Speakers and Guide Information

2023 Keynote Address with Mark Stackhouse

Saturday, May 20, 2023 at 6:00pm MT

Join us for an evening of guest speakers, the Birder of the Year award, and keynote address given by Mark Stackhouse at the Davis Conference Center in Layton, Utah.

Tickets are required to attend the Keynote Address and can be purchased during the online registration process. Options to purchase a vegetarian or gluten free meal ticket will be available.

Musings of a Migratory Bird(er): Lessons learned from a lifetime of teaching others about birds and birding

The best way to learn about something is to teach it to others. In his talk, Mark will share some of the things he has learned, and insights he has gained, about birding and birders from the nearly 5 decades he has spent teaching. It’s an often humorous, but sometimes serious, self-examination of who birders are, and how we relate to the world and our love for birds, illustrated by anecdotes and photographs from Mark’s lifetime sharing time in the field with birders from all parts of the world.
Photo of Mark Nov2022


The Great Depression, The Dust Bowl and Utah's Wetlands: A Story

Guest Speaker: Ashley Kijowski, Coordinator, Eccles Wildlife Education Center, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The wetlands surrounding Great Salt Lake have been heavily influenced by humans. As the pioneers began to arrive in Utah, they created aqueducts and canals to divert water to where they needed it. Agriculture was booming in Utah and all over the U.S. with little to no regard for water conservation. The result of this was the creation of the Dust Bowl, which also affected Utah. The issue became so bad that FDR created the CCC to help mitigate the damage done and also to help restore America's wildlife. This story helps to tie these events to the wetlands surrounding Great Salt Lake.

Dinner Menu

Main Course

Pot Roast served with Roasted Corn Leek Mashed Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, and Mushroom-Onion Gravy. Includes Side Salad, Rolls, and a Dessert (Gluten Free Option available)

Vegetarian Option

Ratatouille-Stuffed Portobello Mushroom (GF) served with Pesto Rice Cake and Roasted Pepper Coulis. Includes Side Salad, Rolls, and Dessert.

For Mark Stackhouse, birding has been his passion since he was 5 years old, and he can’t even remember a time before he was a birder. Mark has enjoyed watching birds throughout the Americas, and especially likes to share the beauty of birds and nature with other people. For most of his life, he has done this through teaching and guiding others in the field, his writing, and photography.

Mark led his first birding tour, a trip to Crane Creek, Ohio for the Dayton Museum of Natural History, when he was only 16. He has now been guiding birders professionally for nearly 50 years. Besides guiding birders throughout the Americas, Mark has also done consulting work as a biologist for government agencies and private industry, and worked seasonally as a wildlife biologist at Deseret Land and Livestock, Utah’s largest ranch, where he also guided birders for 21 years. He developed and managed education programs at Tracy Aviary, a Salt Lake City, Utah bird park for 12 years, and teaches college-level courses in Field Ornithology in both English and Spanish. He attended Earlham College and Utah State University, earning degrees in Biology and Range Management. On his first visit to San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico, 24 years ago, Mark fell in love with Mexico, its people, culture, landscapes, and of course its spectacular birding. He has guided birders to nearly every part of Mexico over the last 20 years. In 2006, he resurrected the legendary San Blas Christmas Bird Count, that every year boasts the highest number of species of any CBC in North America, and has served as its compiler ever since. San Blas, perhaps the single best birding location in Mexico, has been his home since 2002. There he receives visiting birders from all over the world, and guides them throughout the endemic-rich West Mexico area, from the Sierra Madre Occidental to the Colima Volcanoes, with San Blas right in the middle. Mark lives with his wife, Elizabeth Oregón Gonzalez, a native of San Blas, and their daughter Daniela.

Free Opening Night Social & Speaker

Friday, May 19, 2023 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Join us for a free evening of workshops, live bird demo, student art viewing and awards. The evening will also include the GSL Bird Festival Bird Race awards and feature opening night speaker Fiona Gillogly for a hands-on nature journaling experience. Bring your nature journal or sketchbook and pencil and learn nature journaling techniques alongside Fiona. Art supplies will be provided for those that do not have them or may just be starting their nature journaling journey. Light refreshments will be served.

  • 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm Owl Pellet Dissection*
  • 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm Opening Social, Student Art Viewing, & Refreshments 
  • 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm Eurasian Eagle Owl demonstration with Nicholas Harris of Long Wing, Inc. 
  • 6:00 pm - 6:20 pm Student Art Awards & GSL Bird Festival Bird Race Awards
  • 6:20 pm - 7:30 pm A Birder’s Brain on Paper: Nature Journaling with Fiona Gillogly

Eccles Wildlife Education Center
1157 S Waterfowl Way, Farmington, UT 84025
*Registration required.

2023 Opening Night Speaker: Fiona Gillogly

A Birder's Brain on Paper: How keeping a nature journal enriches our birding experiences. 

Join teen birder and artist Fiona Gillogly as she shares her experience combining birding and nature journaling. Fiona has found that keeping a nature journal helps her activate her curiosity, notice more detail, have more fun, and build stronger memories of her birding experiences. She will share examples of her journal pages, demonstrate techniques, and share tips to help you add this to your birding practice. She will also share how mentors have been central to her development as a birder and an artist.  

Fiona-with-bins-1 (1)

Born and raised in Northern California, Fiona Clare Gillogly, age 19, is an avid birder, artist, nature journaler, and advocate for nature. She has taught classes and given talks on birding and nature journaling for many organizations, including Audubon California, the Exploratorium in San Francisco, Environment for the Americas/World Migratory Bird Day, the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, and the Point Reyes Birding Festival. In June 2020, the American Birding Association’s Birding magazine published Fiona’s article and illustrations, “A Birder’s Brain on Paper: How keeping a nature journal improves our birding experiences.” Over the past 8 years, Fiona has volunteered many hours bird banding, monitoring nest boxes, and helping with Christmas Bird Counts. Learn more at fionasongbird.com.

Guides and Leader Bio's

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.
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.
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.
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.
Jim Van Leeuwen assists John Luft with the Great Salt Lake boat tours.
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.
Tom Matthewson is a wildlife photographer from Davis County Utah.
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 since 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.
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.
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. 
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.
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)
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.
DaLyn Erickson is the Executive Director for Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. 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
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.
Chris Haramoto is the Park Manager at East Canyon State Park.
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.
Heidi Hoven is the National Audubon representative to Utah. She is working with Ella Sorensen at the Gillmore Sanctuary.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Utah County Birders- members including Dennis Shirley and Suzi Holt lead the Utah County Hotspots birding trip.
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, Georgia 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.

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