Trish Ackley is the Park Naturalist at Antelope Island State Park. She loves to explore the diverse natural resources of the park and finds joy in sharing those discoveries with others. Although the number and variety of bird species surrounding Great Salt Lake boggles her mind, she enjoys learning more about them every day.
John Bellmon is a lifelong birder. He helped organize the 1st Ogden Christmas Bird Count - 1980. 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.
Adam Blundell is an Ornithologist and Wildlife Biologist. He has the coolest job in the world… teaching Ornithology. No really, he does. The Ornithology program at Farmington High School may be the only year-long Ornithology science class in the entire nation! Adam has a strong interest in biodiversity, ecology, conservation, and avian adaptations. His class at Farmington High School is field based, with students spending a great amount of time outside observing the local avian life. His class is where birders are hatched and fledged with a lifelong love of our feathered friends.
Billy Fenimore is an educator, naturalist, field birder. He is the owner of the Wild about Birds Nature Center, a retail and conservation sales business. Billy is the Director for the Eccles Wildlife Education Center of the State of Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources. He oversees the environmental education programming and community-engagement activities of the center. He is an accomplished birder by ear, as well as sight. He has been birding for over 20 years throughout the lower 48, as well as Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. He is a professional birdwatching and natural list guide leading birding adventures throughout the intermountain west and on the Deseret Land and Livestock Ranch, which is a Global and National Audubon Important Bird Area (IBA). He is the Recipient of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Conservation Award for the Western United States. Utah Governor, Gary Herbert, appointed Fenimore to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) Wildlife Board Nominating Committee. Billy also serves as a Wasatch Audubon Committee Board Member. Billy has led and supported many activities that support bird conservation in the area, such as the: Chasing Wild Feather Project, Great Salt Lake Bird Festival, Flammulated Owl Study, Raptor Inventory Nest Surveys, Waterfowl Surveys, Greater Sage-Grouse Lek counts, Trapping and banding projects, Raptor and Owl Banding Projects, School Programs, Audubon Projects, Youth Impact Programs, Eagle and Swan Day Programs, and Habitat Recovery Planting Programs.
Danielle Finlayson is currently finishing up a Master's degree in Wildlife Conservation at BYU. She founded the BYU student chapter of the Audubon Club in 2019 and has taught Ornithology lab for the past 4 years. Her research focuses on Golden Eagles in the west desert of Utah. She has been a birder for close to 15 years and hopes to pursue a career in avian biology.
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 Rocky Mountain Power and conducts avian surveys on power poles in UT, ID, WY and OR.
Melissa Halvorsen can't remember a time when she wasn't interested in the natural world. She grew up following her biologist father around in the field whenever she was out of school. From an early age, Melissa experienced her father's instinctive mastery of place-based, hands-on learning. It wasn't a surprise to anyone who knew her as a kid that Melissa pursued a career in environmental education. She has worked for the National Parks Service, nature centers, zoos, aquariums, and school districts teaching natural history and ecology in both formal and informal settings. She currently serves as the Education and Outreach Director at HawkWatch International and volunteers with various organizations including as a board member for Aeon for Ocean. In her free time, Melissa enjoys exploring the outdoors, reading, playing games, and starting craft projects she never intends to finish.
Dallin Henderson is an avid bird watcher and outdoorsman. He first fell in love with bird watching while attending college in Eastern Idaho and enrolling in a Western Bird Study class. He has been watching birds ever since. Dallin is a contractor by trade and birdhouse builder by profession. He is joined at the Festival by his wife, Carol.
Heidi Hoven is the Assistant Manager of National Audubon’s Gillmor Sanctuary on the south shore of Great Salt Lake. She helps promote conservation of wetland birds and their habitat through research, restoration, and land management. She also helps promote dark skies for birds by serving as the National Audubon Society representative on the board of International Dark Sky Association Utah Chapter, where she co-chairs the Lighting Ordinance Committee.
Max Malmaquist fell in love with birds while performing a wide variety of bird surveys for a consulting firm after college. He is the Outreach Associate for National Audubon Society’s Saline Lakes Program, focused on protecting saline lakes and their associated wetlands, like Great Salt Lake, for future generations of birds and people. Max is an avid birder and wildlife photographer, who enjoys sharing his passion for birds with others.
Don Paul is a career wildlife biologist, having served 34 years in several positions for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources including GSL avian biologist. He then served four years as the Great Basin Bird Conservation Region Coordinator. Don is also a founding member of the Linking Communities initiative, an international shorebird conservation program that includes the GSL. He is also an original member of the GSL Bird Festival planning committee.
Nikki Wayment is the Executive Director of HawkWatch International. She received a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife from Utah State University. Her nonprofit experience comes from her tenure at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, Georgia, where she served as Curator of Science and Education. Nikki also previously worked as the Education and Outreach Director at HawkWatch International. She loves to share her passion for birds of prey and the natural world in general. She lives in Utah with her family and loves exploring the outdoors.
Wendy Wilson is the Assistant Park Manager at Antelope Island State Park, and a naturalist at heart. Her interest in birds and birding started while working as a new park naturalist at the Rockcliff Nature Center at Jordanelle State Park.