Aleutian Goose Festival, Spring Birding Festivals, Pacific Northwest Birding, Crescent City, California, Del Norte County
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Aleutian Goose Festival, Spring Birding Festivals, Pacific Northwest Birding, Crescent City, California, Del Norte County
  • Keynote - Professor Stephen C. Sillett, is the Kenneth L. Fisher Chair in Redwood Forest Ecology at Humboldt State University, and is recognized as the foremost expert on redwood trees. Sillett and his students changed the way scientists looked at redwood forests when they began climbing the trees and discovered crowns supporting a rich community of life. Sillett’s pioneering research and findings have been chronicled in scientific journals such as Nature, American Journal of Botany, Ecological Monographs, Ecological Applications, Bryologist, and Northwest Science. His work has also been profiled in books (e.g., Richard Preston’s The Wild Trees, Robert Van Pelt’s Forest Giants of the Pacific Coast), magazines (e.g., The New Yorker, Discover, New Scientist, and National Geographic), television (e.g., National Geographic’s Wild Chronicles, BBC’s Planet Earth, PBS’s Oregon Field Guide), and film (MacGillivray-Freeman’s Adventures in Wild California). In 2006, Sillett was named Humboldt State University’s Scholar of the Year.


  • Loren Bommelyn is recognized regionally and nationally as a Tolowa spiritual and political leader. The Tolowa Indians are the first people who once lived throughout Del Norte County. Loren serves on the Tribal Council of the Smith River Rancheria, and is a storyteller, basket-maker, and dance keeper. He has spent a lifetime resurrecting and documenting the Tolowa language, culture, and spiritual practices. He and his wife Lena have perfected the art of traditional basket making, and teach and perform Tolowa songs and ceremonial dance. Loren is the author of the book, Now You're Speaking Tolowa and co-author of Passing the Moon Through 13 Baskets, A seasonal Guide to the Natural Year and Native American Celebration of the Wild Redwood Coast. The Smithsonian consulted with Loren on the design of the new National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., which displays a large Tolowa collection. Recently Loren was chosen to sit on a nine member statewide panel to design California's new Indian Cultural Center and Museum. In 2002, Loren received the National Tradition Bearer Award from President George W. Bush, the highest honor of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Council on Traditional Arts in Washington, D.C. He is the youngest person to ever receive this award.

  • Clay Taylor, one of our festival major sponsors representing Swarovski Optik is a lifelong resident of Moodus, Connecticut, he started photographing birds in the 1970s. A founder of the Braddock Raptor Research Center in Rochester, NY, he has given lectures, led nature tours. banded raptors and passerines. He is past president of the Mattabeseck Chapter of Audubon and founding president of the Connecticut Butterfly Association. As the Naturalist Markets Field Coordinator for Swarovski Optik, he travels throughout the nation, attending bird festivals, meeting people, sharing the company's fine optics, as well as seeing and photographing great birds.

  • Alan Barron is Del Norte's leading ornithologist and record keeper of current and historical bird observations in the county. He is one of the original founders of the Aleutian Goose Festival, and has identified and recorded 420 species of birds in the county. For eight years, Alan's uncanny ability to find spring migrants has been instrumental in the success of our festival. He leads tours and conducted bird, butterfly, and amphibian studies and bio-surveys for a variety of state and national organizations. Alan co-authored Birds of Redwood National and State Parks and recently authored and illustrated the Birdfinding Guide to Del Norte County.

  • Ken Burton is a freelance wildlife biologist and our Festival's "Big Day" leader. He also operates his own professional bird guide service and has led birding and nature study trips for birding festivals, Audubon groups, Elderhostel, conventions, and individuals. Ken has worked and birded in many states and on every continent and has seen nearly 3,100 bird species. Ken heralds originally from Marin County, where he authored the Marin Audubon Society's Checklist of the Birds of Marin County. He is currently the field trip coordinator and President-Elect of Redwood Region Audubon Society and conducts bird programs and leads field seminars in both Humboldt and Del Norte counties.

  • Dominic Bachman is a graduate student in wildlife management at Humboldt State University. He works for the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge and has been conducting research and working on Aleutian goose management issues for the past four years. His is the primary author of the 2003, 2004, and 2005 status report on the goose for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The focus of Dominic's graduate thesis is the study of Aleutian goose habitat preferences.

  • Keith Bensen is a fishery and wildlife biologist for Redwood National and State Parks where he is primarily responsible for threatened and endangered species conservation. His previous work has included forest species management in the Warner Mountains of northeastern California, primate research in west central Africa, ecology lecturing while traveling through five countries, protected areas management and primate research on the Caribbean island of Grenada, condor research in southern California, Hawaiian honeycreeper research on the Big Island, and wildlife refuge management and research in southern Florida.

  • Gary Bloomfield is a regional artist and nature illustrator. His artwork and designs appear at the Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center, in American Birding Association publications, maps, brochures, exhibits, and on T-shirts. Gary's birding travels have taken him to Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Mexico.

  • Roger Brandt has lived in the region for 15 years where he develops interpretive programs about its natural and cultural history. He has served the last ten years as Chief of Interpretation for Oregon Caves National Monument where he coordinated cave tour operations, environmental education for school groups, and provides training on the region's geology, water ecology, and history. Roger has worked in the past for Redwood National and State Parks where he conducted kayaking tours on the Smith River, presented programs on its geology, and on the Crescent City 1964 tsunami.

  • Dan Burgess is Del Norte County's watershed coordinator for the Coastal Stream Habitat Improvement Program through California Department of Fish and Game. He has a degree in environmental biology and has worked for 15 years with anadromous fish on both public and private lands. Dan teaches Fish Habitat Restoration at the College of the Redwoods and does classroom egg incubation projects in local schools for public education and outreach.

  • Julie Caldwell, M.A. is an herbalist, flower essence practitioner, and owner of Humboldt Herbals in Old Town Eureka. She began practicing as a full-time herbalist in 1997, and has led numerous medicinal plant walks for people of all ages. She teaches courses on plant medicine through the extended education program at Humboldt State University, and is a frequent guest lecturer on the topic of Herbs and Stress.
Aleutian Goose Festival, Spring Birding Festivals, Pacific Northwest Birding, Crescent City, California, Del Norte County
  • Susan Barrett Davis combines her love of the natural world with a passion for local history. A 15-year resident of Crescent City, Susan is a trained educator and interpretive ranger for Redwood National and State Parks. Susan believes that making connections between the "every day" histories of the past and the present provides opportunities for better understanding of, and enriched confidence in the future, whatever it may hold.

  • Ashley Dayer is the Education & Outreach for Klamath Bird Observatory, a nonprofit that advances bird and habitat conservation in the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion. Klamath Bird Observatory also manages Klamath-Siskiyou eBird with the support of the USDA Forest Service Redwood Sciences Laboratory and the regional Audubon Society chapters. Ashley has led numerous interactive workshops and field trips throughout the region for a variety of audiences.
  • Brenda Devlin is the U.S. Forest Service district wildlife biologist for the Smith River National Recreation Area. She has monitored spotted owls for 10 years. Other threatened and endangered species survey work she has done includes marbled murrelet, northern goshawk, peregrine falcon, bald eagle, wolverine, fisher, marten, Del Norte salamander, and endemic mollusks on the Six Rivers National Forest.
  • Joe Gartland has led excursions throughout the Lake Earl Wildlife Area. A naturalist and avid birdwatcher for 25 years, he's spent more than 10 years living near California's largest coastal lagoon, Lake Earl, studying the flora and fauna. Traveling the lagoon throughout the seasons by canoe, Joe specializes in migratory patterns of the birds that annually visit the lake and its adjoining wetlands.
  • Joe Gillespie is and educator, naturalist, and avid fisherman who grew up in Del Norte County and has lived on the banks of Smith River for over two decades. Graduated from HSU with a degree in biology, he has been an inspirational and innovative teacher in local schools for 24 years. Joe serves on Del Norte County’s Resource Advisory Committee and is a founding member and president of the Friends of Del Norte, a local conservation organization which worked for the establishment of the Smith River National Recreation Area, the Siskiyou Wilderness, and the wild and scenic designation for the river. Joe has an intimate knowledge of the backcountry and has hiked every trail in the Smith River watershed at least once.  
  • Dick Goss has recently retired from California Department of Parks and Recreation. He spent 20 years as a state park ranger working on the Lake Earl Wildlife Area Project. Dick has researched the local pioneer and American Indian history of the region, and his knowledge of the flora and fauna of parklands, the wildlife areas, the Smith River delta, and Lake Earl Lagoon makes him a top resource and guide for this area.
  • Lani Hall is a marine mammologist and the executive director of the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center located on the Crescent City waterfront, which rescues and rehabilitates seals and sea lions. Since its inception in 1982, the center has successfully treated hundreds of sick, stranded and injured marine mammals and reintroduced them to their ocean home. Occasionally, if determined unable to survive in the ocean, non-releasable animals are placed in licensed aquariums to live out their lives in comfort and safety.

  • Pablo Herrera is a wildlife biologist and has spent the past five years surveying marbled murrelets for public agencies and private landholders. He worked as a naturalist for Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park and has an in-depth knowledge of the wildlife and natural history of an ancient redwood forest.

  • Rob Hewitt, owner of LBJ (Little Bird Jobs) Enterprises in Eureka, is a professional wildlife biologist. Past president of the Redwood Region Audubon Society and coordinator of Arcata's Godwit Days Festival, Rob and his LBJ crew will tackle just about anything that has to do with birds.

  • Rick Hiser is one of the original founders and coordinators of the Goose Festival. He has been a commercial and aerial photographer for over three decades with a degree in Parks & Recreation from Clemson University, South Carolina. Rick leads interpretive tours on redwood ecology and salmon spawning for Save the Redwoods League and Redwood National & State Parks. He also serves as the president of the North Coast Redwood Interpretive Association and as a docent for the St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society. Some of his spectacular images of the redwoods can be viewed in recent interpretive displays at Redwood National and State Parks' southern entrance Kuchel Information Center.

  • Terry Hofstra has worked for Redwood National Park since 1980 managing and participating in a wide variety of fish and wildlife research and resource management projects. A graduate of the University of Kansas and University of Texas at Dallas, he has also worked for the NPS's Denver Service Center and the Environmental Protection Agency. He is a co-author of the recently published Cougar Management Guidelines available at park visitor centers and online.

  • Gretchen Hoiness is a wildlife biologist and projects manager with LBJ Enterprises. Gretchen conducts spotted owl surveys and has been a certified marbled murrelet surveyor for the past four years in Humboldt County. This central Oregon native moved to Humboldt County in 1994, attended Humboldt State University, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in wildlife management.

  • Greg Holm has worked at Redwood National and State Parks for five years. Prior he worked for the Wyoming Fish & Game Department doing mountain lion and bear research and management. He holds a B.S. from Humboldt State University in wildlife management and a M.S. from the University of Wyoming in zoology.

  • Chris Howard has conducted research on the northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet, and Pacific salmon populations on local private timber land since 1994. He works as Wildlife Survey Coordinator for Green Diamond Resources and serves as president of the Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Del Norte Fish and Game Advisory Commission, Smith River Advisory Council, and Del Norte Advisory Committee. Chris graduated from the University of California at Davis with a B.S. in zoology.

  • Sandra Jerabek, M.S. is a local naturalist, advocate, and long-time lover of Lake Earl the West's largest coastal lagoon outside of Alaska. She has been kayaking on and studying the lagoon as a generalist for seven years. A founder of and steering committee member for the festival, she has developed nature and heritage tourism programs in Del Norte County for almost a decade. Sandra currently serves on the Point St. George Steering Committee and the U.S. Forest Service's Resource Advisory Council.
  • Andrea Jones is the director of California Audubon’s Important Bird Areas Program –She works from Morro Bay and has traveled tirelessly through California helping build ties with Audubon chapters.  Prior to coming to California, Andrea worked at Massachusetts Audubon from 1993 to 2006.  Most recently, she served as the Director of the Coastal Waterbird Program for the past 4 years, working on conservation and research of Piping Plovers and terns.  She also worked on a variety of avian conservation programs at Mass Audubon, including serving as a coordinator for the Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program. From 1994-2000, Andrea served as Coordinator for the Grassland Conservation Program, where she focused on regional monitoring and research, and developing conservation strategies and restoration projects with private landowners throughout New England.  She received her M.S. in Wildlife Conservation/Ornithology and her B.S. in Wildlife Biology and Management from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

  • Laura Julian works as a biological science technician for Redwood National & State Parks and the California Department of Parks & Recreation. She conducts rare and invasive plant surveys and restoration projects at Tolowa Dunes State, Gold Bluffs Beach, and the new Mill Creek addition to the park. Laura holds a B.S. degree in biological science from Humboldt State University and is currently doing her Master's thesis on the solitary bees and dune plant pollinators of Tolowa Dunes. Her past experience includes surveys for the Tahoe National Forest as well as Simpson Timber Company.

  • Larry Karsteadt, M.A. has nurtured life long interests in biology, natural history and medicine. His master's in biology from Humboldt State University focused on mammalogy, ecology and animal behavior. He has traveled as a student and guide to Ecuador, Central America, Australia, Alaska, Europe, Africa to learn more about the natural world. Ron leads local nature walks and is a casual but perpetual birder interested in all living things. Ron serves as the Executive Director of North Coast Emergency Medical Services, which coordinates emergency medical care in Del Norte, Humboldt and Lake Counties.
  • Terri Klemetson is an ornithology geek who fell in love with birds in Ecuador.  After traveling throughout South America with every penny possible, she returned to Humboldt County.  Terri’s first degree is interdisciplinary (biology, political science and language), lately supplemented at HSU with wildlife biology.  HSU Professor Mark Colwell inspired a curiosity concerning shorebirds, subsequently Terri surveyed the South Spit of Humboldt Bay for Mad River Biologists to monitor the breeding biology of the western snowy plovers.   Currently, Terri is working for Tolowa Dunes Stewards!  Inspiring others to investigate the Lake Earl/Tolowa Dunes ecosystem and steward the natural beauty of Del Norte county.   
  • Ron LeValley is an outstanding world-traveled wildlife and bird photographer, and founder and senior biologist of Mad River Biologists, a biological consulting and research firm specializing in birds, wildlife, and plants of special concern. Ron is best known for his identification and distribution of birds along the Pacific Coast. Besides authoring scientific publications, Ron is an associate editor of Western Birds. He currently serves on numerous wildlife conservation and management committees including the Aleutian Cackling Goose Working Group. He is also the California coordinator of the Pacific Coast Joint Ventures and treasurer of the Pacific Seabird Group. One of Ron's exceptional attributes is sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with others. His beautiful photographs are on view at the Festival's website's photo gallery and on his own website

  • Sean McAllister is a native of the North Coast and has been actively birding in the area for about 15 years. He works for Mad River Biologists as a wildlife biologist, specializing in threatened and endangered bird surveys. Sean has contributed many exciting finds to the list of rarities observed in our region. He leads field trips for bird festivals, the Audubon Society and the Siskiyou Field Institute.

  • Kevin McKernan is the Director of Yurok Tribal Environmental Programs. With a degree in natural resources management from Humboldt State University, he has worked on Tribal watershed and salmon restoration issues for the last decade on the North Coast. Kevin is responsible for developing comprehensive environmental programs for the tribe, which include everything from funding and staffing to interagency coordination, monitoring, and quality control. Some recent accomplishments include water quality monitoring on the Klamath River, researching sediment impacts to spawning fish, and cumulative watershed effects analysis for Tribal timber harvests.
  • Dr. Bob Mize has been teaching biology, environmental ethics, and chemistry at the College of the Redwoods Del Norte campus for 18 years. A gifted nature and wildlife photographer, Bob spends his summers near Yellowstone National Park whenever he can. Exploring and photographing the Lake Earl Coastal Lagoon and its environs has been Bob’s passion for decades. He also leads biology field trips for the college and regional conservation organizations.

  • Eric T. Nelson is the refuge manager for Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which includes Castle Rock National Wildlife Refuge. After completing his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Humboldt State University, Eric worked on refuges throughout the West.
  • Brit O’Brien serves as a USFS seabird biologist for the Redwood Sciences Laboratory. He spends summers surveying for marbled murrelets and other seabirds from a boat off the Pacific Coast. In 1992, he moved here from Maine to attend Humboldt State University, obtain a degree in wildlife management, and begin surveying for murrelets and spotted owls in old-growth redwood forests.
  • Chet Ogan works with Redwood Sciences Lab U.S. Forest Service based in Arcata. A graduate in biology from Humboldt State University in 1970, his career includes silviculture research projects at the USFS Redwood Experimental Forest near Requa, old-growth studies in Douglas-fir and redwood forests, and wildlife surveys for spotted owls, passerines, small mammals, and meso carnivores. Chet serves as a docent for the Arcata Marsh, is Conservation Chair and field trip leader for the Redwood Region Audubon Society.

  • Louise Bacon-Ogden recently sold and retired from her successful nature store Strictly for the Birds in Eureka. She continues to share her love of birds throughout the region by teaching classes in bird watching and the secrets to attracting wildlife to your garden.
Aleutian Goose Festival, Spring Birding Festivals, Pacific Northwest Birding, Crescent City, California, Del Norte County
  • Vicki Ozaki is a geologist for Redwood National and State Parks and has worked in the field of geology for more than 20 years. She has lead field geology seminars and kayak trips. Vicki is involved in tsunami and earthquake education and research and is a member of the Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group.

  • Debbie Savage serves as the supervisor for the North District Interpretive Division of Redwood National & State Parks. She has led a 25-year career with the National Park Service working at nine national parks. Debbie grew up learning about birds by identifying the feathered beauties that frequented her family's backyard feeders. Her interest in birdwatching grew when she worked in the Everglades in the 1980s. The impressive variety of water birds captured her attention and birdwatching became her favorite hobby.

  • Richard Sermon is the former California State Parks Superintendent for Redwood National and State Parks. He served as a park ranger with the California Department of Parks and Recreation in multiple capacities and at different parklands for over 25 years before retiring. His efforts include the coordination of diverse programs and partnerships with multi-agencies and local, state, and federal governmental bodies that led to the development of policies, funding, interpretation, and protection for the conservation and management of the public's natural, cultural, and historic resources.

  • Craig Strong has devoted his career to conducting studies and monitoring populations of coastal wildlife species. His work has taken him from the Olympic Peninsula to Antarctica. Craig owns and operates Crescent Coastal Research, a wildlife consulting business based in Crescent City. Craig serves as a member of the Festival's steering committee, and also as an instructor of oceanography and marine mammal science courses at the College of the Redwoods.

  • James Wheeler has worked as a park ranger at Redwood National and State Parks for 20 years. He received a bachelor's degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a master's degree in Environmental Education from Humboldt State University in Arcata. Acting as a liaison for the parks with the Yurok and Tolowa Indian tribes of northwestern California, Jim has gained insight into native American traditional stories now recognized as oral histories of the last significant Cascadia Subduction event. Following the 1992 earthquake in Humboldt County, CA, Jim began a series of campfire talks in park campgrounds to emphasize the potential hazards of the next large earthquake and tsunami.

  • Wendell Wood is a wildlife biologist and botanist, Wendell began exploring the Lake Earl/Tolowa area thirty-five years ago as part of his course work at Humboldt State University--where he graduated with degrees in Biology and Wildlife Management in 1973.   Wendell has since spent most of his adult life familiarizing himself with (and sharing his enthusiasm with others) on the northwest's flora and fauna.  Originally, a high school biology teach in southern Oregon, since 1981 Wendell has worked as a Wildland's Advocate and Naturalist for Oregon Wild (formerly the Oregon Natural Resources Council)  He has regularly lead natural history trips throughout Oregon and northern California, and also authored a "Walking Guide to Oregon Ancient Forests".  Wendell also leads outdoor trips in the Redwood Region and Klamath/Siskiyous for the Siskiyou Field Institute, and has produced 3 photo CDs for the Northwest Redwood Interpretive Association of flowering plants, mushrooms and marine life along the immediate northern coast of California.  Among his other conservation and advocacy projects for Oregon Wild in the Klamath Basin, Wendell also works part-time on conservation projects in California for the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) based in Humboldt Co.
Aleutian Goose Festival, Spring Birding Festivals, Pacific Northwest Birding, Crescent City, California, Del Norte County
Aleutian Goose Festival, Spring Birding Festivals, Pacific Northwest Birding, Crescent City, California, Del Norte County
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