2022 Presenter Bios

*subject to change*

Karen Amstutz (she/her) lives on the edge of Yosemite National Park with her husband and their three daughters. Like many mountain creatures, Karen and her family undertake a seasonal migration upslope to Tuolumne Meadows where she works each summer as a Ranger-Naturalist. Karen earned her MA from Humboldt State University and her BS from UC Davis. She has been fortunate to have worked as a naturalist in beautiful places for most of 30 years. With her binoculars always around her neck, Karen has traveled extensively in Asia, Central America, and Europe in search of new 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 Environmental Impact Report 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 PhD in Zoology from UC Davis in 1982.

Mary Clapp (she/her) is an East Coast vagrant who, in 2010, found herself blown across the country to the Eastern Sierra, and decided to stay. She received her PhD in Ecology from UC-Davis in 2021, in which she studied how trout introductions to historically fishless alpine lakes alter bird diversity at their shorelines. She prefers the edge habitat where science, storytelling, and awe meet, and looks forward to seeing you there.

Hillary Colyer (she/her) is a State Park Interpreter at Bodie State Historic Park. After years spent teaching English in elementary schools in Japan and spending free time in summers helping at her friends' backpackers' hut on a popular mountain trail, she decided to combine her love for the outdoors with her passion for education. Before she had even returned to California, she had applied for State Park positions and landed one as a Park Aide at Grover Hot Springs State Park. Hillary fell in love with Bodie after being asked to help out there in fall of 2017. And, after four years working seasonally at Grover Hot Springs and Bodie State Historic Park, she got a permanent position at Bodie, where she enjoys both ghost town life and a tiny amount of internet fame with the park's social media following.

A nature lover since he can remember, Darren Cook was born in Ft Dix, New Jersey in 1968. Being the son of a military officer, he was exposed to many cultures and countries while growing up. Time spent in Monterey, California, England, Ireland, Germany, Thailand, Vietnam and Hawaii afforded him opportunities to explore the diverse natural environments that he was always drawn to as a child. He spent many days from sunrise to sunset observing and documenting the animals that he found. Later in life Darren was involved professionally in acting and art and after starting a successful business in the wine industry, he has recently found time to turn his focus back to the wildlife that he loves. His nature photography has been published in online science journals and he recently published his first wildlife calendar entitled "Wildlife of the West". A book is in the works for 2022. His images can be seen on his Instagram page @blackbirdman_.

Al DeMartini has been a nature lover since early childhood and was bit hard by the birding bug over 35 years ago. Al worked seasonally in Alaska doing mostly Fish & Game remote field work, then later in California deserts with desert tortoise for a ‘career’ that allowed for much travel on the cheap and plenty of nature study. Al actively birds all 58 counties in California, with a special attraction to the east side of the Sierra and the remote northern Mojave Desert spots. Al is known to play with words and ray guns. He is an active Audubon CBC compiler (multiple counts) and participant (nearly 100 counts in California over the years) with a more recent dive into butterflies & NABA counts.

Ryan DiGaudio was born and raised in the Bay Area, and currently lives near Point Reyes, where he is a senior ecologist for Point Blue Conservation Science. Ryan has enjoyed studying birds and their habitats throughout California and beyond. And though he spends most of his birding time at lower elevations west of the Pacific Crest, Ryan finds the Mono Basin landscape and its birds particularly alluring and magical.

Colin Dillingham has spent his entire 33-year career working with the US Forest Service, first for 13 years on the southern coast of Oregon, and for the past 20 years on the Plumas National Forest out of Quincy, California. He has traveled widely, always in search of birds, to Europe, Central America, South America, Australia, and New Zealand. Colin's research interests revolve around goshawks, spotted owls, peregrine falcons, and rough-legged hawks as well as Foothill and Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged frogs.

Jon Dunn has had a near life-long interest in birds. He leads tours for Wings (since 1977) and has authored or co-authored numerous articles on the identification and distribution of birds. He co-authored Birds of Southern California, Status and Distribution (1981) and Warblers (1997) with Kimball L. Garrett and Birding Essentials (2007) and the Field Guide to the Birds of North America through the 7th edition (2017) with Jonathan Alderfer both published by the National Geographic Society. He joined Western Field Ornithologists at its inception in 1969 and is now president. Jon served for 30 years on the California Bird Records Committee. He is a member (since 2000) of the AOS North American Classification Committee. Jon lives near Bishop, CA. In addition to birds, he considers history his hobby and the music and poetry of Leonard Cohen his sedative. Jon would like to note that Leonard's famous "Hallelujah" has been translated into many languages, including Ukrainian, where it was recently sung by a lone young woman on an empty city street in Kiev.

Santiago M. Escruceria is a Colombian-born American citizen residing in California for the past 43 years. He graduated with a BA in Cultural Anthropology and a minor in Environmental Studies from Sonoma State University. He has taught environmental education, in Spanish and English, for the past 31 years, 23 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. Santiago is an avid birder and bird photographer, leading birding adventures in Colombia during the winter and walks for school groups in the Mono Basin during the rest of the year. He currently serves as the President of the Eastern Sierra Audubon Society.

Lisa Fields worked for California State Parks for over 20 years, including 11 years in the Sierra Nevada. She initiated the osprey nest monitoring program at Mono Lake in 2004 as part of her work and has continued to be involved as a volunteer as her career took her elsewhere.  Lisa’s passion is raptor management, particularly the osprey at Mono Lake.  She currently works for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in the North Central Region, based out of Rancho Cordova, Sacramento County.

Jora Fogg (she/her) is the Policy Director for Friends of the Inyo, a local public lands conservation organization. Her favorite part of the job is showing people wild places in the Eastern Sierra.  She is the campaign coordinator for the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership and has led the Bodie Hills field trip for the Chautauqua since 2015. Before working on public lands advocacy, she was a wildlife biologist who studied birds around the west. She lives in June Lake with her husband and daughter. Jora enjoys time recreating outside including birding, skiing, hiking, and cycling.

Ryan Garrett (he/him) is a Project Specialist for the Mono Lake Committee. He graduated with a MA Degree in Environmental Ethics from the University of Alberta in 2020. The following year he began working for the Mono Lake Committee and became entranced by birds. Ryan will lead weekly bird walks and aid in ongoing ornithology research this summer in the Mono Basin. 

Lacey Greene loves deserts and mountains. She is an enthusiastic observer who has spent nearly twenty years working locally on species management and conservation. She feels lucky to have worked with Yellow-legged Frogs, Phainopepla, Desert Tortoise, pupfish, speckled dace, Willow Flycatcher, pika, and Greater Sage-Grouse. She is currently a board member for the Eastern Sierra Audubon Society and works for the California Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Recovery Program out of Bishop.

Tom Hahn (he/him) 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 (when he’s home from college and not off fishing someplace).

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. While 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. He has illustrated some 13 books, innumerable birding articles, logos, and even a 128-foot-long mural. He and his wife Patricia lead tours to Mexico and Central America. After over 20 years of painting and writing, Keith’s latest book “Hansen’s Field Guide to the Birds of the Sierra Nevada” has been released in the last year. Currently he is writing an illustrating a book entitled “Birds of Point Reyes” and illustrating all of North America's bird species for an app called “FLOCK.”

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.

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 & Wildlife Service, and various governmental agencies in the natural sciences, Sarah is now the Outreach Director 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 Nevada.

Debbie House reached “escape velocity” out of Southern California almost 20 years ago, moving to the Eastern Sierra to accept a full-time position as a biologist with the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, where she manages several long-term avian monitoring programs. She is the Mono Basin Waterfowl Restoration Program Director and currently serving on the California Bird Records Committee. Crowley Reservoir is one of her favorite places to bird any time of the year. Debbie loves to help people discover something new for themselves about birds or other wild creatures.

Chris and Rosie Howard begin and end most days sitting on the love seat, staring out the living room window at all the birds in the field behind their house.  Bishop residents for 28 and 48 years respectively, their yard is listed as 11th in California for number of species on eBird yard lists. In addition to birding their patch of the planet, Chris and Rosie have sought feathered friends in Central America, mainland Ecuador, the Galapagos, Chile, Cuba, Thailand, Bhutan, Australia, Africa, Alaska, Hawaii, and Europe. Chris has been the compiler and organizer of the Bishop Christmas Bird Count for over two decades and is a member of the California Bird Records Committee. Rosie is a retired educator who taught Birds in the Classroom for twelve years in Bishop Schools. She completed the California Naturalist Program transect of the Sierra in 2017. Chris and Rosie are the Inyo County subregional editors for North American Birds (NAB). Their greatest accomplishment is that two of their eight grandchildren want to be Yosemite National Park Interpretive Rangers. 

A long-time visitor and veteran of many Mono Lake Committee workshops, Sue Jorgenson, (she/her), is combining her love and knowledge of art, field journaling, and Sierran nature in these workshops. She lives and works in Southern California and can be found spending her vacations roaming in the canyons, meadows and shores of the Mono Basin.

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 Associate Director of the Water Program at The Nature Conservancy, where they are actively working with farmers and other partners to secure habitat for migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway, and working with communities to restore river flows for salmon across California. Prior to The Nature Conservancy, Rodd was the Director of Bird Conservation at Audubon California.

Maya Khosla is a wildlife biologist and writer focusing on forest biodiversity. She served as Sonoma County Poet Laureate (2018-2020), bringing Sonoma’s communities together through poetry gatherings and field walks after the 2017 wildfires. Sonoma County Conservation Council (SCCC) selected her as one of the 2020 Environmentalists of the Year. Her poetry books include “All the Fires of Wind and Light” from Sixteen Rivers Press (2020 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award), “Keel Bone” from Bear Star Press (Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize), and “Web of Water: Life in Redwood Creek”. Her writing has been featured in award-winning documentary films including “Village of Dust, City of Water,” about the water crises in rural India.

Nora Livingston (she/her) is a passionate naturalist who spent her childhood immersed in nature from day one. As 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, lying on her belly watching ant highways and caterpillars chewing on leaves. She pursued biology through high school and into college where she began her life with bats. While she was finishing her degree in Environmental Biology, she began working for California Fish & Wildlife as a seasonal biologist. In a career shift to the Forest Service, she became an official “hooter” on Spotted Owl surveys, learning the habits and hoots of the owls in the Sierra. While doing field work in the Sierra, she began volunteering for Fresno’s Chaffee Zoo Education Department. She is now a staff biologist for the zoo, presenting “Natural History Stuff” to children of all ages.

Juan Pablo Galván Martínez is a professional conservationist who has lived and worked in different parts of California, Mexico, Costa Rica, and the East Coast. He loves being able to have a career focused on studying, protecting and restoring wildlife and nature. Even before he graduated from UC San Diego with a BS in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution, he was already engaged in bird research and conservation. Receiving an MS in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology from the University of Maryland College Park increased his opportunities. Some of his bird-specific experience includes: studying the effects of rice cultivation on waterbirds in the Americas, surveying birds in the coffee plantations of Chiapas, determining the reproductive success of coastal sage scrub birds in San Diego, and helping to protect the nesting birds of Isla Alcatraz in the Gulf of California. When he is not working as the Senior Land Use Manager of Save Mount Diablo, he volunteers as the Conservation Chair of Mount Diablo Audubon Society, helps mentor environmental students of color through several Bay Area student groups, assists in organizing the Bay Area chapter of the Environmental Professionals of Color network, does his certified Master Birder homework, hikes and birds the Mount Diablo region, contributes data as a certified California Naturalist, and tries to apply what he’s learned as a certified California Climate Steward.

Claire Marvet is the Education Coordinator and AmeriCorps Member for Eastern Sierra Land Trust. Originally from the Chicago area, Claire traveled the Western US as a seasonal field technician studying plants and wildlife before coming to the Eastern Sierra. She only intended to spend one winter here, but it quickly felt like home. Claire loves getting outside as much as possible to snowboard, rock climb, hike, and appreciate this beautiful place.

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.

Freya McGregor (she/her), OTR/L, CIG is the Birdability Coordinator and an occupational therapist. Birding since childhood, her ‘dodgy’ knee often creates an accessibility challenge for her. With a clinical background in blindness and low vision services, she works in her spare time for the radio show and podcast Ray Brown’s Talkin’ Birds and is passionate about enabling all birders and potential future birders to enjoy birding and nature as much as she does.
  Website: www.birdability.org
  Facebook: www.facebook.com/birdability
  Instagram: www.instagram.com/birdability
  Twitter: twitter.com/Birdability
  YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/c/birdability

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, enhancing the Committee’s education program, and continuing 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.

Kelly Muller is the Land Stewardship Manager for Eastern Sierra Land Trust. She came to the Eastern Sierra to work for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in 2017 and knew this place was going to be her long-time muse. Since then Kelly has worked for California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Inyo National Forest and most recently Eastern Sierra Land Trust. Kelly loves spending time in the High Sierra year-round: on skis, ice skates, or by foot.

Lisa Murphy  (she/her) is a lifelong naturalist and adventurer. Her love of the night sky and the flying mammals that emerge at dusk has driven her to invite others to engage in nature in the “off hours.” She strives to help others understand, protect, and monitor the local bats. Lisa was a naturalist Ranger in the high country of Yosemite for two decades. She currently teaches at Columbia College in Sonora and manages the Gold Country Bat Project.

Erin Naegle is a professor of biology at Columbia College in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Among other classes she teaches Principles of Evolution and Zoology. Erin is an avid backpacker and keen observer of nature.   Through her work with Lisa Murphy on the Gold Country Bat Project, she has expanded her naturalist interests and expertise into the less visible hours and the creatures of the night!

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 while at UC Santa Cruz earning an Environmental Studies degree. Those experiences inspired two decades teaching science as as a teacher-naturalist at several outdoor schools in northern California, then teaching middle school science. Over that time, she has also worked in Yosemite National Park as a seasonal interpretive ranger-naturalist. She is currently finishing a master’s program in Avian Sciences at UC Davis. While building her early career resume, she has worked with the California Conservation Corps, Sonoma County Regional Parks, CalFire, and as a biological field technician in Idaho and eastern Oregon. When not working, her love for birds and natural history have inspired her to be a docent and trip leader for Yosemite Area Audubon, designing and leading programs for Sierra Foothill Conservancy, and co-instructing two California Naturalist courses.

Roy Poucher has been a Sea and Sage Audubon Society general trip leader and trip leader in their introductory birding and aural birding classes for 27 years. He has led 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, Costa Rica and India. 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 aural birding events for the Morro Bay and Monterey Bay festivals.

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, Reno, studying bird communities in Sierra Nevada aspen habitats. He resides in Truckee and 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 the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science. 

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 40 years he has led field classes and custom hikes for in Yosemite, 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 Plantology are a few of the titles inspired by his life and work in the mountains. His newest book, John Audubon and His World of Birds for Kids, includes 21 suggested activites, and will be released in late Autumn of 2022. 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 Carla’s playful spirit makes each of her gatherings a joyful learning adventure.

Jessica Schaefer was born and fledged in Wisconsin, but her preferred habitat is the West Coast. She is currently a PhD student in the Animal Behavior Graduate Group at the University of California, Davis where she studies shorebird mating behavior.  Jessica received her BS from the University of Notre Dame and MS from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and she is broadly interested in the evolution of behavior and connections between ecology and animal reproductive strategies. Jessica loves observing creatures in the wild, especially birds and ocean animals. Apart from field work, she is passionate about teaching, science communication, and citizen science. She previously worked as program coordinator for a marine citizen science project for K12 students in Hawaiʻi and is currently the outreach coordinator and editor for The Ethogram, a blog about animal behavior.

Dave Shuford, a retired wetland biologist formerly with Point Blue Conservation Science, 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.

Stephen Shunk rode his first Mono Lake Bike-A-Thon without ever having seen the lake itself. After his first view of Mono Lake, Steve became a Monophile for life. Since then, Steve has become an accomplished professional naturalist, leading birding tours from Alaska to Borneo and speaking at birding festivals across North America and beyond. In 1997, Steve 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 first book, Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America, will be available for signing at the eventSteve’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.

Katie Smith is a recent graduate from UC Davis with a degree in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior and a minor in Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity. Since the beginning of her studies, Katie has worked in the Patricelli Lab studying Greater Sage-grouse, Common Ravens, White-crowned Sparrows, and Spotted Sandpipers. She will be spending the upcoming summer as the Outdoor Education Instructor for the Mono Lake Committee while continuing her research and applying to graduate programs in ornithology.

Bob Steele is a professional bird photographer from Inyokern. He has been involved in birding and bird photography for over 30 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.

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 30 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.

Thomas Torres (he/him) is a wildlife biologist for the Inyo National Forest. Thomas enjoys birding, herping, wildlife photography, and trail running in his free time. Although most of his life was spent in the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest, his love for the Eastern Sierra has grown significantly in the 3.5 years he’s been here.

John Wehausen is an applied population ecologist who has studied bighorn sheep populations in California since 1974, beginning with the Sierra Nevada. He was instrumental in petitions that led to federal and state endangered status for Sierra bighorn, then wrote most of the recovery plan for those sheep. He also helped draft the recovery plan for desert bighorn sheep in the Peninsular ranges of California. More recently he drafted a conservation plan for desert bighorn sheep in southeastern California across the large region from the White Mountains to the Colorado River. 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.

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 and bird habitats. As a professional nature guide, David educates and interprets all aspects of the environment, not just birds. For over 35 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.

The son of Caribbean immigrants, Kwasi Wrensford was born in the islands but raised in South Georgia. After obtaining a Bachelor of Science from the University of Connecticut in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, he began his PhD studies in Integrative Biology at the University of California Berkeley. Kwasi has done extensive fieldwork in both the Colorado Rockies and our own Sierra Nevada studying animal behavior, ecology, and more recently, how animals are coping with climate change. Having spent most of his grad school years exploring the Eastern Sierra, this beautiful and unique landscape here has him thoroughly hooked, and he hopes to keep returning for many years to come.