Christina Baal (Drawing 10,00 Birds)
Christina Baal is a wandering bird artist whose life dream is to see and paint 10,000 species of birds. Since graduating from Bard College in 2014, she has wandered the world meeting incredible places, birds, and people. As an artist, she loves looking at birds for their colorful personalities and loves to encourage others to do so as well. Aside from her work as an artist, Christina works as an environmental educator, bird guide, and art teacher. She currently lives in Hoonah, Alaska. You can see her paintings and follow her adventures on her website, Drawing 10,000 Birds.
Nicole Broquet (Marine Resources Council)
Nicole is the Environmental Education Coordinator at the Marine Resources Council. She was born and raised in Alaska but fled the cold to California for her B.S. in Biology. There she discovered her passion for sustainability and environmental education. After graduation, she moved to Texas to pursue her M.S. in Fisheries and Aquaculture. Nicole then served in the Philippines for two-years as a Coastal Resource Management Specialist for the Peace Corps. In 2019, she moved to Florida and joined the MRC team. Here, Nicole works with schools and community groups to raise awareness about the issues of the Indian River Lagoon and the MRC’s restoration efforts. Nicole also loves being outdoors and spending as much time as possible in the ocean.
Ken Burgener (Carefree Birding)
Ken has worked with the National Audubon Society, as well as the Florida Audubon Society in their educational department. He served over 5 years as a board member of the Broward County Audubon Society. For over fifteen years, Ken has taught beginning birding to kids through seniors. He has taken thousands of people birding in the Florida Everglades. He calls himself an “entertaining environmental educator”. Ken and his wife Linda have run over 25 groups off cruise ships. Some of our groups include: ABA, Tampa Audubon, Tropical Audubon, Columbus Audubon and other groups.
Shem Compion (C4 Photo Safaris)
Shem is the founder and owner of C4 Photo Safaris. Shem’s intricate knowledge of a variety of photographic subjects is his greatest photographic asset. He uses his familiarity of travel in Africa, its wildlife and fantastic photographic locations to provide outstanding photographic tour experiences. One of South Africa’s top wildlife photographers, Shem’s work is regularly printed worldwide in magazines, calendars and books. He has published 7 books: an indication of how much he enjoys sharing the love of the photographic medium with clients.
Paddy Cunningham (Birding Adventures)
Paddy has been a Florida Naturalist for 35 years. Her motto is You Learn the I.D., and her passion is helping birders gain advanced skills during birding festivals and classes. She is Coordinator of the Everglades Birding Festival and new Birding Festival of the Keys. In 2008, she was 1st in Florida and 27th in the ABA area during a Big Year. For Audubon, she is CBC compiler and Field Trip Coordinator.
Gunnar Engblom (Kolibri Expeditions)
Gunnar is a Swedish birder/biologist who has lived in Peru since 1998, where he operates birdwatching and nature tour outfitter Kolibri Expeditions. He is popular guide, both for hard-core birding groups, as well as for groups who combine photography, nature and/or culture. He is also a keen runner and ran in the Miami Marathon last year while visiting the Space Coast Birding Festival. Gunnar also sings and writes Swedish punk/eco-rock songs with humor and ironic twists for the band Guran Guran.
Joao Jara (Birds & Nature Tours Portugal)
With more than 30 years of field experience, João has extensive knowledge about birding in Portugal. He was a member of the board of Birdlife Portugal, a voting member of the PRC (Portuguese Rarities Committee) from 2005–2011, and chairman of the PRC from 2007–2011. Author and co-author of articles about birds, João has led many field tours in Portugal and abroad, as well as bird identification courses for Birdlife Portugal and for his own birding tours company, Birds & Nature Tours Portugal, which he launched in 2008. Besides birds, he has an active special interest in amphibians, reptiles, and fishes. João is fluent in English, French, and Spanish.
James L. Kimball, II (Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge)
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Jim’s love of nature grew as his family explored the outdoors – camping or staying in “shacks”, along the Gulf Coast from Florida to Mexico, across the hill country and highland plains of Texas, and on to the Rocky Mountains. After graduating from the University of Texas, he went to work for ten grueling years, as a sales and marketing specialist for a Houston based petrochemical company. In 1999, Jim packed it all up, and moved with his partners to the Wild Wild West of Panama to immerse himself in the rainforest and create Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge. He has spent the last 19 years onsite raising a family, operating the business alongside his team, wildlife guiding and twitching at anything that moves.
Nancy and Dan Kon (Imagine Our Florida)
Nancy and Dan are Founders and Directors of Imagine Our Florida, Inc. (IOF) – a non-profit organization focused on science-based education to teach people of all ages how to connect, respect, and coexist with Florida wildlife and within our shared ecosystems. Under their leadership, IOF and its many volunteers participate in outreach events throughout the state. They become business partners with Seminole County Schools and the Orlando Science Center and have a vibrant social media presence. Together with IOF volunteers throughout the state, Nancy and Dan are educating and empowering the people of Florida to become a voice for our wildlife and to advocate for environmental stewardship.
Erin Lehnert (M.Sc. Ornithology)
Erin got her master’s degree in ornithology from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she studied rails. Her passion for birds has driven her to travel across North America while working, and she currently works as a biologist for Tongass National Forest in Alaska. Erin wants to protect the wild areas of the world, and hopes that through research and science she can contribute to conservation practices for birds and all other wildlife. Erin hopes that by sharing enthusiasm for the natural world, those that she encounters will also find a love for nature and the world around them.
Christina Majdalani (Beaumont Convention and Visitor’s Bureau)
Christina is the Director of Tourism for the Beaumont Convention and Visitors Bureau. She is focused on tourism development and programs centered around nature tourism, culinary tourism and seasonal promotions. Christina is charged with working to strengthen partnerships with hospitality partners and is a vital part of the CVB Marketing Team working to expand content marketing, communications and further the Beaumont Destination Training Program. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.
Giovani Ortiz (Icaro Birding Tours)
Giovani Ortiz is a Colombian outdoors enthusiast who fell in love with birding while living in the US. After joining the local bird club in New Orleans almost by accident, Giovani learned about the huge potential for ecotourism in his home country and started organizing tours for local birding friends. After successfully completing 5 birding tours to Colombia, the passion and determination to get Colombia into the spotlight for its unparalleled natural beauty are stronger than ever. Giovani holds a degree in Industrial Engineering and an MBA. He worked for three years in Michigan supporting the local startup community before founding Icaro Birding Tours in 2017.
Barry Rossheim (Holbrook Travel / Selva Verde Lodge & Private Reserve)
Barry Rossheim is an avid birder and amateur wildlife photographer. He has been teaching zoology since 1980, and is currently teaching at Venice High School in Venice, Florida. Barry was awarded the Sarasota County Environmental Educator of the Year in 2007. Barry has led birding groups to Costa Rica, Cuba, Colombia, Guyana, Ecuador, Tanzania, and the Galapagos Islands using Holbrook Travel.
Vicki Santello (Vicki Santello Photography)
Vicki is a Florida based photographer who has kayaked, hiked and biked extensively in Florida for more than thirty years. She now also travels worldwide and is closely associated with C4 Photo Safaris. Her photography is exhibited in various galleries and museums including The Harn Museum of Art, Florida and Iziko Museum, Cape Town, South Africa. Some of her awards include, winner Nature’s Best Photography Africa Competition 2018 Wild Cat Behavioral Category, winner Florida Wildlife Federation 2016 Waterscape Category and multiple National Geographic and North American Nature Photography Association recognitions.
Megan Stolen (Hubbs Sea World Research Institute)
Megan began working for the Hubbs Sea World Research Institute in 1999 after graduating from the University of Central Florida with a Master’s in Biology. An expert in marine mammalogy, her position at HSWRI allows her to work as a biologist in the field as well as spend time at the bench in the HSWRI Life History Laboratory. Together with HSWRI biologists Wendy Noke Durden and Teresa Mazza, she has rescued and released dozens of injured or at-risk dolphins and determined the cause of death for hundreds of stranded cetaceans including baleen whales. She is recognized as an expert in her field and now teaches at workshops throughout the U.S.
Simon Thompson (Ventures Birding Tours)
Originally from Suffolk, England, Simon has lived in North Carolina for the last 20 years. Prior to moving to the United States, he lived in Lebanon, Kenya, Yemen, and Ghana, where his interest in birds and natural history began. In addition to traveling extensively in the U.S., Simon spent six months in China studying the crane and birds of prey migration as a member of the British “China Crane Watch” expedition. He is on the board of the Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society in Asheville, NC. As owner and operator of Ventures Birding Tours, Simon has led many birding trips all over the world.
Brian Zwiebel (Sabrewing Nature Tours)
Brian began his journey with birds by enrolling in an Ornithology class at Hocking College in 1993. Six years later he began photographing the subjects he had come to know so well. Warblers are among Brian’s favorite subjects. He spends much of his free time in May photographing warblers at northern Ohio’s Magee Marsh Wildlife Area. His work has been prominently displayed in exhibits throughout Ohio and more than thirty of his songbird images were featured at the National Center for Nature Photography in Toledo, OH. Brian’s award-winning photography has been internationally published in books and magazines including Birder’s World, Bird Watching, Bird Watcher’s Digest and the American Birding Association’s magazine Birding.