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Presenter Information

2018 Keynote Speaker - George Archibald

Co-founder of the International Crane Foundation



Dinner with Keynote Speaker tickets are available on-line NOW.
George Archibald, Ph.D.
Co-Founder of the International Crane Foundation

The future of many crane species was once as fragile as the delicate and graceful birds themselves. George Archibald's visionary leadership in international conservation efforts over the past 40 years has given flight to crane conservation worldwide. In 1973, when cranes were in a perilous situation and many were on the brink of extinction, Archibald, along with Cornell University colleague, Ronald Sauey, Ph.D., established the International Crane Foundation (ICF) in Baraboo, Wisconsin as the world center for the study and preservation of cranes. Today, ICF has over 50 employees and supports conservation projects in 45 countries.

Archibald is a true conservation ambassador who uses his unique brand of crane diplomacy to work in sensitive places. He leverages the charisma of cranes to unite people from diverse cultures and countries to work together to preserve the landscapes necessary for the survival of both cranes and people. He focuses on programs in Bhutan, China, India, Mongolia, North Korea, South Africa, South Korea, Russia, and the United States.

Born in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada, Archibald received his undergraduate degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1968, and completed his Ph.D. at Cornell University in 1977. In recognition of his many accomplishments, Archibald has received four honorary doctorates and many awards including the Gold Medal from the World Wildlife Fund, a Fellows Award from the MacArthur Foundation, the Wildlife Conservation Medal from the Zoological Society of San Diego, the Lilly Medal presented by the Indianapolis Zoo, and the Douglas H. Pimlott Award from Nature Canada. In 2013, Archibald was awarded the Order of Canada on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, and received the inaugural Dan W. Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership from the National Audubon Society. He and his wife, Kyoko, live in the countryside near the International Crane Foundation headquarters where they enjoy gardening and aviculture.

See the 2018 program on the web site after January 1st.  Dinner tickets are on sale now at www.GreatSaltLakeBirdFest.com

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Presenters, Workshop Leaders & Field Trip Guides

Taylor Abbott has become an avid birder after begrudgingly being roped in by a family member. He's been traveling the U.S. ever since looking for birds, visiting each of the 50 states. Taylor has a Zoology degree from North Carolina State University, and currently teaches science in Layton, 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. (timaverybirding.com)

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.

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. See Jeff's Birding Profile to learn a bit more about Jeff, his accomplishments and his enthusiasm for birding.

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.

Ginger Brown is owner of R&G Horse and Wagon.  Ginger and her late husband  Ron started doing a Roman-style rider act in a wild west show in 1970 and have wrangled horses for several major motion pictures.

Yae Bryner,

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.

Dr. Randy Chatelain is a recently retired professor at Weber State University and avid bird watcher. He loves the outdoors and is an accomplished wildlife photographer. He regularly attends the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival and has previously helped lead the raptor field trip.

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.

Billy Fenimore is owner of the Wild About Birds Nature Center in Layton, Utah.  He also guides birding tours each weekend and to Deseret Ranch.

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.

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.

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.

Annette Hansen After years of serving as a dedicated volunteer, Annette Hansen joined the HawkWatch International (HWI) staff as an Educator in 2016. Annette presents in high school biology classes across the state, helping to reinforce STEM concepts and a passion for raptors and our shared environment. She also provides local community programs and assists with HWI research projects whenever possible. Prior to joining HWI, Annette studied biology at Portland State University. Although she started birding late in life, Annette loves identifying, discussing, and watching birds. She believes in the need for everyone to be conservationists of our planet and its resources.

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.

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 first 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. He is joined at the Festival by his wife, Carol.

Steve Hoffman recently retired as Executive Director of Montana Audubon, serving in this capacity for more than decade (2006-2016).  He has devoted his entire 38-year career to wildlife conservation. After 10 years of government service (mostly as an Endangered Species Biologist for the US Fish & Wildlife Service in the American Southwest), Steve founded HawkWatch International, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to monitoring and conserving hawks, eagles and other raptors across the American West (he launched the Goshute Raptor Migration Project, just west of Wendover, in 1980). Steve has authored more than 35 scientific papers on raptor migration ecology & conservation, and endangered species management. Steve has given dozens of presentations on the identification, migration and conservation of raptors to diverse audiences throughout the US and abroad. He earned his M.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology from Utah State University (Logan) in 1979.

Hogle Zoo - Utah's Hogle Zoo is located in Salt Lake City.

Nelson Holmes An avid birder and student of nature, Nelson joined HawkWatch International in July of 2013. Nelson began his circuitous life adventure in Los Angeles working as the Education Assistant at the Arboretum of Los Angeles County and departing, 18 years later, as the Senior Naturalist and Guide.  Seeking something completely different, Nelson attempted to raise Animals for exotic fleece on 70 remote acres between the Wet and Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Southern Colorado.  Unforeseen costs then led Nelson to become a Tax Appraiser in Rural Huerfano County as well as a columnist for the Huerfano World Newspaper. Nelson Studied literature and philosophy at Cal State Los Angeles and is well versed in subjects that bore his friends and loved ones to tears. After Reconnecting with his high School acquaintance and college friend, Teresa, they’re  now happily married and working on the “ever after” part in Bountiful, along with two dogs, four cats and a couple of obnoxious parrots. 

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

Heidi Hoven, is the new National Audubon representative to Utah.  She is working with Ella  Sorensen at the Gillmore Sanctuary.

Dr. Frank Howe is the liaison between DWR and Utah universities. He develops, conducts, and consults on wildlife related research of interest to DWR. Lead DWR biologists and managers in developing applied research questions, communicate research questions to university faculty and researchers, and communicate research results to biologists and managers.

Tony Jones
is an attorney in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has been a birder for over 25 years and a lepidopterist for over 7 years. He is currently the President of the Utah Lepidopterists’ Society. Tony has photographed and documented many of the butterflies of Utah.

Bryce King
started birding in grade school- painting and sketching and learning the names of birds. James Audubon became a teacher for me as I looked at his plates and art work.  As I got older the love for birds was still there.  I was in a trance when a man came to my school with raptors and flew one over our heads in an auditorium.  I learned everything I could.  I was fourteen when I trapped by first bird.  I met other falconers that took me in to help me further my love for raptors.  I have been a falconer for forty-six years.  I would look to identify other birds while flying my own birds.  I love to paint birds and other animals in different mediums.  I have been imployed with the Ogden Nature Center for 9 years as a wild life specialist.  I enjoy teaching people about birds and nature.

Ellen Labotka
 is a park ranger on Antelope Island State Park.  She is a transplant from Illinois and has worked for Utah State Parks for over twenty years.  She received a BA in Forestry focusing on natural resource recreational management.   Her passion for the wilderness arose from visiting many national parks and meeting lots of awe inspiring rangers. 

Leia Larsen, is the 2016 Journalist of the Year and works for the Standard Examiner.  She has published a series of stories on the many different aspects of and concerns for Great Salt Lake.
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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.

 

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.

Tom Matthewson is a wildlife photographer from Davis County Utah.

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 videos to give others the opportunity to watch the antics of these comical desert dwellers.

Andrea Nelson started carrying a bird guide on her runs down the Provo River Trail to Utah Lake after noticing birds she didn’t recognize. The spark was ignited, and she has incorporated bird ecology into her environmental education work at Red Butte Garden, the Natural History Museum of Utah and FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake. She currently heads the volunteer, education and outreach programs for the Utah Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and serves on the education committee of Great Salt Lake Audubon.

Janet Nelson

Ann Neville
 works for The Nature Conservancy of Utah.  She is also the North American representative for Birdlife International.

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.

Ogden Nature Center: Located in the heart of Ogden, you'll find a 152-acre nature preserve and education center open to the public year-round. Visitors enjoy 1.5 miles of walking trails, picnic areas, tree houses, bird blinds and an exhibit of live birds of prey.  Two of Utah's greenest buildings are on site to teach about sustainable structures. A unique gift shop is located in the Visitor Center. The Ogden Nature Center offers a wide variety of classes & workshops for all ages including art, photography, birding, wildlife in Utah, outdoor recreation, conservation, sustainability, summer camps and more.  

Dave Oleyar is a Senior Scientist at HawkWatch International. He became a raptor/avian enthusiast and wildlife population ecologist while exploring the post oak forests near his family’s home outside of Dallas, Texas. He earned a masters degree in Raptor Biology at Boise State University and a doctorate at the University of Washington studying humans impact on songbird population dynamics.

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.

Charity Owens is the Naturalist at Antelope Island State Park.

Neil Paprocki
 is a Conservation Biologist at HawkWatch International. Originally from the east coast, he earned his BS in Animal Behavior from Bucknell University. Upon graduation, Neil immediately immersed himself in ornithological fieldwork, working with Ptarmigan in Alaska, and songbirds in New Hampshire and Nevada. He went on to study the endangered California Condor and earned his MS in Raptor Biology form Boise State.

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.

Terri Pope has worked as a biologist for the Division of Wildlife Resources since 2012.  She is currently the Sensitive Species Biologist in the Central Region.  Terri earned her Master's degree from Northern Arizona University and Ph.D. from Texas A&M University.  Her research focused on how differences in habitat conditions affect avian behavior.

Jolene Rose is a biologist at Antelope Island State Park.

Tony Santora has worked for the Division of Parks and Recreation for 7 years.  He is currently the park manager for Rockport State Park. Tony is from Utah and has a bachelor's degree in Natural Resource management and Planning from the University of Utah.

Shawnee Sawyer
works for the Ogden Nature Center.

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.

Greg Sheehan serves as the Director of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Greg has worked within the agency since 1992.  He was appointed Director in 2012.  Greg has worked to recover many species and their habitats ranging from mule deer to sage grouse and many native fish species. Solving challenges with wildlife and landowner conflicts, sportsmans groups, and engaging the broader public have been focus areas for Greg over the past few years. Greg has supported the release of species that haven't been common on the landscape in decades to get citizens engaged and back in the outdoors enjoying our wildlife. He encourages pheasant and chukar releases, youth recruitment days, walk-in access properties, birding programs, local community fisheries and the development of a new nature center on the shores of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem. Greg has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and an MBA.

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.

Dickson Smith graduated from high school in Louisiana and attended USU. He's lived in Florida, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Wyoming, Montana, Alaska and Utah. Dickson has always had a love for the outdoors and especially for birds - "I envied them that they could fly and I couldn't. I remember as a boy running across the front yard flapping my arms trying to take off and fly." Dickson's cousin introduced him to birding when he was 6 living in Oklahoma, showing him a pair of nesting Killdeer and how they did the broken wing routine. He was hooked.  He started photographing birds years later while a police officer in Alaska. Dickson also enjoyed falconry - " I loved the relationship of being able to be a part of a hunting partnership with a hawk or a falcon." He still lives in Utah and enjoys the beauty the outdoors has to offer. 

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.

Todd Stout has over 30 years experience studying and raising butterflies here in the Western U.S. and enjoys providing public presentations and displaying exhibits on butterflies and their life cycles.  Todd has served as past president and secretary of the Utah Lepidopterists' Society, Vice President of the Lepidopterists’ Society, and recently served a four-year term on the board of directors of the International Butterfly Breeders Association.

He is currently a University of Florida Research Associate and described a new subspecies of the julia orangetip in Western Colorado (Anthocharis julia prestonorum).  He enjoys leading field trips through Utah Butterfly Field Trips on Facebook.   He authored the Raising Butterflies DIY website and owns a business providing butterfly cages and rearing equipment worldwide under the same brand.

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.. 

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.

Tracy Aviary: 589 East 1300 South Salt Lake City This newly remodeled site is open to the public for events, guided visits and self-guided visits to see birds. Tracy Aviary inspires curiosity and caring for birds and nature, in and out of the classroom.

Utah County Birders- members including Dennis Shirley and Suzi Holt lead the Utah County Hotspots birding trip.

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

Bob Walters is very recently retired as 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.

Jesse Watson is a Research Biologist who has been with HawkWatch for one year.  He co-manages HawkWatch's migration network and is significantly involved in their American Kestrel Study.  He also assist in a variety of other raptor related research projects focusing on species ranging from Rough-legged Hawks to Golden Eagles.  Jesse is also in the  process of completing his M.Sc. research studying Ferruginous Hawks through the University of Alberta.

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 is a retired high school science teacher and is currently a professor at Brigham Young University. He has compiled checklists for areas in Utah.  

Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah executive director is DaLyn Erickson.  She has over 13 years of experience training and working with 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.  Address 1490 Park Blvd, Ogden UT 84401

John H. Williams is a nature photographer from Idaho Falls, Idaho.

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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