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THE EXPERTS

2012 Festival Guide (pdf file)      |      Birding Hot Spots (pdf file)      |      Unicoi Park


2013 Dates: Last weekend in April at Amicalola Falls State Park

THE EXPERTS ~ Biographies


Jim Allison   James R. “Jim” Allison
Retired D.N.R. Botanist

In July 2004 Jim Allison retired after more than 15 years of service as a botanist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Co-author of Protected Plants of Georgia and a frequent lecturer and field trip leader, Jim made many significant discoveries during fieldwork in the Southeast, including several “conservation hotspots” now protected, such as the Coosa Prairies in Georgia and the Bibb County Glades in Alabama (see www.jimbotany.com). He has described and named a dozen plants new to science, and is working on more. Other interests include butterfly watching, photography, travel, music, and acting in community theater.

Leader for:
• “Butterflies and Blossoms” – Anna Ruby Falls

Chip Bates   Chip Bates
Chip Bates is a graduate of Auburn University (1985) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management. His career in forestry began in 1986 with a consultant firm in South Georgia and in 1990 he transferred to the Georgia Forestry Commission and has twenty-two years of experience working with the Forest Management Departments. Chip is currently the Forest Health Coordinator for The Georgia Forestry Commission.
• The Forest Health Management Group is responsible for providing leadership in Forest Health Management issues, forming partnerships to work with Federal, State, and private cooperators, and providing technical assistance to the landowners of Georgia.

Leader for:
• “Exotic and Invasives and How They Affect Our Environment”

Joy Carter   Joy Carter
President of the Board of Atlanta Audubon Society

Joy Carter is the 2012 President of the Board of Atlanta Audubon Society. Although she was always interested in conservation and wildlife, it wasn't until she took the AAS Master Birder class in 2006 that Joy became an avid birder. That connection with the natural world has become her focus, from working with Park Pride to protect bird and wildlife habitat in area parks to advocating for greater understanding of the importance of shade grown coffee.

Presenter for:
• Shade Grown Coffee

Susan Chapman   Susan Chapman
Park Naturalist

Susan Chapman, park naturalist enjoys her varied role with Unicoi programming. Although raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Susan and her husband, John were drawn to the beauty of Unicoi and chose to settle down close by - just up the road in Habersham. Susan has served in professional roles as a recreational program director and later taught over 20 years in both the public & private school setting with enrichment programs for students at elementary, middle school and college level. Teaching swimming, gardening, hiking, reading and learning are her lifelong avocations.

Leader for:
• Project Wild Educator Workshop, Featuring “Flying Wild”

Scott Coleman   Scott Coleman
Scott graduated from the University of Georgia in 2005 with a degree in Wildlife Biology. He began working on Little St. Simons Island in early 2006 as a naturalist and by the end of 2007 his job had evolved to ecological manager for the island.

In his current role, Scott works to maintain, enhance and restore the natural ecological communities and wildlife populations on the 10,000 acre island. He has led the development of a 50-year conservation plan for Little St. Simons Island and is leading the transition of the island into a model for conservation management. His responsibilities include coordinating the island’s research, monitoring, restoration and natural resource management. Scott also manages a wide range of partnerships with public and private conservation organizations, and these conservation partners have roles with many ongoing projects on the island. Some of these projects include a nest and incubation project with American Oystercatchers, using fire management as a tool to maintain some of the rarest plant communities in coastal Georgia, mist netting to learn more about the island’s bat populations, assessing altered salt marshes to work towards restoration, and eliminating exotic/invasive species on the island.

Scott is working with other coastal conservation partners to develop regional working groups that focus on conservation work related to invasive species and nesting shorebirds. He also serves on the Jekyll Island Authority’s conservation committee and on the St. Simons Land Trust’s conservation task force for Cannon’s Point. Scott is a board member of Coastal Wildscapes and works to engage the group’s members with hands on conservation projects along the Georgia coast.

Scott is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Wildlife Biology through the University of Georgia and is working on a project to characterize salt marsh health by using birds and vegetation as bioindicators.

Presenter for: 
Buntings, Bats and Burning; The Conservation of a Coastal Wilderness: Little St. Simons Island

Cameron Cox   Cameron Cox Product Specialist for Leica Sport Optics
Cameron Cox has been an avid birder for 19 years. Birding adventures have led him all corners of North America, from southern Mexico to the Pribilof Island in the Bering Sea. He is particularly interested in the identification challenges presented by waterbirds and is currently working on a flight identification guide to eastern waterbirds to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He spent over 10 years as a “bird bum” traveling from one low-paying bird field-tech position to another, learning as much as he could about bird identification and behavior at every stop. His current job title is much more reputable, Product Specialist for Leica Sport Optics. You can now find him at birding events, leading field trips and explaining the merits of spectacular optics.

Presenter for: 
• Optics 101
• A Birders Guide to Choosing a Camera
• Evening Speaker: “Beyond the Field Marks”

Leader for: 
• Ivy Log

Laurette Dean   Lauretta Dean
Wildlife Rehabilitator, Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge
Lauretta Dean has been a wildlife rehabilitator specializing in raptors for 25 years. Obtaining an educational special permit for non-releasable birds some 13 years ago, Lauretta has been sharing her magnificent birds at Amicalola Falls State Park for the last ten years.

Presenter for:
• Birds of Prey: “Close Encounters of the Bird Kind”

Phil Delestrez   Phil Delestrez
Park Resource Manager, Hard Labor Creek State Pa

Phil Delestrez has worked for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for more than 11 years. In 1997, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Zoology (Wildlife Ecology Program) from Southern Illinois University. During this time, he volunteered with the US Fish and Wildlife Service at Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge completing waterfowl counts, migratory bird counts, and with artistic abilities, and created posters for the refuge. In 1999, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from Southern Illinois University. Phil enjoys incorporating art and nature. During his career with the GA DNR State Parks and Historic Sites Division, he has been an Interpretive Ranger and Assistant Park Manager at Panola Mountain, Park Manager at Sprewell Bluff, and is currently the Park Manager at Sweetwater Creek State Park. Phil also painted the BirdFest picture with the Rose-breasted Grosbeak with Unicoi Lake in the background.

Presenter for:
• Grasslands and Songbirds
• “Birds and Blooms” at Anna Ruby Falls

Joe Duff   Joe Duff
C.E.O Operation Migration Inc. – Keynote Speaker

From the perspective of an ultralight aircraft, Joe Duff has been able to provide a Bird’s Eye view of his experiences leading eleven generations of Whooping cranes along their first migration from Wisconsin to Florida. His twenty years as a commercial photographer allows him to capture unique images of birds in flight and he uses them to tell the story of how these magnificent creatures reached an all time low of only fifteen, yet managed to survive.

Joe tells the history of this project from its inception in the 1990 when Operation Migration first learned to fly with Canada geese. He documents their work with Columbia Pictures in the making of Fly Away Home and the trials and tribulations of working with four species of birds.

He takes us through the history of a small group of dedicated people who eventually became founding members of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership. He gives us an inside view of the complexities of teaching birds to migrate while keeping them wild and. He uses one of a kind images, humour and colourful stories to demonstrate that anyone can make a difference if they are willing to try.

Keynote Dinner:
• “Bird’s Eye View”

John Erbele   John Erbele
Park Manager, Smithgall Woods State Park

John Erbele grew up in Macon, Georgia and attended Mercer University, earning a B.A. degree (1975) in English and Business. John worked in several hospitality oriented businesses and has owned and operated two different fine dining restaurants. In 1985, John moved to Aiken, South Carolina to be General Manager of the Willcox Inn, a beautiful, 32-room historic property. In 1987, John became the General Manager of the Green Boundary Club of Aiken, South Carolina.

John moved back to Georgia in 1993 and began work with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources at Unicoi State Park until he was promoted and transferred to Smithgall Woods. John currently serves as the General Manager of this 6,030-acre conservation area. John also oversees the historic Hardman Farm, Mossy Creek Park, and Buck Shoals State Park, all of these properties are in, or near, White County, and will eventually be opened as parks or historic sites.

John is a very active volunteer in his community. He is the Treasurer and board member of the Smithgall Woods Foundation. He is a current member and former Chairman of the White County Chamber of Commerce. For the past seven years, he has served as the Chairman of the White County Development Authority. He was recently appointed to serve on a Joint Development Authority (White, Lumpkin, and Forsyth counties). He serves on the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Advisory Board. He is a member and former President of the Charles Smithgall Humane Society. He is a member and former President of the Sautee Nacoochee Community Association. John serves on the steering committee for the development of the Byron Herbert Reece Farm. John is the Vice President and National Board Member of the non-profit educational and cultural organization known as Foxfire. John recently joined the Board and Executive Committee of the Northeast Georgia History Center in Gainesville. John serves as President of the non-profit art organization, known as the Art of Living. John is also active in several environmental and conservation related groups.

John has two children: son, Martin is 23, and daughter, Allison is 20. His wife, Linda is a free-lance writer. His hobbies include flying, boating, fishing, and antiques. John’s “toys” include two old boats from the 1950’s and an old Porsche, all of which are “works in progress.”

Leader for:
• Hardman Farm Tour & Beginner Birding

Nema Etheridge   Nema Etheridge
Café Campesino

Nema works in marketing and sales for Café Campesino. She started working with the company in 2009 after she googled “Fair Trade Georgia” and Café Campesino topped the search results. At Café Campesino, Nema is able to work for a business that focuses on the triple bottom line: financial sustainability, social sustainability and environmental sustainability. She also gets to enjoy some of the world’s tastiest coffees and explore the depths of coffee culture- either by learning more about Fair Trade, Shade Grown and organic principles – or by traveling to meet customers, farmers and passionate coffee drinkers. She traveled to Guatemala in 2010 where she met some of Café Campesino’s oldest trading partners and searched for (unsuccessfully) the Guatemalan quetzal. She hopes to return soon. Nema has a BA in Political Science from McGill University and an MPA from Georgia State University.

Leader for:
• Shade Grown Coffee

Theresa Hartz   Theresa Hartz
Atlanta Audubon Society trip leader

Theresa Hartz has been birding for about 20 years. She has led numerous field trips for the Atlanta Audubon Society, including annually leading both the Merritt Island Waterfowl Weekend in winter and the Warbler Weekend Workshop each spring.

Leader for:
• Sosebee Cove, Wolfpen Gap and Lake Winfield Scott
• Tray Mountain

Carol Hassell   Carol Hassell
Hassell is Executive Director and the first staff member of the Georgia Piedmont Land Trust (GPLT), formerly known as the Gwinnett Open Land Trust. She was a founding member of the organization over thirteen years ago. Today, GPLT, a private nonprofit land conservation organization, has more than 1,100 acres of land under permanent protection throughout the Georgia Piedmont. Its mission includes the protection of water and woodlands; complementing the conservation efforts of cities and communities; and saving working lands and historic sites, along with education about the values of and tools for land conservation.

Formerly she was Vice President - Administration for the Georgia Wildlife Federation, with responsibility for human resources and organizational administration; and creation of the Mill Creek Nature Center at the Mall of Georgia. She also represented the organization on land conservation and water issues; and was part of the GWF communications team. She came to GWF from the Georgia Environmental Council, an umbrella organization for environmental advocacy and education groups across the state, for which she served as Executive Director. Previously, she had spent more than thirteen years in public relations, lastly as the head of the corporate communications department of Equifax Inc., and before that at Ketchum, Inc., a global public relations agency, where she had served in a number of posts leading to Senior Vice President/Group Manager. Responsibilities in the communications field included development of environmental outreach and crisis communications for a variety of governmental and corporate clients. She earned Silver Anvil awards, the top honor of the Public Relations Society of America, for two of these programs.

Hassell is past president of the Atlanta Audubon Society’s board and was an appointed member of the City of Suwanee’s Founders Committee for a new community garden. She chaired Gwinnett County’s Tree Advisory Committee for several years and has actively supported and fostered greenspace in various other areas of community activity. She served a term on Suwanee’s City Council. She is a Leadership Gwinnett graduate and a member of the charter class of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership.

A Gwinnett County resident for over 36 years, she lives with her husband Powell in Suwanee on Ivy and Suwanee Creeks.

Presenter for:
• Create a Yard for the Birds: Atlanta Audubon Society’s Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Certification Program

    Jeremy Hughes
Jeremy Hughes is the Forest Health Specialist for North Georgia. He was raised in Burnsville, North Carolina. Following high school and 2 years of college he worked for the North Carolina Forest Service as a Smokechaser. After 2 years he left to finish his college education. In 2006 he graduated from Western Carolina University. That same year he began his career with the Georgia Forestry Commission as a Forester in Statesboro, GA. Since that time he has served as forester for Bulloch, Screven, Emanuel, and Jenkins counties. Jeremy also served as interim Bulloch County Chief Ranger/Forester. He has served as Forest Health and Water Quality District Coordinator. Jeremy is a member of the GFC Type II Team and has served on multiple fire and hurricane assignments in Georgia, Texas, and Oregon.

Leader for:
• Tree ID Discussion and Walk

Chuck Hunter   Chuck Hunter
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
Chief of Division of Planning and Resource Management

Chuck Hunter grew up in north Florida making frequent trips to the southern Appalachians and has been actively birding since he was ten years old (40+ years). Chuck works for the U..S Fish and Wildlife Service and enjoys showing folks the many birds that share our planet.

Leader for:
• Brawley Mountain
• Brasstown Bald

Photo was taken in Ecuador.

Lisa Hurt   Lisa Hurt
Atlanta Audubon Society trip leader

Lisa Hurt is a retired teacher from the City Schools of Decatur where she taught in the Gifted Program and wrote the curriculum. Most of this curriculum was in environmental education. She served on the Board of the Atlanta Audubon Society for six years as Education Director and an At-Large Board Member. She leads bird walks during the migration periods and teaches in the Atlanta Audubon’s Master Birder Program each fall.

Presenter for:
• Common Birds of the Southeast

Leader for:
• Birding By Ear Walk at Smithgall Woods

John Jensen   John Jensen
Currently employed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Nongame Conservation Section as a Senior Wildlife Biologist specializing in amphibian and reptile conservation. Previously worked as a Project Manager/Ecologist for the Florida Natural Areas Inventory in panhandle Florida. Past contract work with the US Forest Service and US Fish and Wildlife focused on surveys and inventories of rare and endangered amphibians and reptiles in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. Author or co-author of over 100 scientific papers, notes, and book chapters. Lead editor and author of a book entitled Amphibians and Repitles of Georgia, published by the University of Georgia Press. Attended both the University of Iowa and Auburn University.

Leader for:
• Frogging By Ear

Presenter for:
• Frog Walk

Dr. Eugene Keferl   Dr. Eugene Keferl
Coastal Georgia Audubon Society (CGAS

Dr. Eugene Keferl is a Professor Emeritus of Biology and has been looking at birds one way or another for over 50 years. He has been leading birding field trips for about 10 years. He has done some bird watching in all 50 States and at least 15 countries. He has helped in over 50 bird counts in the past 15 years. I am a Georgia County lister and have observed birds in every county in Georgia.

Presenter for:
• “Birding Essentials: What Beginners Should Know About Bird Watching”

Leader for:
• Spring Bird Walk Around Unicoi State Park

Nathan Klaus   Nathan Klaus
D.N.R. Wildlife Biologist

Nathan Klaus grew up in the Loess Hills near Council Bluffs Iowa, among some of the best remaining examples of tallgrass prairie and oak savanna in the world. An early connection with this ecosystem has continued to shape him for decades. He received a BS from University of Iowa and worked for the Iowa chapter of the Nature Conservancy for a time. He then moved to east Tennessee where he graduated from the University of Tennessee, with a Master’s in Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries. His master’s thesis examined the long-term effects of logging and natural disturbances on breeding bird communities in the Southern Appalachians. He has worked for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Nongame Natural Heritage Section for 11 years as a senior wildlife biologist where he has authored numerous publications on songbirds and restoration ecology. In addition he oversees management of nongame birds statewide, as well as restoration of longleaf pine, oak woodlands and prairies on state lands.

Presenter for:
• “Why birds live where they do, and how biologists can make them feel at home”
• Georgia Breeding Bird Atlas and Citizen Science Projects

Leader for:
• Ivy Log – Bird Walk plus Cerulean Management and Hemlock Management Discussions

Linda May   Linda May
D.N.R. Environmental Outreach Coordinator

Linda May has a Wildlife Management degree from UGA and more than 16 years experience with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division. She currently serves as the Environmental Outreach Coordinator for DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section and is a board member for the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia. Through public programs, teacher workshops, and e-newsletter articles, she enjoys sharing her knowledge of the natural world with others. Although Linda appreciates all critters, she has a particular interest in songbirds, backyard habitats, and citizen science projects.

Presenter for:
• Bird House & Bird Feeder Building

Patty McLean   Patty McLean
Birding Enthusiast and Member of the
Atlanta Audubon Society and Georgia Ornithological Society

Patty McLean is a volunteer field trip leader and member of the Atlanta Audubon Society and Georgia Ornithological Society. She currently works for the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and spends most of her weekends birding and exploring many of the interesting bird habitats throughout Georgia. Smithgall Woods is one of her favorite spring-time birding sites, particularly for warblers and other migratory songbirds. She's currently working with the GA Important Bird Area coordinator to help place owl nest boxes at specific sites and to encourage large land owners to help protect these important predators.

Leader for:
• Morning Stroll at Smithgall Woods
• “Wilks Road and the Upper Chattahoochee”

Grant McCreary   Grant McCreary
creator of The Birder’s Library website, www.birderslibrary.com and Member of the Atlanta Audubon Society and Georgia Ornithological Society

Two of Grant McCreary’s favorite things are birds and books. So it’s no surprise that he loves bird books. Seeking to share this passion, in 2006 he created The Birder’s Library website (birderslibrary.com) on which he posts reviews and news of bird books and other media.

Presenter for:
• How to Pick a Field Guide

Amber Mooney   Amber Mooney
Naturalist, Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center

Amber Mooney is a native to the North Georgia Mountains. A graduate of Berry College, she has earned a bachelor’s in biology. During her time at Berry, she spent 3 years conducting research understanding flowering dogwoods’ roles in forest ecosystems. Upon graduation she was a naturalist at Unicoi State Park. There she learned the importance of both research and interpretation to the public in conservation biology. Currently she works at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center as a naturalist intern where she does curricula and performs residential and day programs with reptiles as well as birds of prey.

Presenter for:
• Project Wild Educator Workshop, Featuring “Flying Wild” – Part 1

Trina Morris   Trina Morris
D.N.R. Wildlife Biologist

Trina Morris is a Wildlife Biologist with the Nongame Conservation Section of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. She completed a B.S. in Wildlife at Purdue University in 2000, and received a M.S. in Biology/Ecology from Shippensburg University in 2002. Trina began working with bats in Pennsylvania, where she assisted in completing inventory work as an Ecologist with The Nature Conservancy. She has been working for DNR since 2005 as the environmental review coordinator and works on a variety of rare and endangered species issues. Her work with bats in Georgia focuses on surveys, population monitoring, cave conservation and education.

Presenter for:
• Bat Conservation in Georgia
• Bat Box Building

Leader for:
• Bat Walk

Charlie Muise   Charlie Muise
Coordinator of Georgia’s Important Bird Areas
Conservation Program

Charlie Muise grew up in New England with a love of reptiles and amphibians. He attended Birmingham Southern College, where the late Professor Dan Holliman directed Charlie’ focus toward birds. Dr. Holliman took Charlie on his first Christmas Bird Count in 1991. Charlie has been hooked on birds ever since, conducting several Breeding Bird Surveys and taking part in many Christmas Bird Counts and International Migratory Bird Day counts.

Prior to moving to Georgia, Charlie taught Environmental Education and Citizen Science for 13 years. Most recently, he was Senior Naturalist at Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, where he had fun finding hellbenders and live-trapping black bears.

Sara Morris was one of Charlie’s first bird banding instructors, on a little island off Maine. Charlie has since assisted at banding stations in 10 states. In 2000, he began to manage his first station in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He co-designed and opened another station on the French Broad River in Tennessee in 2005. He now runs two year-round stations in Georgia and helps at others. Recent papers include “Preliminary Checklist of Odonata from Great Smoky Mountains National Park”, published in Southeastern Naturalist.

Charlie took over as the Coordinator of Georgia’s Important Bird Areas Conservation Program (IBA Program) in June, 2008. As coordinator, he provides Georgia’s 48 IBAs with management recommendations, volunteer help and guidance in the areas of monitoring and conservation. More on the IBA program can be found at www.atlantaaudubon.org/iba/

Presenter for:
• “Bird Banding in Georgia: Why and how we do it!”

Leader for:
• “Bird Banding Demonstration”
• Grasslands and Songbirds
• Dragonflies

Brandon Noel   Brandon Noel
Dr. Brandon L. Noel is a native of Georgia and has been conducting conservation based research for the past 13 years. He began his professional career as a marine biologist after receiving a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from the University of West Florida in 2000. Immediately after graduating, Brandon worked throughout the country in Florida, Texas, California, Washington, Alaska, and even outside the country in Indonesia before returning to Georgia in 2002 to work as a naturalist on Little St. Simons Island. In 2006, he earned a Master of Science in Biology from Georgia Southern University. Brandon studied the wintering ecology of the Piping Plover in coastal Georgia. After the announcement of the re-discovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, he moved to Arkansas to work on his dissertation focusing on the breeding ecology of Pileated Woodpeckers in bottomland forests with reference to the conservation of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. In 2011, he earned his PhD in Environmental Science from Arkansas State University. Brandon aspires to infect people with his passion for conservation. Currently, he is a temporary assistant professor at Georgia Southern University teaching Environmental Biology, Conservation Biology, Biological Principles I and II, and is very excited to be back in Georgia.

Presenter for:
• Factors Causing Nest Failures of Large Woodpeckers

Leader for:
• Bird Walk at Buck Shoals
• Beginner Bird Walk Around Unicoi Lake

Jim Ozier   Jim Ozier
D.N.R. Program Manager, Nongame Conservation Section

Jim Ozier has been a wildlife biologist with Georgia Department of Natural Resources for 23 years working mostly on rare and declining species and habitats. He is currently the Program Manager of the Forsyth office of the Nongame Conservation Section.

Presenter for:
• “Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon Conservation in Georgia”

Leader for:
• “Owl prowl”

Chuck Saleeby   Chuck Saleeby
Atlanta Audubon Society trip leader

Chuck Saleeby is a member of the Atlanta Audubon Society and the Georgia Ornithological Society as well as the American Birding Association. He has a BS in Biology and Minor in Marine Sciences from the University of North Carolina. He has been birding since 1993 as a hobby. Chuck has been leading trips since the late 90's all over Georgia, including Kennesaw Mounain. He is married and has 2 budding naturalist girls.

Leader for:
• Black Rock Mountain State Park, Warwoman Dell, Dillard
• Ivy Log Gap Road

Todd Schneider   Todd Schneider
D.N.R. Wildlife Biologist

Todd Schneider is a Wildlife Biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division, Nongame Conservation Section. He is a native of Wisconsin, and prior to moving to Georgia, worked for the Wisconsin D.N.R. for 8 years. Since 1993, he has served as the Georgia Breeding Bird Atlas Project coordinator, and since 1996, the state Breeding Bird Survey coordinator, and has been involved in many major state, regional, and national conservation initiatives.

Presenter for:
• Breeding Birds: An Overview of Range, Habitat, and Nesting Biology
• Georgia's Warblers: How to Identify These Winged Jewels

Leader for:
• Brawley Mountain
• Beginner Bird Walk at Unicoi

Georgann Schmalz   Georgann Schmalz
Birding Adventures, Inc.

Georgann Schmalz completed her Masters Degree in Zoology and Ornithology from Clemson University and began teaching at Fernbank Science Center in DeKalb County, Georgia, a career that lasted for 28.5 years. Her position included teaching ornithology, ecology and animal behavior to grades K-12; publishing numerous articles for the Fernbank Quarterly and The Oriole, the journal of the Georgia Ornithological Society; operating a MAPS banding station in Fernbank Forest; conducting schoolyard wildlife habitat workshops; and certifying backyard wildlife sanctuaries.

Georgann is a three time Past-President of the Atlanta Audubon Society, creating an Audubon Master Birder Program and an annual Wildlife Sanctuary Tour of gardens in the Atlanta area. In 2008, she received the Writer of the Year Award from the Atlanta Branch of The National League of American Pen Women, Inc. and in 2010 received the Earle R. Greene Memorial Award by the Georgia Ornithological Society for Achievement in Ornithology and Bird Education

Georgann currently conducts bird identification workshops in the southeastern United States for various state agencies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and The Longleaf Alliance and leads birding trips to Central and South America.

Presenter for:
• Hawk ID
• Birding By Ear

Leader for:
• Dawson Forest WMA Atlanta Tract

Gail Stewart / George Bradfield   Gail Stewart and George Bradfield
Thru Nature's Eyes Photography

Gail Stewart and George Bradfield are “Thru Nature's Eyes Photography”. Separately, they have been involved in photography for many years and both have been published and won awards for their work. Together, they travel, teach workshops, and have made presentations throughout the southeast. They work with the Georgia State Parks System and Callaway Gardens doing workshops and presentations on Nature Photography and Photographing the Garden.

Presenter for:
• Up Close and Personal With Nature
• Improving Your Bird Photography

Jim Wentworth   Jim Wentworth
U.S.F.S. Wildlife Biologist, Blue Ridge Ranger District

Jim began his career by earning a B.S. in Wildlife Management from the University of Massachusetts and a M.S. and PhD in Wildlife Management from the University of Georgia. He has 22 years of experience with the U.S. Forest Service including assignments in Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Georgia. Jim has worked as a biologist for the Chattahoochee National Forest since 1989, and is responsible for the wildlife, fisheries, threatened and endangered species, watershed restoration, and forest health programs on National Forest lands in Towns, Union, Fannin, Lumpkin, Dawson, and Gilmer Counties.

Presenter for:
• Ivy Log – Bird Walk plus Cerulean Management and Hemlock Management Discussions
• Brawley Mountain

E.J. Williams
E.J. and husband John on Cayman Brac conducting surveys for the Brac Parrot
  E.J. Williams
Migratory Bird Chief/Assistant Regional Director of the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Southeast Region

Emily Jo Williams serves as the Migratory Bird Chief/Assistant Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Southeast Region. She is responsible for programs including 6 Migratory Bird Habitat Joint Ventures; migratory bird permits such as taxidermy, eagle disturbance, and scientific study; implementing national and international bird conservation plans including Partners in Flight and the North American Waterfowl Management Plan; harvest regulations and supporting surveys in the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways; Avian Health and Disease Program; and outreach such as International Migratory Bird Day and Junior Duck Stamp contests. Prior to re-joining the USFWS in 2011, she served as the Executive Director of The Longleaf Alliance where she provided leadership, management, and technical expertise to accomplish the organization’s mission of restoring the longleaf pine ecosystem across it’s range.

From 2004-2009, EJ worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the Assistant Regional Director for Migratory Birds and State Programs in the Southeast and Mountain Prairie Regions. She worked for 14 years for the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division, first as a Regional Biologist in mountainous northeast Georgia and then as the state Partners in Flight Coordinator. Her accomplishments include contributing to the leadership of 8 Migratory Bird Habitat Joint Ventures; development of a swallow-tailed kite initiative that provided understanding and management recommendations needed to engage private landowners in recognition and conservation of the species; an international bird conservation partnership with the Cayman Islands that led to protection of key habitats for resident birds and wintering migrants; a statewide bird monitoring program; supporting state wildlife agencies through administration of grant programs and promotion of State Wildlife Action Plans; and protection and management of significant lands for wildlife conservation. EJ contributed to initial development of the Georgia SWAP and served as part of the National Advisory Acceptance Team that reviewed and recommended approval or improvement for all 56 SWAPs.

She holds a B.S. and Master’s degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Georgia, is a Certified Wildlife Biologist, a graduate of the National Conservation Leadership Institute, and a member of the Thrashers team for the All Women’s Birding Bust. EJ is married to John Murphy, a Detective with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department. Daughter, Jessica, is a Registered Nurse in the Emergency Room at the Medical College of Georgia Hospital in Augusta. EJ and John share their home and lives with Labrador retriever and hunting companion, Brac, German shepherd narcotics detection dog, Aska, and ever fun and entertaining Norwich terrier, Max.

Presenter for:
• State of the Birds Report
• Evening Speaker: “National Wildlife Refuge Birding”

Leader for:
• Suches, Cooper Creek WMA, etc.

Alan Young   Alan Young
Wildlife artist Alan R. Young is well known throughout the south for his birds of the Appalachian illustrations. His artistic objective, however, was not realized until age forty. Primarily self taught and facing the disadvantage of being partially colorblind, he overcame adversity to attain his success. Around that time, he was also an artist in search of signature work. Having moved his family from Atlanta to the North Georgia Mountains in 1994, he needed to look no further than out his back window, to the panorama of forest trees and mountain ranges of the Southern Appalachians. His very first encounter with the magnificent and striking Pileated Woodpecker was an actual turning point in this process. He would become a wildlife artist, specializing in birds, not only for the variety of species, but for his new-found love of nature. From 1994 to 1998, in his spare time while working for the State of Georgia, he built a portfolio of fifteen pen and ink sketches; primarily hawks and eagles. His first showing in the summer of 1998 was an instant success.

Since that time, Alan has won numerous fine art awards, with works in private and corporate collections from the United States to Europe; both prints and originals. Included are the New York, Ohio, and Georgia Audubon societies, Coke-Cola, Georgia Power, and others. He is now considered one of the top wild bird artists in the southeast, often featured in national and regional publications. But unlike other artists, Alan has chosen to remain independent, publishing and marketing his own work. Aside from the obvious control, the purpose was and remains to make originals, prints and cards affordable for everyone, not just a select few.

In 2001, Alan began to include color in his renderings. He also began dabbling in watercolor as his color vision began to improve. Soon he discovered that his ability to see a world with and without color could work to his advantage. His values first, color second approach helped create a softer, more natural effect to his paintings. Many of his collectors describe it as “looking the way nature should look”, compared to a more forced, sometimes superimposed look created by other artists. His technique is sometimes mistaken for pastel, when the correct application is dry-brush watercolor; yet another way he separates himself from other artists.

In 2004, Alan decided to make a full-time commitment to his art. He retired early from state employment, purchased a custom frame shop and began teaching more frequently. Among his loyal students, pen and ink remains his area of expertise.

Other noteworthy accomplishments include the creation of the North Georgia Wildlife Arts Festival, and the judging of various other art festivals and events, including the Junior Duck Stamp competition. Yet, art is only part of the motivation for Alan. Appreciation and concern for the environment are equally important to him. “To play a small part in our crusade to save our planet is reason enough to continue painting.”

Presenter for:
• Painting Birds in Watercolor - Drybrush

2012 BirdFest Footer


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