, Project Learning Tree, and the Florida Master Naturalist Program.
Cathy Davis is an avid birder with Manatee Audubon. She has
been exploring birding in Florida for the past few years, volunteers at the Sarasota
Audubon Celery Fields Nature Center, and is an active participant in various Christmas
Bird Counts across the region each year.
Doug DeNeve grew up in Polk County and has been birding
in central Florida for over 35 years. He has also observed and photographed birds in
other parts of the world, on all seven continents. He frequently leads birdwalks and
other outings for Tampa Audubon Society (TAS). He has been active in the Audubon Society
in North Carolina and Florida for more than 25 years, and currently serves as
Conservation Chair for TAS. He also volunteers frequently at the Circle-B-Bar Reserve,
and is looking forward to sharing his knowledge of the Reserve and its birds with
Growing up in New Orleans, Randy Deshazo has always felt a connection to the
delicate balance between urban environments and our control of natural systems. When the
balance is in harmony, we are enriched. When it is not, storms like Katrina lay human
hubris bare. As a student of politics and Middle Eastern studies, first at the University
of Texas (BA) and then at the University of New Orleans (MA), Randy wrote a
book on hydropolitics and the role of scientific communities in allocating resources.
At the University of Michigan (MUP), he refocused his efforts on infrastructure and
economic development. Since then he has
worked on coordinating land use and transportation investment to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions in California, and various
studies related to the economy and the environment in Florida.
Ross Dickerson oversees the Environmental Lands Management
Section of the Hillsborough County Conservation and Environmental Lands Management
Department. A unique section, they are charged with administering the Jan K. Platt
Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program (ELAPP), which purchases land for
preservation, and also managing those preserved lands. He got his start with ELAPP in
2001 as an environmental technician and never looked back. He holds a Bachelor’s degree
in Environmental Studies from Eckerd College and a Master’s Degree in Park and Resource
Management from Slippery Rock University. In addition to ecosystems management, Ross is
deeply interested in human-environment interaction, and is passionate about both
environmental history and environmental education.
Jeanne Dubi is president of the Sarasota Audubon Society.
A birder since young adulthood, Jeanne moved to Sarasota from NYC in 1997.
After a 35 year career with BellSouth, Jim realized his
dream of doing field work after being selected as a raptor observer for the 2008 Florida
Keys HawkWatch Project. As an avian field technician, Jim has studied Bachman’s Sparrows
in North Carolina, shorebirds/seabirds in Florida and breeding songbirds in Virginia. He
was also a co-founder and co-coordinator for the rebranded Florida Keys Hawkwatch at
Curry Hammock State Park in the Florida Keys. He has participated in numerous Christmas
Bird counts in Tennessee and Florida and was the Brevard County coordinator for Florida’s
Breeding Bird Atlas 2. Jim is the Social Media Coordinator as well as a 10 yr field trip
leader for the Space Coast Birding & Nature Festival. He is also a field trip leader for
the Everglades Birding Festival, the Florida Birding and Nature Festival and a tour
leader for Florida Nature Tours. In addition, he is past Vice President-Program/Publicity
Chair for Space Coast Audubon Society, a Florida Ornithological Society (FOS) board
member as well as recently becoming Associate Editor (for bird distribution), FOS
"Florida Field Naturalist." Jim also owns
Birding specializing in guided trips in and around Central Florida.
After receiving his PhD at FSU in 1986, Todd’s first job
was with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology working on avian monitoring programs. He
came back to Tallahassee to be a staff ecologist at Tall Timbers Research Station, where
he focused on conservation biology of the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, response of
vertebrate populations to prescribed fire, and animal communities in old-growth longleaf
pine forests. He left Tall Timbers to direct the Greenwood Project for The Nature
Conservancy in Thomasville, Georgia, and, after conducting a search for the Ivory-billed
Woodpecker on the Apalachicola River, he had a short stint as Associate Director of the
Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory. Currently he is an independent
researcher and consultant.
Robert Epstein is an avid birder and amateur nature
photographer. His main interest is observing and photographing birds, butterflies and
dragonflies. He has photographed over 560 different species of birds in the ABA area.
Andy Fairbanks got his professional start in conservation
at the Environmental Studies Center in Martin County, Florida, in 1994. His curiosity
about our relationships with nature have taken him around the world, motivated jobs ranging
from sailing instructor to waste reduction coordinator to coconut picker, and earned him two
college degrees in the subject. A graduate of the Florida Studies Program at USFSP, Fairbanks
continues to study environmental history and share his love of this fascinating place as the
environmental outreach coordinator for Hillsborough County's Conservation and Environmental
Lands Management Department.
Bo has been active in shorebird surveys in southern
California, barrier islands in southeastern North Carolina, and dredge spoils in Tampa
Bay with Quest Ecology. When he’s not out shorebirding, he’s tracking southeastern
American kestrels and Florida scrub-jays.
Charlie has been an active birder for almost 15 years,
ever since he took on a new client in his CPA practice who introduced him to the joys
of bird identification in advance of a family summer beach trip to Sanibel. One trip
to the Ding Darling NWR with bins and a field guide was all it took. Charlie got home,
registered for the 2003 Florida Nature and Birding Festival, signed up for eBird, threw
out his golf clubs and has been off in the field ever since.
Dianna King Flynt has been a professional avian rehabilitator in
Florida since 1974. After working 16 years for Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores,
Florida she joined Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, Florida in 1989. She is the
Rehabilitation Supervisor and permittee which receives some 750 to 850 raptor patients
annually and maintains 50 resident raptors for education. Dianna also sits on the boards of
Florida Wildlife Rehabilitators Association and Florida Wildlife Alert Reward Program for the
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Dave has been birding Florida for over 50 years and
currently has the third highest list total for the state. He has served as president
of St. Petersburg Audubon and twice for the Florida Ornithological Society. He is a
retired teacher who currently works as an environmental educator at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve
in St. Petersburg and recently as a consultant monitoring nesting crested caracaras in south
central Florida. He is currently a member of the FOS Records Committee which evaluates rare
bird records for the state. He also leads birding tours to the Dry Tortugas for Florida Nature
Jim Gray is a well-known local natural photographer, winner
of the Grand Prize in Tampa Audubon’s 2012 Photo contest and ranked as a prize winner in
the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve's 30th Annual Photography Contest. Jim is a Getty Images
contributor who has provided images to Audubon and the Southwest Florida Water Management
Dr. Paul Gray is a Science Coordinator for Audubon
Florida's Everglades Restoration Program. His office is near the Kissimmee River
(Florida) and he has been working in central Florida for 30 years, with the last 22
for Audubon. Paul is a Co-Chair of the Snail Kite Coordinating Committee and is a
leading expert on Lake Okeechobee, working regionally on water, land and bird management.
Paul’s educational background includes a BS from the University of Missouri, an MS from
Texas Tech University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida.
Kathy Guindon, Ph.D., is originally from Pennsylvania where
she earned her B.S. in Biology at Lebanon Valley College and then a Master’s degree from
North Carolina State University studying habitat utilization and growth rates of juvenile
southern flounder in the Pamlico Sound. She has been studying Florida’s fish and
fisheries for the last 22 years, 14 of which were spent observing and researching
Atlantic tarpon the effects of catch-and-release fishing on Tarpon survival, movement,
and stress responses. Despite this lifetime of fisheries research, in OCT 2014 she
switched from research to education, and “Dr. G” currently serves as Director of the
FWC’s Suncoast Youth Conservation Center in Apollo Beach.
Neal is a community ecologist with 13 years of conservation
experience in Florida. His academic areas of expertise are in experimental design and
statistical analysis, with a focus on the interaction between agriculture and species
conservation. He has coordinated large research projects on herpetofaunal communities in
central Florida, and participated in numerous wildlife surveys for threatened species in
the state. Neal’s Master’s research focused on the long-term use of prescribed fire as an
effective management tool for herpetofauna.
Vivienne Handy is the President and Principal Ecologist
for Quest Ecology Inc. which was founded in 1996. Quest Ecology specializes in habitat
restoration and management and wildlife and protected species studies. Vivienne’s career
experience covers ecosystems analysis, environmental permitting, habitat restoration
planning and wetland mitigation, and wildlife studies.
George L. Heinrich is a field biologist and environmental educator
with a specialty in Florida reptiles. His company,
Services, is based in St. Petersburg, Florida and conducts wildlife surveys and
research, natural history programming, and nature-based tours.
Tom has a degree in Horticulture from Ohio State, and is the owner of
Sweet Bay Nursery. He is a Past President of Manatee County Audubon and the Serenoa Chapter of the
Florida Native Plant Society.
Michelle Hoffman is the "Curator" at the Central Florida
Zoo's Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation. Michelle has been working with reptiles
professionally for 6 years and has a passion for reptile/amphibian conservation -
specifically with imperiled species.
Kelly M. Holland is an Environmental Scientist in the
Wetlands Management Division of the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough
Barb Howard is the President of the Friends of the Tampa Bay
National Wildlife Refuges and has been with the group since it began in 2005. She is a Florida
Master Naturalist graduate, putting the information she learned in the program to good use in
various programs for the Refuges. She also volunteers for St Petersburg Audubon with the rooftop
and beach nesting bird programs.
Dave Howard is a Florida Master Naturalist and Director for the Friends of Tampa Bay National Wildlife Refuges. Duties include public outreach programs and volunteer coordinator working closely with USFWS supporting the 3 NWRs in Tampa Bay. For the past 10 years Dave and Barb with Friends volunteers have conducted monthly bird surveys, clean-ups, bird rescues, and other activities of support.
Bette J.S. Jackson is Associate Professor in the Department
of Biological Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. She recently completed a
nine-year term as Chair of the Department. She has numerous scientific and popular
publications. Current research interests include ornithological history, Loggerhead
Shrikes and Killdeer.
Jerome A. Jackson is the former Whitaker Eminent Scholar in
Science at Florida Gulf Coast University and is now professor emeritus at Florida Gulf Coast
University and Mississippi State University. He has served on the Red-cockaded Woodpecker,
Ivory-billed Woodpecker, and South Florida Ecosystems endangered species recovery teams and
on the national Invasive Species Advisory Committee. Jerry is host of a daily program called
"With the Wild Things" on public radio in southwest Florida. He has written several books,
including "In Search of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker" (Smithsonian Press), and more than 300
articles for professional journals and popular magazines. He is also a volunteer at Audubon's
Joel Jackson is the current leader of the Tampa Audubon Photo Club
with a passion to help others become better nature photographers. Before he retired, Joel was
the manager for planning and building new parks for Hillsborough County.
Mary Keith has been birding most of her life. She grew up in rural
Pennsylvania where most weekends were spent in the state parks and woods. She has lived and birded
in Florida since 1992. Her degrees have nothing to do with birds (Chemistry and Food Science),
but they have supported a life of work around the world where she managed to watch birds as well.
She is retired from the University of Florida Extension Service and now has more time to lead bird
walks for the Tampa Audubon Society, watch birds, monitor eagle nests and wading bird colonies,
and participate in Christmas Bird Counts.
An anhinga spurred Adam’s passion for birds when he was five years old.
Since then, a love of sharing his enthusiasm about the natural world has led Adam to work on a
variety of environmental projects including as a naturalist guide, developing the educational
program Bird Detective, assessing sites for the Great Florida Birding Trail, and working as the
state’s first Scrub-Jay Conservation Coordinator. Adam is President of the Florida Ornithological
Society and serves as a County Coordinator for Florida’s second Breeding Bird Atlas.
Gina Kent has worked for the Avian Research and Conservation Institute for over 17 years. Whether conducting bird surveys from small planes, boating around the Florida Keys, or climbing up 100-foot tall trees, Gina has worked with many Florida specialty birds including swallow-tailed kites, short-tailed hawks, snail kites, reddish egrets, white-crowned pigeons, magnificent frigatebirds and others. She grew up in Wisconsin and went to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Upon graduation she took tech positions on birds, herps, small mammals, and invasive plants from New Mexico to New York and Missouri to Australia. Once hired as a temporary tech on ARCI’s Short-tailed Hawk project, she was hooked on the birds and fieldwork in Florida. She received her Masters at Georgia Southern University on stopover ecology, habitat associations, and parasites of Swallow-tailed Kites. She is now ARCI’s Research Ecologist and Coordinator.
Joyce Kleen has worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service (USFWS) since 1981 shortly after graduating with a BS in wildlife biology from
North Carolina State University. She currently works as a wildlife biologist on the
Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Complex which includes five national wildlife
refuges along Florida’s Gulf coast-Crystal River, Chassahowitzka, Egmont Key, Passage
Key, and Pinellas NWRs. In addition to working with endangered and threatened species
such as West Indian manatees, Florida black bears, whooping cranes, and piping plovers,
Joyce conducts monthly surveys on Egmont Key NWR and SP monitoring nesting, migrating,
and wintering colonial waterbirds and shorebirds.
John Lampkin is an avid citizen naturalist and photographer and now
retired from a New York music career, he explores and marvels at the Floridian universe with macro
lens in hand. His long-range project is to photograph and catalogue the flora and fauna of the Sun
City Center Nature Trails. Not coincidentally, as a professional composer his woodwind quintet,
"Insects: A Musical Entomology in Six Legs" won the Grand Prize in a Composers Guild international
competition. John also constructs crossword puzzles for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal
the LA Times and other venues, with many of his puzzles having nature themes. Except for his
fascination with bugs and plants he is totally harmless.
Dan has been an environmental Specialist for Florida Park Service since
2006, assigned to the North Pinellas island group stationed at Honeymoon Island State Park. His primary
areas of responsibility include shorebird nest monitoring, sea turtle nest monitoring, exotic species
control, and prescribed fire on Anclote Key Preserve State Park, Caladesi Island State Park,
Honeymoon Island State Park, and Egmont Key State Park. He participates in eagle and osprey nest
monitoring. Degree in Environmental Science from University of South Florida.
James Lingle has a Bachelor degree in Animal Biology from the
University of South Florida, and formerly worked as a Wetland Biologist at the Florida Aquarium for
five years. James currently works as a fish biologist at the Stock Enrichment Research
Facility under the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. James is also a volunteer
for the Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center, and is an avid birdwatcher, nature hiker, scuba
diver, and traveler.
Mic McCarty grew up in central Florida, so he knows our area and
its wildlife. He is a former military pilot who still teaches kids how to fly in summer camps,
and is currently a middle school teacher. He has been birding, leading field trips and taking
great photos for 5 years with Tampa Audubon. He’s active with Christmas Bird Counts, Nest Watch
Mr. McGinity is a biologist and environmental educator with a life-long
passion for birds. He started bird watching at the age of seven and has shared his love of birds
with people of all ages while working at nature/environmental centers in four different states
(Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida). He began a migratory bird banding station in Milwaukee
and has participated in a number of research and citizen science projects involving birds.
In 2011, he began a migratory bird banding station in west central Florida (Dunedin) where he bands
for six weeks every spring and fall. He is very interested in communicating the importance of
native plants and healthy ecosystems to resident and migratory birds. A native of Indiana,
Mr. McGinity has lived in Dunedin for 12 years where he enjoys exploring Florida's natural areas
including paddling rivers/streams and bird watching on our beautiful beaches and in Hammock Park.
After an over 20-year career as an environmental educator in the non-formal world at nature / environmental centers in four states, he now is working in formal education at an environmental charter school (K – 8). He is very interested in collaborating with researchers and banders around the state of Florida to contribute to our knowledge of neo-tropical migrants and how we can conserve them for the future.
Dr. Minno received a Bachelor’s degree in entomology from Purdue University,
a Master’s in entomology from the University of California at Davis, and a Ph.D. in zoology from
the University of Florida. He has worked for many years on the conservation of rare plants and butterflies
in Florida. Dr. Minno is currently a Water Resources Coordinator with the Suwannee River Water Management
District in Live Oak. He has written or co-authored numerous scientific and popular articles on Florida
butterflies and moths.
Damon Moore received a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from
Armstrong State University and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Environmental
Science and Policy at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. After nearly 10
years working as an environmental consultant with Stantec he began working for Manatee
County Parks and Natural Resources Department in 2011 as Environmental Program Manager,
focused on ecological resources. In this role he has played a primary role in design,
permitting, and implementation of Manatee County’s habitat restoration efforts. He has
overseen numerous projects with a focus on habitat restoration including uplands,
wetlands, seagrass meadow. Damon has also overseen habitat restoration projects with a
goal to benefit specific species such as scrub jays, kestrels, gopher tortoise, sand
skink, oysters, snook, tarpon, and several plant species. He loves holding field trips
and aims for an enjoyable mixture of observation, learning, and good humor when he is
given the honor to host. In his spare time Damon enjoys fishing, volunteering on
habitat restoration projects, and botanizing natural areas.
Nancy Murrah is the Vice President of Tampa Bay Raptor
Rescue. She is also Hillsborough County EagleWatch Coordinator, 2nd VP of Tampa Audubon,
Permitted FWC transporter, FWC facilitator for Project Wild, Flying Wild and Aquatic Wild,
Colony Watch and Jay Watch Volunteer. After joining the Audubon EagleWatch program she was
asked to rescue her first bird, a juvenile bald eagle. After that she was hooked! Nancy,
when she is not out rescuing or caring for birds, spends her time on building a center in
the Tampa Bay Area to rehabilitate injured and sick birds of prey.
Robert Northrop is the extension forester for the University of Florida IFAS
Extension. The focus of his work involves teaching urban and community forestry to natural
resource and landscape professionals; providing conservation planning assistance to local,
state and federal governments and community associations; and applied research into the
changing character and ecological function of the Tampa Bay Watershed’s urbanizing forest.
Before coming to Florida he worked as the technical watershed forester for the State of
Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Restoration Program, Governor’s Office of Maryland, and taught
wildlife management at the University of Delaware.
View a list of Robert Northrop's publications.
Nanette O’Hara has served as the Public Outreach Coordinator
for the Tampa Bay Estuary Program since 1998. She is responsible for communicating the
program’s goals and successes to the media and the public, and for developing strategies
to improve community awareness of bay problems and solution. Among the innovative education
campaigns she has developed are the “Be Floridian” campaign supporting local fertilizer
use restrictions, and the “Pooches for the Planet” pet waste education program. Nanette is
an avid saltwater fly angler, nature photographer and a certified Master Gardener with
Hillsborough County Extension.
Dr. Joshua Patterson holds a PhD in Renewable Natural
Resources from Louisiana State University. He is an Assistant Professor in the School
of Forest Resources and Conservation’s Program in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at the
University of Florida.
Ann Paul has worked for Audubon’s Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuaries
(FCIS) since 1991 and is the Tampa Bay Regional Coordinator. She received a Bachelor of Science
degree in biology from Cornell University in New York and Master of Science degree in biology
from Trinity University in Texas. She worked for the Texas Nature Conservancy as Assistant Land
Steward and Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation managing conservation lands.
Ms. Paul is an expert in waterbird populations and management of coastal habitats for wildlife,
and an active participant in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Reddish Egret, American
Oystercatcher, and Wood Stork Working Groups. She currently serves on the board of the Tampa
Bay Conservancy and is past president of the Tampa Audubon Society.
Eric Plage is an Environmental Scientist at Tampa Bay Watch whose
focus is primarily on habitat restoration and living shoreline construction. An avid birder
since age 7, Eric is extremely familiar with the species that pass through Pinellas County each fall,
having recorded 317 species in Pinellas County alone.
Lucy Polak is the current owner of Wild Birds Unlimited of
Tampa and has been a bird feeding hobbyist for 20 years. She is a Florida state registered
beekeeper and a current member of Tampa Audubon.
Valeri Ponzo is a former treasurer of Sarasota Audubon
Society and an active birder in the Tampa Bay area and beyond. She is an accountant for
Sarasota Memorial Hospital, she lives on a one-acre ranch with 40 chickens, and her favorite
birds are anis.
DR. JAMES POWELL
James "Buddy" Powell, PhD is the Executive Director and
Co-Founder of Sea to Shore Alliance, a partnership of scientists and citizen volunteers
with the expertise, passion, and vision to help reverse the degradation of our aquatic
coastal environment and loss of species and diversity.
Bill Pranty has been a resident of Florida for 40 years,
residing mostly in the Tampa Bay region, especially Pasco County. He is an active
birder, photographer, and author. Bill is a statewide reviewer for eBird and edits all
of Florida's Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs). He has participated in 200 CBCs in Florida
Daniel Quinn is a nonnative fish and wildlife
biologist with Florida FWC. In this position, he is responsible for responding to reports of
nonnative fish and wildlife species and leading management projects for high priority
Mark Rachal has worked for Audubon's Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuaries
since 2006 and is currently the Sanctuary Manager. His duties include bird surveys, habitat management,
and bird sanctuary conservation. Mark has led shoreline restoration and erosion control projects at
the Alafia Bank Bird Sanctuary, Green Key Bird Sanctuary, and Whiskey Stump Key Bird Sanctuary. Mark
has a Bachelor of Science degree from Davidson College and conducted graduate work at Eastern Michigan
University. Mark participated in the Roseate Spoonbill banding project in Tampa Bay and has surveyed
and managed many of the waterbird colonies along the Gulf Coast of Florida. He is a member of the
US Fish and Wildlife Service's Reddish Egret Working Group and the American Oystercatcher Working
A native of Pennsylvania, Dr. Raid was hired as a plant
Pathologist at the University of Florida’s Everglades Research and Education Center in
Belle Glade in 1986, where he has developed integrated strategies for managing plant
diseases. However, also being a naturalist, Raid has actively promoted the use of barn
owls for sustainable rodent control in the Everglades Agricultural Area, south of Lake
Okeechobee. The program is known as the University of Florida Barn Owl Project and it is
responsible for some of the highest barn owl densities in North America. Capturing the
attention and imagination of the public, Raid and his barn owls have been featured on
PBS NATURE, CNN, and National Geographic’s webpage.
Stephen Raymond has accumulated over 15 years of public
land management experience working for the Florida Park Service, Pinellas County’s
Environmental Lands Management, and Manatee County’s Parks and Natural Resources.
Currently, he is the Northeast Region Land Management Coordinator for Hillsborough
County’s Conservation and Environmental Lands Management Department and is responsible
for managing approximately 15,000 acres, the majority of which is at the Lower Green
Swamp Preserve. Mr. Raymond has an AS in Environmental Science Technology from
Hillsborough Community College, and a BA in Environmental Studies from Eckerd College.
He is a Florida Certified Burn Manager, and Federally Qualified as an Engine Boss.
Sandy is a retired RN who joined TAS upon her retirement in 2009.
Always an "outdoor girl" and nature lover, the history of birds in Florida was a stunning
revelation. It inspired her to become involved in bird protection activities from enhancing
erosion control at nesting islands, Bluebird trail monitoring, Colony Watch, Eagle Watch,
Shorebird Stewarding and establishing a very successful educational committee tackling the
horrors of fishing line entanglement, particularly of Brown Pelicans.
George F. Shambaugh, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of the
Department of Entomology, Ohio State University. Before entering academia, Dr. Shambaugh
conducted human physiology research for the U.S. Army. At Ohio State, his teaching and
research focus was invertebrate physiology and biochemistry. Now in retirement, Dr. Shambaugh
offers instruction on plants and animals as a volunteer at the Hillsborough County’s Camp
Bayou Outdoor Learning Center and serves on the board of Bayou Outdoor Learning and Discovery,
Roger Sheets began his career as a mathematics teacher with
a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Purdue. After teaching 7th graders
mathematics, he shifted to computer science and worked for almost 40 years as a software
developer. About 10 years ago Roger started to visit Lettuce Lake on breaks from work
and resurrected his photography and birding hobbies. After hearing a couple of people
leaving Lettuce Lake saying that they didn't see anything, he also resurrected his
teaching career and became a volunteer at Lettuce Lake. Purdue included him in an
article on alumni with strange hobbies. Roger enjoys sharing the natural beauty of Lettuce Lake
with people. He says, “It's one of those experiences in life where the more
you learn, you see there's a lot more to learn.”
Kevin Shelton was a zookeeper for 16 years before
transitioning 12 years ago to his current profession as a consulting ecologist focusing
on wetlands and wildlife. He has led eight photo safaris to Kenya over the last 16 years.
DR. TAYLOR VERNE STEIN
Dr. Stein is a Professor at the University of Florida School of Forest Resources and
Conservation. He joined the University in 1998 with teaching, research, and extension
responsibilities in ecotourism. He also serves as the graduate coordinator for the Forest
Resources and Conservation Graduate Program. His research and teaching interests focus on
identifying tools and techniques to plan and manage for the multiple benefits nature-based
tourism and recreation can help provide to communities, visitors, and the environment. Dr.
Stein received his PhD in Forestry from the University of Minnesota in 1997; an MS in
Forestry from Northern Arizona University in 1994; and a BS in Recreation Resource
Management from Utah State University in 1992. He has served as lead principal investigator
on a variety of research projects for U.S. federal, state, and county agencies
(e.g., U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission, and
Hillsborough County Conservation and Environmental Lands Management Department) and for
projects in Costa Rica, Belize, and the Galapagos Islands. Dr. Stein has authored or
co-authored over 130 publications, and in the last five years has presented at almost
75 scientific conferences and meetings at the local, national, and international level.
He served as guest editor for the journal Forests on a special issue devoted recreation
and tourism in the world’s forests, and he was an associated editor for Society and Natural
Resources for four years. He currently serves as the coordinator for the Nature-based
Tourism working group of the International Union of Forest Resource Organizations (IUFRO),
and as a member for the Forest Science and Technology Board for the Society of American
Simon Thompson owns and operates his own bird watching and
natural history tour company, Ventures Birding Tours. He is also the on the board of the
Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society in Asheville, NC. Simon was born in Malta and educated in
England. He has lived in Ghana, Kenya and Lebanon, where his interest in birds began. In
addition to traveling extensively in the US, he spent six months in China studying the
crane and bird of prey migration as a member of the British “China Crane Watch” expedition.
Raised in Orlando, freelance photographer/writer; former
correspondent to the Tampa Tribune, author of Gardening for Florida's Butterflies;
currently Park Ranger for Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources.
Paul has been watching dragonflies since 1986 and has given
many presentations on the Dragonflies of West Central Florida to groups throughout the
years. He has completed dragonfly surveys throughout Pinellas County and conducts regular
walks at Brooker Creek Preserve on odonates.
I received my BS and MS degrees in Botany from the
University of Miami and my Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Rhode
Island Graduate School of Oceanography. Until my retirement in 2008 my work focused on
the physiological ecology of phytoplankton. During my 28 year tenure at the College of
Marine Science, USF I studied the growth and nutrition of phytoplankton in several areas
of the world’s oceans and of our local red tide organism, Karenia brevis. More recently
my work shifted toward the impacts of red tides and their toxins on wildlife, particularly
sea and shorebirds. This led to my involvement with SEANET, a volunteer program which
monitors sea and shorebird deaths along the U.S. east and gulf coast. In addition to my
profession, I have been a volunteer caretaker for the Birds of Prey at Boyd Hill Nature
Preserve since 1987. My early falconry apprenticeship was helpful in training the
Preserve’s non-releasable raptors for use in environmental education programs. Over the
years I and several other volunteers have brought the birds to schools, summer camps,
assisted living facilities, nursing homes, a variety of festivals, talks at environmental
group meetings and many other venues. I also volunteer for Florida Audubon’s Eaglewatch
program and monitor two local nests to assess the nesting activities and success of urban
Bald Eagles. I am also a member of the Board of Directors for the St. Petersburg Audubon
Society and a contributor to the St. Petersburg Audubon/Dr. Harold Albers Ecology Camp for
teachers. This camp is sponsored by SPAS and offers insight into the ecology of the
Pinellas-Anclote river basin. In addition to assisting with the planning for the program
I also present sessions on forming a hypothesis, avian adaptations in raptors and other
birds, and the impacts of harmful algal blooms (red tides) on humans and wildlife.
George Veazey discvered his love for photography as a
student and a member of the yearbook staff while attending the University of South
Florida in 1965-70. After his graduation from USF, George spent 32 years engaged in a
life-long career in law enforcement as a member of the Hillsbrough County Sheriff's
Office in Tampa, Fl. After retirement in 2006, George re-discovered his love for
photography as we witnessed it's migration from film media into the digital evolution.
He also learned that photography was the perfect way to engage a second new love -
nature - and to be able to document it's beauty allowing him to share it with others.
Today, he continues by sharing his learned professional skills with lectures on
photography and his volunteer works with the Tampa Audubon Society.
As a thriving part of the Tampa Bay ecosystem since 1967,
David has sailed, paddled, and swum the waters, hiked, climbed, and camped the forests
and swamps of Florida all of is life, all the while marvelling over, wondering at and
studying many of his plant and animal co-inhabitants. He's a fish biologist at Florida's
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) who spends his spare time helping his
wife, Stephanie, rescue sea turtles and shorebirds, improve our habitat and educate
others about our roles and responsibilities sharing this One Habitat for All. He is a
member of Audubon Society of St Petersburg, co-Chair of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program
(TBEP) Community Advisory Commitee, founding Board Member of the
Blue Turtle Green Bird
Society and a co-founder of the Suncoast Rise Above Plastics Coalition.
Keith Wilkins is the Avian Hospital Manager at the Seaside Seabird
Sanctuary’s Dr. Marie L. Farr Avian Hospital in Indian Shores, Florida. Keith has been with the
Seaside Seabird Sanctuary since the organization was founded in September of 2016. As the
Sanctuary’s Hospital Manager, Keith’s main duties are to ensure that the hospital’s day-to-day
operations and its staff run as efficiently and effectively as possible. Keith’s 18 years of
retail, banking, and casino cruise ship management experience is what gives him the ability to
manage the hospital so successfully. Prior to working at the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary, Keith was
the Avian Hospital Supervisor for the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary. Prior to his career in Avian
Rehabilitation, Keith was a former syndicated Columnist who had written for several newspapers,
magazines, and online publications both in the United States as well as in the UK. Due to his
professional writing experience, Keith also edits, writes, and does the layout and design for the
Sanctuary’s “Fly Free” Newsletter, as well as the Sanctuary’s website and facebook page. Though
originally from Detroit, Keith has lived within 5 miles of the Sanctuary for over 30 years. Due to
this, Keith has a strong love for both the area and the community he lives in. As a former owner
and operator of a promotions company, Keith has devoted many years to planning local events that
helped raise money for charitable causes such as Elmira’s Wildlife Sanctuary, the SPCA, Friends of
Strays, and many more. Keith also sits on the board of directors for three other non-profit
organizations. A professional public speaker and emcee since the age of 17, Keith represents the
Sanctuary by putting on educational demonstrations at local schools and special events. Due to his
longstanding commitment to educating the public, Keith was made an Honorary Educator of the Lakota
Boys and Girls of St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota in 1998. Keith holds
United States Coast Guard STCW certifications in Crowd Management, Crisis Management & Human
Behavior, First Aid & CPR, Fire Prevention & Fire Fighting, Personal Safety & Social
Responsibilities, and Personal Survival Techniques.
Greg Williams is the former owner of Wild Birds
Unlimited of Tampa, which he owned and operated for 19 years. Greg's passion
for birds is evident in his knowledge of bird behaviors and from the joy he gets in
sharing his experiences.