2019 Speakers and Workshop Leaders
Kerryn Morrison has been involved with crane conservation since she conducted her master’s research on cranes in the Dullstroom area of South Africa in 1995. Kerryn joined the Endangered Wildlife Trust, a South African based NGO in 1995, and in 2005 became the leader of the newly established International Crane Foundation (ICF) / Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) Partnership’s African Crane Conservation Program. This partnership ideally brought together crane expertise and conservation knowledge from around the world, grounded within the African context. Kerryn is now ICF’s VP International: Director of Africa and the EWT’s Senior Manager: Africa. She oversees a team spread across the key crane sites across Sub-Saharan Africa, all in an effort to secure Africa’s four resident, threatened crane species – Blue, Grey Crowned, Black Crowned and Wattled Cranes. Passionate about cranes, wetlands and people, Kerryn drives an approach that includes multiple stakeholders in an integrated approach to conservation that benefits both cranes and people on the same land.
Julie Zickefoose started off as an illustrator of natural history subjects as a college freshman in 1976. A six-year stint as a field biologist with The Nature Conservancy’s Connecticut Chapter proved a strong motivator both to learn more about ecosystems and to go back to drawing. Along the way, she began to write her own essays, studded with observations of birds and animals, and writing slowly crept into the forefront of her interests. She has been a Contributing Editor to Bird Watcher’s Digest since 1986 and has painted 27 covers for the magazine. From 2005-2010 Julie had a five-year run contributing commentaries to National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, telling stories of bird-eating bullfrogs and orphaned hummingbirds. She has authored five books: Natural Gardening for Birds, Letters from Eden, The Bluebird Effect, and Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest and most recently, Saving Jemima: Life and Love With a Hard-Luck Jay, the intimate story of how an orphaned bird can save a soul. Julie lives and works quietly on an 80-acre wildlife sanctuary in the back country of Whipple, Ohio.
John Azua has been the Curator of Birds at the Denver Zoological Gardens for over 20 years and works with a great staff managing and caring for 120 species and 499 birds. He currently is the Hamerkop SSP coordinator and steering committee member of Gruiformes, Coraciiformes, Ciconiiformes, & PaCCT TAGs. He worked previously at the San Diego Zoo’s Bird Department and Avian Propagation Center for 7 ½ years and the San Diego Zoo’s Safari (Wild Animal) Park for 5 ½ years. During his career he has been fortunate to participate in several conservation recovery programs or field research projects, involved with such species as San Clemente Island Loggerhead Shrike, Ultramarine Lory, Lilac-crowned Amazon, Cinereous Vulture, Lesser Kestrel and other Asian raptors.
Chip Clouse is the Manager of the new Front Range Birding Company location in Boulder after managing their Littleton store for 4 years. He is a long-time birder, biologist, tour leader and environmental educator. With 20 years of bird research and project management experience in 9 states and the Caribbean nation of Grenada, a Masters in Conservation Biology from Colorado State, 5 years with the American Birding Association, 3 years as an optics rep, and stints guiding at 15+ different US birding festivals and for Reefs to Rockies tour company, Chip is excited to share his love of birds and good optics in his program, “Optics 101 – Choosing the best binocular for you.”
Chuck Cooper, Chief Executive Officer, Crane Trust was born in Hartington, Nebraska and attended Wayne State College where he received a BS in Business. After a successful career in the “for profit” world he accepted a position as Executive Director at a non-profit in Omaha Nebraska. In 2007 he successfully bid and brought the 2010 Special Olympics National Games to Lincoln, Nebraska. When the games were completed he accepted the position of President/CEO of the Crane Trust, an organization that was struggling for funding and for attaining its mission to create, protect, and manage habitat for Cranes (Whooping and Sandhill) along with other migratory birds. The Crane Trust is now a leader in the creation and protection of habitat and is a prime viewing location for experiencing crane migration. It maintains VIP heated blinds and cottages where guests stay only a few hundred yards from the largest crane roost in the world.
Ted Floyd is the Editor of Birding magazine, the flagship publication of the American Birding Association. He has written more than 200 scientific papers and popular articles on birds and other aspects of nature. He is also the author of five books, including the ABA Field Guide to Birds of Colorado. Ted’s newest book, How to Know the Birds: The Art and Adventure of Birding was published by National Geographic in early 2019 and will be the focus of one of his presentations during this year’s festival. Ted has served on the boards of several nonprofits, and he is a frequent speaker at bird festivals and other birding events. He’s been all over the world, and he considers the Yampa Valley to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Ted and his wife Kei live in Boulder County, Colorado, with their children Hannah and Andrew.
Hi, my name is Andrew Floyd. I am 12 years old, I live in Lafayette, Colorado, and I go to the Nevin Platt Choice Program for Middle School. I have learned so much about nature from schools in Boulder County. I am thrilled to be part of the 2019 Yampa Valley Crane Festival! I will be assisting my dad, Ted Floyd, during his talks and walks at the festival. I am especially excited to help lead the walk at the Yampa River Botanic Park that will highlight the marvelous hummingbirds and equally marvelous hummingbird moths.
Although Chinese by heritage, Pam Liu considers herself a product of international travels. By the age of 18, she had lived in Taiwan (10 years), Thailand (3 years), Sierra Leone, West Africa (3 years), and the US. This wonderfully unique opportunity not only instilled in her a sense of curiosity and appreciation for all cultures, but also allowed her to hone her observational skills as she compares and contrasts cultural groups of the world. Pam’s training in mathematics and her work as an artist, a landscape architect/ecologist, and an educator has enhanced the way in which she sees and understands the unique connections of people and their environment. This year she is thrilled to be given an opportunity to share her discovery on the cultural expressions from Africa that demonstrate a deep respect for our feathered friends.
Erv Nichols and Sandra Noll travel extensively sharing their skills as naturalists, photographers, lecturers and interpretive guides in a wide variety of Fish and Wildlife Refuges, National Parks, Audubon Centers and other conservation areas. They have a special connection with Sandhill Cranes and have been featured speakers and guides at Festivals in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Nebraska. Recently they’ve been featured in a video, “Migrating With the Sandhill Cranes” by Mother Nature Network. Click here to view this beautiful video. Whether from a viewing deck, lecture hall or leading bird walks, their passion connects people with our nation’s special landscapes and wildlife.
Kin Quitugua, a master falconer and long time environmental educator, founded HawkQuest in 1986. He has trained, handled and flown birds of prey as diverse as the Bald and Golden eagles and the Saw-whet owl. For more than 25 years, Kin has dedicated himself to educating the public about the place of raptors in our ecology. Kin created HawkQuest believing environmental awareness is a key to the survival of the world as we know it, and education – of our nation’s youth in particular – is paramount to this process. He has received national recognition for his work combining educational and ecological concerns, having appeared on both local and national television programs. Kin also serves as a consultant to organizations which promote the welfare of birds of prey. For more information, please visit www.hawkquest.org.
Julie Arington grew up with bird-watching parents in rural Southern Illinois. She studied Wildlife Biology and received a B.S. in Biology from Murray State University. After several field research assistant positions all over the country, Julie was hired as a park ranger by Colorado State Parks (now Colorado Parks and Wildlife) in 1999. She has been the Park Manager at Steamboat Lake and Pearl Lake State Parks since 2006 where she manages people, recreation, facilities, and the natural resources of the Parks.
Ellen Bonnifield’s insatiable curiosity has taken her in many directions. A degree in library science allowed her to use her chemistry and math background while exploring new areas in a variety of library settings. An “accidental” career in teaching took her from preschool story hour to university teaching. As Ellen and her husband collaborated on writing about the twentieth century American west, Ellen considered herself the “research” partner but found that she did much of the editing. Several years ago she started writing poetry about nature and her experiences as a “Ditch Rider.” Currently, she co-authors with her husband a monthly local history column for the Valley Voice. Combining her love of nature, her curiosity, her experience teaching, and her desire to share the excitement of life with others now leads her to facilitate nature-writing workshops.
Marianne Capra is a freelance natural and cultural historian who grew up amidst the creeks and cornfields of Iowa and has since spent her adulthood in beautiful places in the West. For over a decade, Marianne was an interpreter in parks such as Yosemite, Point Reyes National Seashore and Olympic National Park; then she obtained an M.S. at the University of Montana as a grizzly bear researcher. Love ended her career in parks and lured her to the Yampa Valley where she now specializes in the local landscape and its hiSTORIES.
Liz Leipold, MS OTR, RYT, works as an Occupational Therapist, Yoga Teacher and Ski Instructor in Steamboat Springs. Liz is certified with Shambhava Yoga, Yoga Kids International, and Yoga Nidra. Liz believes yoga is a continuous journey that relaxes the mind and heals and strengthens the body. Come join Liz in an interactive Yoga class focusing on the life, culture and body language dance of our beautiful Sandhill Cranes.
Tresa and David Moulton moved to Colorado in 2004 after retiring from careers in the Washington, D.C. area. Upon arriving in Steamboat Springs, CO they immediately took up birding as a major hobby. They have become regular participants in the Yampa Valley Birding Club including leading numerous walks for the club and other organizations. David and Tresa are interested in all wildlife and enjoy the many creatures in the Northwest Colorado area. David is a storyteller and has given interpretive presentations about Pelicans at Stagecoach State Park.
Jason Achcar-Szyba is a naturalist with a special obsession for birds. A scout for the Yampa Valley Crane Festival since 2015, Jason hails from the Midwest’s finest – Wisconsin – but has called the Yampa Valley home since 1994. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Points Natural Resource Program, Jason began his career with the U.S. Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife twenty years ago, conducting numerous bird surveys, including the 2012 Bird Atlas, in association with the former Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory. Jason is grateful to call the Yampa Valley home and to share his knowledge and passion of the natural world. Between counting grouse in the spring, and Cranes in the fall, Jason goes mushroom hunting, soaks in hot springs, and drums to the beat of his own heart.
Karen Vail received a B.S. in Horticulture, with a concentration in Botany from Colorado State University, and earned her Master’s Degree in Gardening from the Royal Horticultural Society in England. She taught Botany at the community college in Steamboat Springs and introduced people to local wildflowers through summer wildflower walks. She has published two books, For the Joy of Wildflowers: Colorado Creations, and Yampa Valley Visions: Photography and Writing of a Yampa Valley Naturalist. She also co-published the video/DVD A Season of Wildflowers: The Rocky Mountains. Karen runs her own landscaping business and continues to be active in education through Yampatika, a local environmental education organization. She will be leading the Saturday nature walk during the festival.
Cindy Wither is a retired art teacher, having taught many forms of art to all ages in Idaho, Colorado, Germany and Zambia. She has a lifetime interest in birds and, when living in Zambia, was a member of the Zambian Ornithological Society, going on many wonderful bird walks. Currently she is a watercolor artist painting both in the studio and outside painting Plein Air watercolors year around. She has worked with all ages teaching them drawing and painting outdoors – helping to see, not just look, as they are drawing and painting. She loves to see the results as someone says “oh I never realized all the shapes, details and colors that are in that flower”. Cindy will be assisting Ellen Bonnifield in the nature writing workshop at this year’s festival.
Please visit our photo gallery for more photos of current and past festival speakers and workshop leaders.
Spirit Wind Aerial Arts dancers, led by local aerialist Heidi Miller, will perform elegant high-flying dance in the hammock and silks, suspended high over the Library Lawn.
Yer State Birds – Southern Rock meets Rocky Mountain High. This popular local group is comprised of J.R. Adams on guitar and lead vocals, John Miller on keyboards and vocals, Jeff Goodhand on bass and vocals, and Ryan Fanders on drums.