Karen Amstutz lives on the edge of Yosemite National Park with her husband and their three daughters. Like many creatures, Karen and her family undertake a seasonal migration upslope to Tuolumne Meadows where she works each summer as a seasonal Ranger-Naturalist. Karen earned her MA from Humboldt State University in Environmental Education, and studied Marine Biology and Human Development at UC Davis. She has been fortunate to have worked as a naturalist in beautiful places for most of 25 years. With her binoculars always around her neck, Karen has traveled extensively in Asia, Central America, and Europe looking for adventures and feathered life forms.
Ted Beedy has spent most of his life birding in the Sierra, including the Mono Basin. He authored the wildlife chapters of the Water Rights EIR for Mono Lake, and spent three years doing field work in the Mono Basin. Along with Ed Pandolfino he is co-author of Birds of the Sierra Nevada: Their Natural History, Status, and Distribution, which includes color illustrations of about 270 species by Keith Hansen. Ted received his Ph.D. in Zoology from UC Davis in 1982
Hillary Behr lives in Bishop and coordinates Outdoor Education programs for the Inyo County Superintendent of Schools. She is currently serving as Eastern Sierra Audubon Society's board president and leads monthly bird walks for birders of all levels. Hillary is originally from a small town in New Hampshire, but has lived in the Eastern Sierra since working for the Mono Lake Committee during the summer of 2009. She is excited to participate in the Chautauqua again as a leader, after years of attending this awesome event!
Peter Bergen, Out Side in Nature’s Director, and Nature Connection Mentoring Foundation Training/Event Coordinator is known as one of the most sought-after nature connection specialists in California. He is famous for his ability to guide children and adults in creating and developing lifelong personal relationships with the natural world, doing so in accordance with time-tested best practices of indigenous wisdom, harvested from around the world and from our ancestral lineages by dedicated and passionate elders, mentors, and colleagues. A deep nature connection is easily accessible to anyone who experiences and practices primitive skills, tracking, and bird language. And there is a lot of joy and laughter along the way!outsideinnature.com • birdlanguage.com
Ryan Burnett is the Sierra Nevada Group Director with Point Blue Conservation Science. He grew up in the shadow of the Santa Monica Mountains in Ventura County where his passion for nature and birds arose. He now resides on the shores of Lake Almanor at the biologically diverse intersection of the Sierra and Cascade ranges. He has fifteen years of experience designing, leading, and publishing findings from avian ecology and conservation research across the Sierra Nevada. He has trained numerous budding ornithologists in field methodologies and Sierra bird identification. In recent years, he spends more time enjoying the chickadees, grosbeaks, and tanagers in his yard with his children than adding on to the life list.
Tom Crawford is a teacher and poet whose work explores the natural world and our complex connection to it. Born in Michigan and educated in California, he’s lived much of his life in the Northwest. Years of teaching in China and South Korea have infused his work with a quality of Eastern sensibility. His poems are both contemplative and activist. They’re not just about beauty but how to save it. Crawford is the author of seven books of poetry. Lauds won the Oregon Book Award. The Temple On Monday was winner of the ForeWord Book of the Year Award. His recent collection, The Names of Birds, was “Star-reviewed” in BookList. He’s the recipient of the Pushcart Prize and two fellowships from the National Endowments for the Arts.
Susanna Danner is the Land Conservation Program Director for the Eastern Sierra Land Trust. She comes to the Eastern Sierra from The Nature Conservancy's Idaho Chapter, where she was the Director of Protection, coordinating a statewide program to protect working lands and wildlife habitat. Before her time in Idaho, she spent fourteen years in California's Central Coast, where she received a Bachelor's degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and worked for Coastal Watershed Council and The Big Sur Land Trust. Though she grew up in Massachusetts, Sus and her family made frequent trips to the Sierra to ski and visit her uncle in Mammoth Lakes. She enjoys hiking with Baetis, her Catahoula leopard dog, flyfishing, bicycling, birdwatching, and poring over her Jepson Manual as she learns the flora of the Eastern Sierra.
Martha Davis was the Executive Director of the Mono Lake Committee during the critical years before the State Water Board decision in 1994. She worked tirelessly with all the stakeholders involved to find common ground and a workable solution to the needs of the lake and the people of Los Angeles. Martha went on to become the Executive Manager for Policy Development at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and has been a leader in water conservation and recycling.
Michelle Desrosiers is an avian ecologist originally from New Hampshire, who has made her home in the west. She obtained her BS from The University of New Hampshire and her MS from Colorado State University, where she studied the mating system of the Island-Scrub Jay, and deepened her love of all things Aphelocoma. Her first field job out of undergrad brought her to the sagebrush shrub-steppe of the west and she hasn’t looked back. She has been studying birds, their behavior, and their habitat preferences across the western US for the past ten years. She is currently splitting her “work” time co-managing Point Blue Conservation Science’s desert projects and making a latitudinal migration to Yosemite during the summer for seasonal work. When she isn’t working she can be found birding, biking, bouldering, backpacking, or skiing.
Pete Devine directed the non-profit Yosemite Conservancy’s education programs for eight years, organizing the diverse field seminars and custom adventures that the Conservancy offers, and has now semi-retired to more of a naturalist role. Before coming to work for the Conservancy, Pete directed the education program of Yosemite Institute (now NatureBridge) for 14 years. Born and raised near Boston and schooled in biology in Colorado, Pete has been a park ranger in Utah, an archeologist in New Zealand, a guide on the Colorado River, and a teacher in Chile. He makes annual studies of the Lyell Glacier, and is married to a National Park Service archeologist. He’s the guy in the “Yosemite Frazil Ice” video, and has led the Conservancy’s trips to Yosemite’s sister national parks in China. Pete loves Steller’s Jays.
Scott Dietrich grew up in the Sacramento area before moving to Lake Tahoe in 2013. In the past he has worked in the Sierra as a biologist for the local Tahoe Resource Conservation District and Point Blue Conservation Science. Currently Scott runs his own bird guiding business in Lake Tahoe as well as continuing his research on Willow Flycatcher in the Little Truckee Watershed. Any opportunity Scott can steal, you can find him in the back country backpacking where he spends his time photographing, recording and videoing his favorite Sierra birds. • tahoebirding.com
Ryan DiGaudio was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and currently lives on the southern edge of Point Reyes National Seashore in Bolinas, CA, where he is a senior avian ecologist for Point Blue Conservation Science (formerly Point Reyes Bird Observatory). Most of his work with Point Blue has kept Ryan close to his native California habitats, including San Francisco Bay tidal marshes, the Farallon Islands, Central Valley riparian forests, coastal prairie along the Sonoma Coast, and coastal strands of Monterey Bay. Most recently Ryan's research has focused on monitoring birds, vegetation, and soil health on California rangelands. He is also helping to develop a new a grassland bird conservation plan for California Partners in Flight. Though most of Ryan's 20+ years as a birder and ecologist have been spent chasing birds around Northern California, he also has birding experience in Hawaii, Midway Atoll, the Channel Islands, Mexico, the rest of the Americas, Australia, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Colin Dillingham has spent his entire 26-year career working with the US Forest Service, first for 12 years on the southern coast of Oregon, and for the past 13 years on the Plumas National Forest out of Quincy. He has traveled widely, always in search of birds, to Europe, Central America, South America, and New Zealand, with his next trip planned to Australia later this year. Colin recently spent six weeks birding eastern Australia and broke his personal year list record by finding 625 species in 2014. Colin's favorite bird is the Pileated Woodpecker.
Linda Dore and her husband David have been catering in the Mono Basin for over a decade. Prior to starting Linda Dore Foodservice in 2002, Linda gained experience in several area restaurants including Nevados and The Mono Inn. She studied for eight years under a graduate of the Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Linda says, “I like to think that my diploma comes from Catastrophe Cooking 101A—out of the frying pan and into the fire ... that great school of experience!” Linda has been serving the Chautauqua’s Friday night dinners since they began. Spring of 2016 ushered in a new venue, Epic Café, where Linda and David now offer their summer guests and locals a lovely Lee Vining restaurant. Come visit anytime, relax and enjoy some delicious fresh food, a glass of wine or cold beer, and watch for birds in the adjacent park-like setting just above the Lakeview Lodge.
Santiago M. Escruceria is a Colombian-born American citizen residing in California for the past 38 years. He graduated with a BA in Cultural Anthropology and a minor in Environmental Studies from Sonoma State University in Northern California. He has taught environmental education, in Spanish and English, for the past 25 years, 17 of which he has spent with the Mono Lake Committee. At Mono Lake he manages the Committee’s Outdoor Education Center program for Los Angeles youth and other California schools and Community Groups. Santiago is an avid birder and bird photographer, leading birding adventures in Colombia during the winter and walks for school groups and the public in the Mono Basin during the rest of the year. He has been birding the Americas since 1986. • www.guadualitobirdingtours.com
Lisa Fields is an ecologist for the Southern Service Center of California State Parks. She is based in San Diego but works in parks extending from the Mexican border to central California. Her passion is raptor management, particularly the Osprey at Mono Lake. She initiated the nest monitoring program that began in 2004 and the nestling banding program that was started in 2009, and the use of GPS transmitters in 2013 to track migration.
Jora Fogg grew up and went to college in Washington, moving to California in 2004 and the Eastern Sierra in 2012. Previously she spent four years in Colorado with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies as a biologist managing state and national park service bird monitoring programs. Jora is currently the Preservation Manager at Friends of the Inyo, working on public lands projects and leading exploration outings to special places in the Eastern Sierra. She lives in June Lake with her husband and daughter. Jora enjoys time "naturalizing" (especially birding), skiing, hiking, and cycling.
Terri Geissinger is a historian/guide for the Bodie Foundation. She is active in the Mono Basin Historical Society, and has been interviewing the last surviving residents of Bodie to collect their stories and memories before they are lost. Terri has a talent for making history come alive—her interpretive programs are immensely popular because of her enthusiasm and commitment to Bodie’s history.
Tom Hahn is a field biologist with Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Biology from Stanford University and a PhD in Zoology from the University of Washington. He has been studying crossbills, White-crowned Sparrows, and other songbirds all over the west since the mid-1980s, and has spent countless hours in the field around Tioga Pass. He enjoys observing animals in their natural habitats, exchanging observations with fellow naturalists, and learning from his students. Tom is currently on the biology faculty at UC Davis, and lives in Davis with his wife Julie and his son Lyle
Keith Hansen is a wildlife artist who specializes in the imaginative and accurate portrayal of birds. Coming from a large family of artists and naturalists, Keith began birding in the sixth grade. Following his older brother through the woods of Maryland, a single Cedar Waxwing changed his life forever. He began to illustrate birds in 1976 and has not looked back (unless there was a bird behind him). He has illustrated 13 books, innumerable birding articles, logos, and even a 128-foot-long mural. He and his wife Patricia operate Sacred Monkey Tours, a tour company specializing in nature and cultural trips to the Central American tropics.
John Harris’ interest in the Mono Basin’s mammals began while he was working as an undergraduate assistant in a study of chipmunks in 1975. He went on to study small mammals on Mono’s dunes as a graduate student and has worked on small mammals in the Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley of California. John is the author of Mammals of the Mono Lake–Tioga Pass Region and recently retired from teaching at Mills College in Oakland.
Dave Herbst (aka "Bug" in the Mono Basin), was part of the group of students studying Mono Lake in 1976 that set in motion the science that has guided conservation of the lake. He is also "Lord of the Flies", having done research on the alkali fly for many years. He has since made a career studying aquatic insects and algae, splashing around in other saline lakes such as Owens (California), Abert (Oregon), Walker (Nevada) and even lakes of southern Bolivia, streams of the Sierra Nevada and coast range of California, and springs of the Great Basin. Not straying far from the gravitational pull of Mono, Bug is a Research Biologist with the University of California Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory near Mammoth Lakes, and lives in Bishop.
Justin Hite is now in his third year supervising the field operations of the Kauai Forest Bird Recovery Project after more than a decade and a half of wandering aimlessly through this beautiful birdy world. Justin launched his ornithological career perched on Mono Lake's islands in the company of the noble California Gull, and will always consider the Mono Basin home.
Sarah Hockensmith leads a very active lifestyle, but will always find time to slow down to watch the birds sing. After working for the US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and various governmental agencies in the natural sciences, Sarah decided to settle down her migration and is a full time naturalist for the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science. With a smile on her face and her binoculars in hand, she leads folks on wildflower and bird tours throughout the Tahoe Basin and Sierra Nevadas.
Ann Howald is a retired botanist from Sonoma who lives in the Eastern Sierra all summer, hanging out at Hilton Creek in her used Airstream, and continuing her long-term studies of the plants of Mono County. This summer she’s also leading several field trips for the Bristlecone Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, and will continue helping the Mono Lake Committee and others to rid Mono County of invasive weeds. In late July she’ll teach her always-popular Mono Lake Committee field seminar, High Country Plants and Habitats.
Oliver James fell in love with birds and the Mono Basin at a young age. He first arrived at Mono Lake as a participant in the fifth annual Chautauqua in 2006. In 2008 he joined a study of breeding Tachycineta swallows in Lee Vining Canyon and in 2011 was the Mono Lake Committee's Birding Intern. Oliver has sought birds and other creatures from Alaska to Peru but currently resides in Bozeman, MT, where he is working on a forthcoming Field Guide to the Birds of Berkeley.
Rodd Kelsey is a native Californian who spent two summers studying White-crowned Sparrow breeding ecology at Tioga Meadow and completed his PhD studying Red Crossbills across the western US. Rodd is currently the Lead Scientist for Forests & Agriculture at The Nature Conservancy, where they are actively working to conserve and improve management in Sierra meadows and forests. Prior to The Nature Conservancy, Rodd was the Director of Bird Conservation at Audubon California.
Maya Khosla has written “Web of Water: Life in Redwood Creek” (non-fiction) and “Keel Bone” (poems), essays including “Tapping the Fire, Turning the Steam: Securing the Future with Geothermal Energy” and “Notes from the Field.” Awards from Save Our Seas Foundation have supported her writing about climate change and other impacts on sea turtles. She has won awards from Bear Star Press, Flyway Journal, and Poets and Writers. Her screenwriting efforts include narratives for Shifting Undercurrents and Village of Dust, City of Water, award-winning documentary films. She is currently working on a film about post-fire habitats in the Sierra Nevada and Cascades Mountains entitled “Searching for Gold Spot: The Wild after Wildfire,” with support from the Audubon Society, Patagonia, Fund for Wild Nature and Environment Now. “Fire Works,” a short excerpt and trailer of the film project, can be found at https://conbio.org/publications/scb-news-blog/fire-works
Linda LaPierre lives in Yerington, NV, but she has spent most of the last 40 summers at Lundy Lake. She and her husband also had the experience of a lifetime spending the winter of 1978-79 snowed in at Lundy. That winter introduced her to birds, as David Gaines asked them to keep a log of the birds they saw in Lundy Canyon. Linda’s interest in researching Lundy began in 1984, when she located the foundation of the Lundy schoolhouse, scraping up pen nibs and the metal rings on pencil erasers. She began her research in the Mono Lake Committee's research library, spending many hours going through material in the backroom of the old Committee. She has been a Mono Lake Volunteer leading a History/Nature tour in Lundy Canyon for the last 11 summers. It has been said that we all have "a place of the heart". Linda found hers long ago in Lundy Canyon.
Nora Livingston is a passionate naturalist who spent her childhood immersed in nature from day one. She got her professional start as a naturalist/interpreter through the Mono Lake Committee intern program in the summers of 2008 and 2009, where she led natural history tours of the lake and weekly birding walks. Her next job as a seasonal ornithologist took her to the most beautiful corners of the country and beyond for seven years. She is now the Mono Lake Committee's Lead Naturalist Guide. It is her utmost joy to share her love of birds and nature with anyone and everyone to help foster a deeper respect for this unique planet
Burleigh Lockwood has been a field biologist since the age of four (smashed worms and crumpled caterpillars in inquisitive hands). She pursued biology through high school and into college. While she was finishing her degree in Environmental Biology, she began working for California Fish & Game as a seasonal biologist. It was a career shift to the Forest Service that brought her into contact with owls. As an official “hooter” on Spotted Owl surveys for the Forest Service, she learned the habits and hoots of the owls in the Sierra. She is currently a biologist for the Education Department of the Chaffee Zoo in Fresno.
Paul McFarland has pushed dirt, paper, politics, broken vehicles, dead trees, a few too many rocks and the bounds of rationality while working on and for the public lands and wildlife of the Eastern Sierra. A true amateur in the Latin sense of the word, there isn't one facet of our natural world that has taken precedent on any of his guided natural history explorations over the past two decades, from birds to butterflies to basalt and bedrock mortars, everything has a story that's tied to everything else. Paul lives in Lee Vining with his wife, Yvette, and children Solomon, Henry, and Lydia dreaming of a future where Highway 395 is a railway, but not much else has changed on the landscape.
Steve McLaughlin is a University of Arizona Professor Emeritus, past president of the Bristlecone Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, and former board member of the Friends of the Inyo. He is an enthusiastic birder and an experienced botanist with extensive knowledge of the taxonomy, life histories, evolution, and ecological adaptations of plants throughout the western United States.
Caelen McQuilkin has lived in the Mono Basin for all of her fifteen years, exploring and learning about her fascinating home by hiking, backpacking, and skiing. Growing up among real examples of world-relevant science, she has always asked many questions about the environment. In the past couple of years, she has become especially intrigued by how our changing climate is affecting the Mono Basin.
Ellery McQuilkin has lived in the Mono Basin for all of her twelve years and enjoys exploring the area by foot, skis, and kayak. She is a student in Lee Vining entering eighth grade and likes meeting the many scientists who visit Mono Lake. Her annual science fair projects have always involved cold winter conditions and icy streams and lakes.
Geoff McQuilkin is the Executive Director of the Mono Lake Committee. Geoff's goals are ensuring Mono Lake's continuing protection, restoring Mono Lake's tributary streams, developing a permanent education program, and continuing that the strong tradition of scientific research at Mono Lake. Geoff has worked for the Committee since 1992, and he's happy to live close to the lake with his wife Sarah and their daughters Caelen, Ellery, and Cassia.
Peter Metropulos has spent over 30 years exploring and birding throughout Mono County and has an intimate knowledge of Mono Basin birds. He has served as one of the sub-regional editors of North American Birds magazine for over 30 years, and has co-authored several articles and bird-finding guides. Peter is a practicing horticulturist and is therefore able to identify and share many of the area’s botanical wonders as well.
Connie Millar is a Senior Scientist with the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, in Albany, California. Connie is recognized for her leadership in developing climate-adaptation strategies and tools for management of western public lands. She directs the Consortium for Integrated Climate Research in Western Mountains and the North American Chapter of the Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments. Her research team addresses a wide range of issues related to mountain environments and climate, including responses of subalpine forests and montane mammals (including American pikas) to historic and ongoing climate change in Great Basin ecosystems. Connie received her PhD in genetics from the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) in 1984, holds a MS in forest genetics from UCB and a BS in forest science from the University of Washington, Seattle. She divides her time between the Bay Area in winter and the summer field season in the Mono Basin.
Lisa Murphy is a Ranger-Naturalist in Yosemite National Park. Lisa is enchanted by the night sky and its inhabitants, especially as seen from the open spaces in Yosemite’s high country and the Mono Basin. One of Lisa’s favorite things is to watching the day turn to night and experiencing the changes that brings. Lisa has been leading astronomy programs for decades and began investigating bats in 2000 as an Interpretive Ranger in Tuolumne Meadows, her love of bats probably stemmed from her love of the gloaming and the dark night sky.
Kristie Nelson has had a love for birds since some of her earliest memories. She has conducted ornithological fieldwork throughout much of the state, serves on the California Bird Records Committee, and has been the project leader for California Gull research at Mono Lake since 2005. She lives in the Mono Basin and is very familiar with its assemblage of bird life. When not engaged in birding activities, she is busy running a small diversified farm with her husband Joel.
For the last eight years, Erin Nordin has worked as a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Erin has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Biology and Master's degree in Environmental Science and Management. She has been involved in issues related to federally listed species that occur in portions of Inyo and Mono Counties since 2010. In 2012, Erin relocated to Bishop to be closer to the resources the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is tasked with conserving and protecting.
Kay Ogden saw Mono Lake for the first time when she rode in her first of three Bike-A-Thons, and her heart never recovered. She worked for the Mono Lake Committee for four years before leaving to ride her bike around the world for a year. After returning, she became the Associate Director for the Sierra Nevada Alliance, and is now home, working as the Executive Director for the Eastern Sierra Land Trust. Kay is thrilled to be back to the Eastern Sierra, and recently married her longtime partner, spending their first night married together camping overlooking Mono Lake with their rescued German Shepherd, Rush Creek.
Karyn "Kestrel" O'Hearn began following birds around during Natural History Field Quarter at UC Santa Cruz. After graduating in 1996 she worked as a naturalist at several outdoor schools landing in the Sierra and ultimately Yosemite National Park, where she has worked as a ranger naturalist since early 2002. When not rangering in the Sierra, she has been a docent and trip leader for Yosemite Area Audubon, designed and led programs for Sierra Foothill Conservancy, and worked as a middle school science teacher. She has also been a co-instructor for UC Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve's California Naturalist course. She is currently a master's student in the Avian Sciences Graduate Group at UC Davis where she is developing research that will investigate avian species richness following the Rough Fire in Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park using avian soundscapes. She hopes to return each summer to live and work as an Interpretive Ranger Naturalist in Yosemite's high country where birds are her guide and natural environments her teacher.
Logan Parsons lives in Santa Cruz, California, and works as a high school art and science teacher. Logan was trained as a science illustrator at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and has been working as a freelance illustrator and science educator since 2007. Logan is originally from Monterey, California, and has been visiting the Sierra almost every summer since she was four years old. She worked for the Mono Lake Committee during the summers of 2009 and 2010, and as a Park Ranger in Tuolumne Meadows during the summers of 2011 and 2012. She is excited to participate in the Chautauqua as a leader for the first time and share her love of sketching and the Mono Basin!
Roy Poucher has been a Sea and Sage Audubon Society (Orange County, CA) general trip leader and trip leader in their introductory birding classes (including aural birding) for 25 years. He has led national Audubon trips to Arizona, Texas, North Dakota (sparrows), the Great Lakes (warblers), the eastern seaboard (shorebirds), and up & down California. Through his company, Bird Odyssey Tours, Roy has led international trips to Kenya, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, Thailand, Cambodia, the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador and Costa Rica. Tours to Brazil and to India are upcoming. His passion is bird vocalization, and he has mentored aural birding with Dick Walton (author of the Peterson bird sounds audio series), Luis Baptista (late of the California Academy of Sciences), Tom Hahn (UC Davis) and Sylvia Gallagher (Southern California educator). He presents the bird festival aural events for the Morro Bay and Monterey Bay festivals.
Bob Power was the lead field seminar leader for the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society for ten years, leading and co-leading both domestic and international birding eco-tours. Bob has been a day-leader for the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory’s HawkWatch program for the past thirteen years, taught Introduction to Birding at Palo Alto Adult School for seven years, and has been a field trip leader for the Chautauqua since 2007.
Greg Reis is the Mono Lake Committee’s Information and Restoration Specialist. He tracks the hydrology of the Mono Basin and LA Aqueduct operations, advocating for management that furthers the restoration of Mono Lake and its tributary streams. He also works for The Bay Institute advocating for more natural flows to the San Francisco Estuary. He has a B.S. in Forestry and Natural Resources from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He has worked for the Mono Lake Committee for over 20 years and led tours of the LA Aqueduct for over 15 years.
Will Richardson has been birding and conducting field research in the Sierra Nevada since 1994, including several seasons working for the organization formerly known as Point Reyes Bird Observatory in the Mono Basin and elsewhere in the Eastern Sierra. Will received his PhD in Ecology, Evolution, & Conservation Biology from the University of Nevada in Reno, studying bird communities in Sierra Nevada aspen habitats. He resides in Truckee and now focuses most of his attention on the natural history of the Lake Tahoe region. He is slowly chipping away at authoring a status and distribution guide for the birds of the Lake Tahoe basin, and is co-founder and Co-Executive Director of a research, education, and outreach organization: the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science.
Jenny Rieke was first introduced to the wonders of the Mono Basin on a field program through UC Santa Cruz in the Spring of 2014. Since then, she hasn't been able to stay away for long. She has worked in Yosemite for the past two summers, spending her days off rambling around the high mountain peaks and finding the best spots to swim in the river. Since graduating, Jenny has been working as an educator at various organizations, including a bird observatory in Minnesota, a wildlife refuge in Florida, and as a volunteer Park Ranger in Tuolumne Meadows. She is excited to spend the summer as the MLC birding intern amongst Sage Thrashers, Penstemon newberryi, and tufa towers - and to share the magic of Mono Lake with others.
Michael Ross lives with his wife in El Portal at Yosemite’s western boundary, perched on a bluff overlooking the Merced River where they hear dippers sing and watch herons hunt. For more than 30 years he has led field classes and custom hikes for the Yosemite Conservancy, including many programs for children and families. He wrote and illustrated his first two children’s books in 1979 and has written 40 more since then. Rolypolyology, Become a Bird and Fly, Snug as a Bug, Bird Watching with Margaret Morse Nice, and Baby Bear Isn’t Hungry are a few of the titles inspired by his life and work in the mountains. Michael graduated with a BS in Conservation of Natural Resources with a minor in Entomology from UC Berkeley and earned a teaching credential in early childhood education from Fresno State University.
Ane Carla Rovetta is a multi-talented presenter. She holds the Renaissance belief that art and science are kindred disciplines, each supporting and enhancing the other. She has illustrated seven books, and illustrates natural history stories in front of live audiences throughout the west. She also creates her own art supplies using local soils, stones, seeds and roots. Ane Carla was named Environmental Educator of the Year in 2015 by the Terwilliger Foundation and has received numerous grants to make non-toxic art installations with children. She lives in Sonoma County where her pastel chalks are rolled in a “funky little outbuilding that used to be a chicken coop.” Ane’s playful spirit makes each of her gatherings a joyful learning adventure.
Steve Sadro is a limnologist and ecosystem ecologist in the department of Environmental Science and Policy at UC Davis and a researcher at the Tahoe Environmental Research Center. He is interested in how physical, chemical, and biological factors interact to regulate aquatic ecosystems. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from UC Santa Cruz in 1994 and his PhD in limnology from UC Santa Barbara in 2011.
Ali Sheehey is an avid naturalist and birder. She is the Programs Director for Sequoia ForestKeeper. As a naturalized member of the California fauna her introduction to the state began in 1976 with her permanent migration to Kern County in 1980. She has been an active volunteer with Audubon beginning in 1985 and served as the Outreach Director at Audubon California's Kern River Preserve from 2006 until 2012. Her education about nature began with her explorations of the desert environs of Kern County's Temblor Range (the western border) where she fell in love with the intricacies of the geology, flora and fauna in a place many regarded as an ugly wasteland. Seeing beauty in every natural niche is one of the many talents of "Nature Ali." She has studied the natural history of Kern County and has documented the Rose-ringed Parakeets of Bakersfield. Ali is a staunch environmental advocate and prefers to quietly affect policy through education. She looks forward to sharing her deep appreciation of our precious planet with the Mono Lake Chautauqua community.
sequoiaforestkeeper.org • natureali.org
Dave Shuford is a wetland biologist with Point Blue Conservation Science and became immersed in avian studies at Mono Lake in 1983 when he began research on California Gulls nesting on the lake’s islands. Dave has conducted breeding bird atlas projects in Marin County and the Glass Mountain region of Mono County and has surveyed shorebird and waterbird populations throughout the interior of California. He has spent countless hours exploring the hinterlands of the state and has a passion for understanding and adding to knowledge on the status and distribution of California’s diverse avifauna. He regularly teaches classes with the Mono Lake Committee and with San Francisco State’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus at Yuba Pass, and he looks forward to sharing his knowledge with you and learning from you as well.
Stephen Shunk rode his first Mono Lake Bike-A-Thon without ever having seen the lake itself. After his first view of the Mono Lake shoreline, Steve became a Monophile for life. Since then, Steve has become an accomplished professional birder, leading birding tours from Alaska to Peru and speaking at birding festivals and meetings across North America and beyond. In 1997, Steve landed on the east slope of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, where he co-founded the East Cascades Bird Conservancy and the Oregon Birding Trails program. Over the last 20 years, he has become a pathological woodpecker fanatic, and his recently published book, the Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America, is available for signing at the MLC Information Center & Bookstore. Steve’s infectious enthusiasm for birds and the outdoors will leave you with many fond memories and a new appreciation for the nature that surrounds us. • paradisebirding.com
Bob Steele is a professional bird photographer from Inyokern. He has been involved in birding and bird photography for over 20 years. Inyokern is in the bird-rich Kern County, an area centrally located at the convergence of multiple bio-regions, providing the opportunity to photograph many avian subjects. Bob has also traveled around the country, to Central and South America, Australia, Southeast Asia, and the Southern Ocean, photographing birds along the way. Bob’s photos can be seen in many publications: Birding, Wild Bird, Birder’s World, Ducks Unlimited, National Geographic Traveler, and National Wildlife magazines; books include: multiple National Geographic field guides, the Smithsonian Field Guide to Birds of North America, the American Museum of Natural History Birds of North America, and the Stokes Field Guide to Birds of North America. • bobsteelephoto.com
Susan Steele's interest in birds began as a child in Idaho with evenings spent on the porch listening to meadowlarks. This interest blossomed into a passion when she moved to the California desert more than 20 years ago. An accomplished birder with many state and county records, she spends her free time birding, hiking, and enjoying the flowers in the Eastern Sierra.
Greg Stock is the first-ever Yosemite National Park geologist. He received a degree in Geology from Humboldt State University and a PhD in Earth Sciences from UC Santa Cruz. A near-lifelong resident of the Sierra Nevada, Greg has studied and mapped the geology of the Sierra Nevada and Mono Basin for over 15 years. He resides in Yosemite Valley with his wife Sarah and daughter Autumn.
Sarah Stock is the Terrestrial Wildlife Biologist at Yosemite National Park where she has overseen the park's program for land-animal biodiversity since 2006. She studies wildlife ranging from songbird population dynamics to Great Gray Owl and Spotted Owl responses to fire, to the ecology of bats. She earned her Master’s degree at the University of Idaho in 2001 where she focused on the migration ecology of forest owls. Before moving to Yosemite Valley with her family, she studied birds in locations ranging from Alaska to the South Pacific islands. Sarah has authored many technical reports and peer-reviewed publications on wildlife ecology and management.
John Wehausen is an applied population ecologist who has studied bighorn sheep populations in California since 1974, beginning with his PhD dissertation work in the Sierra Nevada, where he has continued to work since completing his dissertation. His studies have had a strong conservation orientation. Beginning in the 1970s, he has worked closely with various resource management agencies to help establish and carry out data-based conservation programs for bighorn sheep. He was a member of the recovery team for bighorn sheep in the Peninsular Ranges in California and helped draft the recovery plan for that distinct population segment of desert bighorn sheep. Following their listing as a federal endangered species, he wrote most of the recovery plan for bighorn sheep in the Sierra Nevada. Most recently he has drafted for the California Department of Fish & Wildlife a conservation plan for desert bighorn sheep in California outside of the Peninsular Ranges. In 1995 John helped found the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation and serves as its president. In 2012 John retired as an Associate Research Scientist with the University of California’s White Mountain Research Station, but continues to work full-time on bighorn sheep conservation issues in California including the Sierra Nevada. • www.sierrabighorn.org
Stuart Wilkinson is a longtime Mono Lake paddling guide and veteran kayaker. He and his wife Sue own and operate Caldera Kayaks, and have been operating on Mono Lake for nearly 20 years. When he's not kayaking Stuart assists with monitoring the Long Valley Caldera for the US Geological Survey. • calderakayak.com
David Wimpfheimer worked for the Mono Lake Committee in the mid-1980s, accomplishing a variety of educational, lobbying, and promotional objectives. On eleven 350-mile fundraising Bike-A-Thons pedaling from Los Angeles to Mono Lake, he was known to pedal off-course to pursue birds. As a professional nature guide, David educates and interprets all aspects of the environment, not just birds. For over 28 years, David has led tours and taught classes for organizations such as the Smithsonian Institution, Point Reyes Field Institute, Mono Lake Committee, Oceanic Society, Road Scholar and Wild Wings. David's seasoned focus and knowledge make for very enjoyable and educational outings. • calnaturalist.com