2019 summer festival July 31- Aug 3

free programs

Go to Presenter Bios

Free Programs

 

All of these programs are absolutely free and open to everyone. No registration is required. We hope that many people will attend and learn about this amazing place, southeastern Arizona. Some lectures are associated with field trips, for which there is a registration fee and a charge. Please see the Field Trip Section for details. Several Free Programs have a carpool system where participants use their own transportation. All programs will be held at Cochise College Library. Please make some time to see these free events.

 

These Free Programs are brought to you by a grant from the AZGFD Heritage Fund, which is also used to recover threatened and endangered species, acquire environmentally sensitive lands, help urban residents appreciate and coexist with wildlife, educate children about the environment, and create new opportunities for outdoor recreation.

 
Wednesday, JULY 31, 2019
All Presentations held in the Horace Steele Room unless noted otherwise.
Wed. 12:00-1:30
Down the Rabbit Hole: Arachnids in an Arizona Wonderland. - Jillian Cowles
 
It all starts innocently enough. You are out on a walk, looking for birds, butterflies, and wildflowers. A green lynx spider or a crab spider insinuates itself into your photos of wildflowers. Before you know it, you are down the rabbit hole into a whole new world of fantastic and beautiful creatures, the arachnids. Meet some of these small neighbors: the jumping spiders, lynx spiders, orb weavers, crab spiders, mites and others that inhabit the wonderland that we call southern Arizona.

 

Wed. 1:30-3:00 

Glyptodonts in Our Backyard: “The Tanks of the Mammal World” -Glenn Minuth

The Glyptodont (now extinct) was a large, armored mammal and a relative of armadillos that lived during the Pleistocene epoch in parts of southeast Arizona. It was nearly same size and weight as a Volkswagen Beetle.  We will examine its fossil discovery, evolution, habitat, anatomy, feeding habits and extinction and find out why Safford Arizona is the Glyptodont capital of the world. And why this animal is an example of convergent evolution.

 

 Wed.  3:00-4:30 

Horace Steele Room

The Path of the Northern Jaguar: The People and Places. -   Sergio Avila


Where are the places where jaguars have lived in the northernmost portion of their Continental range? Who are the people who share those spaces with these majestic big cats? 
During this talk, Wildlife Biologist Sergio Avila will take us through a trip in time to the places northern jaguars roam around the Mexico-US Borderlands, and the people who have shared their space and time with them. Avila will describe some basic differences and similarities in conservation efforts in Mexico and the US, while highlighting the people whose daily lives connect them with jaguars and all wildlife in the region - the people who don’t get paid for conservation work, not seen in conferences or published in science literature. Through storytelling and photographs from both sides of the border, Sergio will give a voice to the voiceless and tell a story about conservation success beyond mainstream conservation groups or government agencies. 

 Wed. 4:30 - 6:00 pm

Horace Steele Room

The ABCs of Birding Optics. - Eric Moore
Confused by optics jargon such as eye-relief, exit-pupil, interpupillary distance, objective lens, field of view and color fidelity? Want to know what those numbers mean on a pair of binocular, such as 8x42, 10x42? Eric Moore will lead a discussion on optical equipment covering both binoculars and spotting scopes designed for birders. This will be a hands-on class where you will have the opportunity to try out different models of Vortex and Swarovski Optiks products. 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

 

Thurs. 7:00-9:00

 

Room 900 

Focus on Optics Bird Walk  - Eric Moore

Eric is the owner of Jay's Bird Barn and Arizona Field Optics, will lead a guided bird walk on the Cochise College campus and in the surrounding desert. This bird walk will focus (no pun intended) on the basics of optical equipment designed to enhance a bird watchers experience in the field. Loaner pairs of both Vortex and Swarovski binoculars and spotting scopes will be available for participants to use at no charge. The bird walk will include a demonstration and instruction on digi-scoping--taking digital pictures using the latest spotting scope technology. 

 

Thurs 9:00-10:30

Horace Steele Room

 Raptor Identification - Stephen Vaughan


Raptor identification can be challenging for most people but it doesn’t need to be. By following some simple steps most birds of prey can be quickly identified. Steve has been studying raptors for mort than 30 years and has developed a tried and true method for separating these different birds. He will share his tips with photographs to give you the knowledge you need to be more successful next time you find one of these magnificent raptors.


 Thurs. 10:30-12:00 

Horace Steele Room

 Not Seeing One Doesn't Mean One Hasn't Seen You  - Mark Hart

Elusive and stealthy, up to 500 mountain lions may call southeast Arizona home, in part because of abundant deer and javelina populations here. The Arizona Game and Fish Department in Tucson fields 80 to 100 annually about mountain lions. Yet the vast majority are just sightings, and often cases of mistaken identity between a mountain lion and bobcat. In addition, despite mere mention of a mountain lion striking fear into the hearts of many, you are twice as likely to be attacked by a bear as a mountain lion in Arizona. Indeed, there has never been a fatal mountain lion attack recorded in Arizona. This presentation will examine how to distinguish a mountain lion, from other species, read its body language, and deter it if the encounter is too close or menacing. In addition, it will attempt to right size popular misconceptions about this iconic and beautiful creature.

 Thurs. 12:00-1:30

 Beginner's Guide to Identifying Hummingbirds. -Charles W Melton
This program is for hummingbird enthusiasts interested in learning how to identify the hummingbird species in this area. Identifying field marks will be discussed for each species along with male and female differences, seasonal changes, and habitat preferences. Also presented will be situations which may make identifications more difficult including molting, abnormal coloration (leucism, albinism), and hybridization. Our skills will be put to the test with a carpool field trip to a nearby hummingbird viewing location on private property. The field trip will occur on Sat. Aug. 3, from 8-10am. The number of field trip participants is limited to 12. It is not necessary to participate in the field trip to attend this lecture program.

 

Thurs. 1:30-3:00  

Horace Steele Room

Videography in the Borderlands  - Mike Foster


Mike Foster is a well established producer of educational travelogue videos for environmental NGOs and National Parks in the US and Mexico. Mike will be showing his most recent work from deep within the Sierra Madres and will be revealing the process he goes through including, accessing remote areas, interacting with unique cultures and telling the interesting stories. These videos are similar to but more intimate than desert shows seen on PBS. Come and learn about the flora, fauna and people of this region as well as producing videos about them. Mike has funded almost all of the 250 plus videos in his San Pedro River Educational Series and Treasure of the Sierra Madres FaceBook page. The passion of Mike's adventures will clearly come through in this engaging presentation.

Thurs. 3:00 - 4:30

Horace Steele Room

The Archaeology of Cochise County-Rebecca Orozco
Explore the long presence of people in Cochise County, from the hunters of extinct mammals like the mammoths, to the early farmers who lived along the San Pedro and the Chiricahua Apache who later called this their homeland. Lecture presentation will be followed by a visit to Cochise College's archaeology display.

 

Friday August 2

 

 

Fri. 7:30-9:00 

Outside Room 900

Introduction to Birdwatching- Kathe Anderson

Meet Kathe Anderson outside Room 900 and enjoy a stroll around campus.  Kathe will introduce you to the many bird species that make Cochise College home.

 Fri. 9:00-12:00

Room 900 

Sonora: Origin of Many Species and Home of many Indigenous Peoples w/ carpool field trip. - Mike Foster


The San Pedro River Valley and surrounding sky island mountain ranges such as the Huachucas mark the northern limit of many plants and animals from the subtropical Sierra Madre Mountains and Sonoran Desert to the south. Mike Foster will present videos on many of these interesting species and discuss where in Cochise County they can be found. The video also considers the ethnobotany of the greater Sierra Madres. The presentation will be followed by a hike concentrating on local edible and useful plants in the healthy madrean evergreen woodland surrounding the Carr House Information Center in the Huachuca Mountains. Samples of these foods will also be available. The Carr House is a good place to see many bird species and observe some of Arizona's southern most plant communities. 

 

 Fri 9:00-10:30

Horace Steele Room

Beetles of Arizona - Margarethe Brummermann

Beetles are the most species-rich order of living beings. There are more beetles than plants or vertebrates or birds. Arizona, together with Texas and California, has the largest diversity of beetle species in the United States. My talk will introduce anatomy, systematics, and biology of this important group.

 

Fri. 10:30-12:00  

Horace Steele Room

Butterflies for Birders - Priscilla Brodkin


Add a new dimension to your field trip experience with ID’s of the endemic Arizona Sister, the bright yellow Two-tailed Swallowtail and the lustrous blue Spring Azure. This program is a MUST SEE for birding, butterfly and dragonfly field trips. Join Priscilla Brodkin, (co-author with Bob Stewart and Hank Brodkin of the book, Butterflies of Arizona-A Photographic Guide) for a PowerPoint adventure into the realm of Arizona’s butterflies. You can use your birding skills to
observe and ID butterflies, butterflies’ defense mechanisms, food and nectar plants, and some basic butterfly gardening will also be discussed.

 

 

 Fri  12:00-1:30 

Horace Steele Room

Southeast Arizona Specialty Species or SE AZ Specialties - Kathe Anderson

 

The Elegant Trojan, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Sulfur-bellied Flycatcher and Mexican Chickadee—these and other species sought by avid birders—are found in the United States either solely or most reliably in Southeast Arizona. This presentation features 10 birds, rare to most Americans, along with a bit of their back-story, unique features and habitats, to help understand why birders prize finding these species.

 

Fri. 1:30-3:00 

Horace Steele Room

The Exciting Night Life of Bats! - Karen Krebbs 

Karen has studied bats for more than 30 years. Learn about this exciting and unique nocturnal mammal and how it is so successful as a predator and pollinator. There are more than 1,100 species of bats that occur worldwide. Bats are an important part of our ecosystems and deserve our respect and admiration. Echolocation allows a bat to fly in total darkness to locate, chase, and capture flying insects. Bridges and other human structures are important roost habitat for many species of bats. Nectar bats visit and pollinate columnar cactus and succulents in our area. Learn about the 28 species of bats that live right here in Arizona. A live bat will be presented at the end of the lecture.

 Fri. 3:00-4: 30 

Horace Steele Room

Northern Jaguar Project: Protecting the World’s Northernmost Jaguars. - Diana Hadley

 

Renowned for their power, strength, beauty and grace, jaguars once roamed across much of the southern United States. Today, these magnificent predators are vanishing throughout the Americas. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the U.S. Mexico borderlands. Removed from their historic northern range by poaching and habitat fragmentation, jaguars have all but disappeared from the U. S. portion of their former territory. Yet, jaguars still persist just south of the international border in Sonora, Mexico and occasionally venture northward into former habitat in Arizona and New Mexico. Join members of the Northern Jaguar Project to hear about the former distribution of jaguars in the southwestern United States, and discover what is being done to help jaguars survive in Mexico. This beautifully illustrated presentation features Sonora’s 55,000-acre Northern Jaguar Reserve and provides information on the Northern Jaguar Project’s work to protect jaguar populations and establish viable wildlife corridors through community environmental education programs and agreements with cattle ranchers.

 

Fri. 4:30-5:30 

Horace Steele Room

Desert Dragonflies - Rich Bailowitz

 

The talk will be a basic introduction to regional odonata (damselflies and dragonflies) with discussions on what makes them tick and the species quirks that relate to their habitats in southeastern Arizona will be emphasized. Several dozen typical species of the 140 known Arizona taxa are to be depicted. Images of mating and oviposition will also be shown.
 


 

 

 Fri. 7:30-10:00 PM 

Horace Steele Room

Black light Insect Carpool Field Trip (carpool)  - Margarethe Brummermann

We will meet in Ramsey Canyon. This is a very rich area within in the juniper-oak belt of the Huachuca Mountains. We will use black lights and a Mercury Vapor light to attract night active insects to white sheets. The insects will sit there quietly and can be photographed. We will turn on the lights at sun set and keep them going throughout the night weather permitting, because flight activity of insects varies by species and especially the big moths can arrive very late. Of course, participants can come and go as they chose. Flash lights are recommended to see the insects on the sheet. 

Please note that parking is limited….carpooling is strongly suggested.

Saturday August 3, 2019 

8:00-10:00

Horace Steele Room

 

 Beginner's Guide to Identifying Hummingbirds Carpool Field Trip  - Charles Melto

Improve your hummingbird identification skills with this carpool field trip to a hummingbird viewing location on private property at the entrance to Ash Canyon, about 15 miles south of Sierra Vista. All participants must attend the Beginner's Guide to Identifying Hummingbirds program on Thursday Aug. 1, 12:00-1:30pm. Meeting details will be discussed at the program. The number of participants is limited to 12.

 Sat 8:00-12:00

Room 900

Geology Field Trip of the Huachuca Mountains  -Glenn Minuth

The Huachuca Mountains contain a wide variety of rocks with interesting histories . We will see some of these rocks and discuss the geologic history and volcanic geology of the Huachucas. We’ll focus on the southern end (Montezuma Pass- Hunter Canyon) walk over recent and historic debris flows, while also discussing the episodic volcanic caldera history of the Huachucas. Difficulty factor: field trip stops to be reached via car convoy with a short hike less than a 1/2 mile and less than 200 feet vertical; mostly easy walking with frequent rest stops including some limited bushwacking and limited traversing of a dry stream channel in moderately rugged terrain. Bring beverage containers (extra water provided); sun screen, apparel (hat and shoes) for hiking. A short pre-trip lecture will outline the trip and allow for organization of car convoy.



 Sat. 9:00-10:30


Horace Steele Room

9:00-10:30 Neanderthals and The Origins of Modern Humans- John Barthelme

Who were the Neanderthals ? What was their relationship- anatomical, behavioral and genetic - to modern humans ? Do you have Neanderthal DNA in your genome ? When and where did Homo sapiens ( modern humans ) first appear ? This power point talk will present an overview of current research on these fascinating questions. Also included will be a demonstration of Neanderthal stone tool making techniques and a discussion, using replica casts, of the major anatomical differences between Neanderthals and ourselves.

Sat. 10:30-12:00 

Horace Steele Room

HUMMINGBIRDS: Flying Jewels of Arizona!! - Karen Krebbs

 

Conservation Biologist Karen Krebbs will entertain you with hummingbird facts and fun! Karen has studied hummingbirds for more than 35 years and will share her knowledge on hummingbird identification, behavior, nesting biology, and ways to attract these tiny jewels to your garden and home. Karen oversaw the Hummingbirds of the Sonoran Desert Region Exhibit at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for 15 years, and will share her knowledge of captive hummingbirds and the successes of this exhibit. Arizona is home to an exciting diversity of hummingbird species and these small energetic pollinators will make you smile and laugh!

 

Sat. 12:00-1:30 

Horace Steele Room

NASA's OSIRIS-REx Explores Asteroid Bennu: Mission Highlights - Dolores Hill


NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid mission is on a journey to understand the formation of the Solar System and materials important to life on Earth by collecting a sample of asteroid Bennu. After reconnaissance and mapping to determine a suitable sample site, the spacecraft will collect a pristine, protected sample by only contacting the surface for up to 5 seconds. The precious sample will return to Earth for analysis in 2023. The images and spectroscopic data confirm ground-based astronomical observations and yet reveal an exciting world with intriguing surprises. Join us on this fantastic voyage!

 

 Sat. 1:30-3:00 

Horace Steele Room

The Land where the Black Bear meets the Jaguar: grafting for conservation - Mirna Manteca


The Sky Island Region is a land of ecological and social contrasts. It is a crossroads where tropical and northern species come together, it is a story of two countries with a harsh past and difficult future. With climate change looming over the jewel that is the Sky Island Region, cross-border conservation has never been so important. Binational collaboration, as essential as it may be for maintaining the health of our entire region, is a challenge on its own. The concept of “grafting” has helped move conservation efforts forward the in the Mexican portion of the Sky Island Region. This concept translates into empowering young local conservationists and scientists to step up and take the lead to protect their homes. Creating new ways to incorporate conservation, science, and biodiversity ethic into the hands of the people who can make a difference. 

 Sat. 3:00-4:30  

Horace Steele Room

The Social Lives of Snakes - Steve Marlatt
Although generally thought of as solitary, cold-blooded killers, snakes exhibit a variety of behaviors that we typically associate with animals such birds and primates. Courtship, combat, and hanging out with friends are just a few behaviors captured by our remote, time lapse cameras that you will get to see during this presentation. You may never look at snakes the same way again.


 


 

 
presenter bios

Kathe Anderson


Kathe Anderson is fascinated by birds. She has been leading bird walks for over 10 years, and estimates she’s led over 450 walks for a variety of individuals, conservation organizations, private groups, and life-long learning programs. She’s also developed a series of hands-on classes, often coupled with field trips, taught for the ASU and Mesa Community College non-credit programs, and at the Hassayampa River Preserve, State Parks, Desert Botanical Garden, Verde Valley and Southwest Wings festivals, and elsewhere. She’s an active member of the Phoenix area Audubon Societies and has participated in dozens of bird counts, in part to help establish and maintain Important Bird Areas.

 

Sergio Avila


Sergio Avila is a Wildlife Biologist with an MS in Arid Lands Management. During his 20 year+ career, Avila has studied jaguars, pumas, Cactus-ferruginous Pygmy owls and Monarch butterflies, and lived in remote places like the Sierra Tarahumara in Chihuahua and Northern Jaguar Reserve in Sonora. Sergio works for the national Sierra Club in a team called Outdoor Activities, with a focus to support staff and volunteers in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Utah, with the mission to connect all people with the natural world and with the Sierra Club, by maintaining and enhancing diversified, superior, volunteer-run outdoor activities that support the Sierra Club’s conservation mission.

Priscilla Brodkin

Priscilla Brodkin has lived in Carr Canyon, in the bird and butterfly rich Huachuca Mountains of Arizona, for twenty-one years. Her special love of the tropical birds and butterflies has taken her on trips to many places around the world, especially the neotropics, mostly Colombia, Peru, Ecuador & Bolivia. In 1992 she became interested in observing and photographing butterflies. She is a founding Director of the Southeast Arizona Butterfly Association (SEABA). She has led and co-led many butterfly field trips in Arizona and in Sonora, Mexico.

Rich Bailowitz
Rich Bailowitz was born and raised in New York and was smart enough to move to Arizona in 1974, already a seasoned birder and entomologist. He finished his MS in Entomology from the University of Arizona in 1985. His latest book, The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Arizona and Sonora, co-authored with Doug Danforth and Sandy Upson, was nominated for Southwest Books of the Year: Best Reading 2016.

John Barthelme 
Lived, taught school and worked on archaeological sites in eastern Africa for nearly 40 years including seven years at Lake Turkana with Richard Leakey's research group. Principal fieldwork focused on early hominid archaeological sites, origins of modern humans and Neanderthals as well as early Holocene fishing settlements. Ph.D in Anthropology from University of California, Berkeley. University professor at St Lawrence University in upstate New York for 30 years. Dedicated birder !

Priscilla Brodkin
Priscilla Brodkin has lived in Carr Canyon, in the bird and butterfly rich Huachuca Mountains of Arizona, for twenty-one years. Her special love of the tropical birds and butterflies has taken her on trips to many places around the world, especially the neotropics, mostly Colombia, Peru, Ecuador & Bolivia. In 1992 she became interested in observing and photographing butterflies. She is a founding Director of the Southeast Arizona Butterfly Association (SEABA). She has led and co-led many butterfly field trips in Arizona and in Sonora, Mexico.

Margarethe Brummermann
Margarethe Brummermann is a biologist, watercolor painter and photographer originally from Dortmund, Germany. She has an MS in biology from the Ruhr University Bochum and a PhD in comparative physiology from the Max Planck Institute in Bad Nauheim. As a researcher and teacher she has spent time in many European countries, New Zealand, University of Florida, Gainesville and the University of Arizona Tucson. In 1995 she founded Brummermanns’ Art and Sciences a venue to sell her watercolors and insect collages, and offer services like art classes, presentations and artistic designs with biological themes and also to fill specialty requests for insects needed for research. She is also working on, photographic field guide to Arizona’s beetle species with co-author Arthur Evans.

Jillian Cowles 
I came to Arizona from Massachusetts at the age of 18 in a third-hand Chevy van, in the hopes of seeing a Gila monster in the wild. I rapidly fell in love with the desert, the big sky, the warmth, and best of all, the interesting variety of native plants and animals. I also fell in love with my spouse of almost 40 years, Bill Savary. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona, and worked as a clinical microbiologist for almost three decades at what is now known as Banner University Medical Center, Tucson. In my spare time, I started to build a photographic database of the plants and animals of southern Arizona. The arachnids proceeded to hijack this project, and consequently I now have a book out, Amazing Arachnids, published by Princeton University Press. And by the way, I did get to see not just one, but many Gila monsters since coming to Arizona. Some dreams really do come true.

Mike Foster 
Mike Foster has been making videos about Sonora, Mexico and southern Arizona for the last twelve years. He has posted nearly 300 educational videos about the flora, fauna and cultural history of the region. Much of his early work was done with the Friends of the San Pedro River. Now he works as the interpretive person for the Friends of the Huachuca Mountains at the Carr House Information Center. He is also currently doing video work for the Border Community Alliance in Tubac. He has done significant work for the El Pinicate and Sierra Alamos Rio Cuchujaqui Reserves in Sonora and his work also appears on the Coronado National Memorial Park web pages in the US. He has lived in Bisbee for the last 35 years from where he launches his filming trips across the Southwest.

Diana Hadley
Diana Hadley is a founding member and president of the Northern Jaguar Project (NJP), a bi-national non-profit dedicated to preserving the northernmost breeding population of jaguars on the continent. She is an environmental historian who retired from the Arizona State Museum at the University of Arizona as associate curator of ethnohistory. She has published articles and government reports on ecological changes in the U.S. Mexico borderlands. The former operator of a cattle ranch in Cochise County, her interest in resolution of livestock wildlife conflicts led her to involvement in jaguar conservation. Currently, she assists NJP in management of the 55,000-acre Northern Jaguar Reserve, which provides a safe-haven for jaguars and other wildlife in a remarkably biodiverse portion of the Sierra Madre foothills in Sonora, Mexico, only 120 miles south of the international boundary.

Mark Hart
Mark Hart is a public information officer with the Arizona Game and Fish Department in Tucson. He serves as department spokesman for southeastern Arizona news media, and manages information and education programs throughout the region. Hart joined the department in 2009, and also serves as a public information officer for the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management. In addition, he is an agency representative to the federal Borderlands Management Task Force. Hart, a contributor to the Arizona Daily Star and a Best of Gannett award recipient, earned a bachelor’s degree with high honors from Loyola University of Chicago in 1981.

Dolores H. Hill
Sr. Research Specialist, University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
Dolores is a member of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission Communication and Public Engagement team, OSIRIS-REx Ambassadors lead, and co-lead of its Target Asteroids! citizen science program (honored as White House Champion of Change for Citizen Science 2013). Since 1981 Dolores has analyzed a wide range of meteorites at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and provided technical support to laboratories and space missions. In addition to her work analyzing meteorites, she has a lifelong interest in amateur astronomy. Near-Earth asteroid (164215) Doloreshill is named after her.

Karen Krebbs 
Karen Krebbs worked at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for more than 26 years, and now works on her own as an independent contractor. She has extensive knowledge of birds, mammals, deserts, and animal adaptations and behavior. Karen has carried out research for bats in the United States and Mexico for more than 30 years. She trains biologists on the proper protocol for handling and studying bats. Karen regularly carries out workshops and presentations on bats and birds to groups, schools, festivals, and organizations in the southwest and Mexico. Her long-term inventory and monitoring program for bats in the Chiricahua Mountains continues in its 20th year of study. She has written articles, books, and manuals for bats and birds. She has collaborated with other researchers on many bat research projects with local government agencies, universities, Mexico partners, and non-profit organizations. Karen has participated in natural history learning trips in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Mexico, Baja, Costa Rica, Africa, Galapagos, and Ecuador. Karen’s passion for bats is contagious! Her animal lectures and presentations are exciting and fun! Karen has a B. Sc. Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from the University of Arizona. Karen’s latest books include Desert Life: A Guide to the Southwest’s Iconic Animals and Plants & How They Survive; Desert Life of the Southwest Activity Book; and Explore Tucson Outdoors. She is currently writing a book on bats (Bat Basics: An Introduction to the Life of Bats in the United States & Canada & Their Many Benefits) that will be available in 2020.

Mirna Manteca
Mexico Conservation Biologist, Sky Island Alliance
Hiking and camping through the stunning Sonoran sky islands every summer as a child triggered my profound love for open spaces and wildlife. My wild childhood lead me directly to study biology in University of Sonora. I recently worked alongside CONANP (Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas. the Mexican equivalent of the National Park Service. )in the wildlife monitoring department of Ajos-Bavispe National Forest Reserve and Wildlife Refuge. Using remote cameras and track identification techniques we monitored the priority species of Sierra Los Ajos. I also worked in beaver and black- tailed prairie dog monitoring and conservation efforts in the San Pedro Watershed along with Naturalia. I’m a conservation biologist committed to protecting the natural heritage of an amazing region between two countries with a broken relationship. Bringing the science to the decision makers on the ground, empowering young professionals to rise up and work towards protecting the land they live in and collaborating with partners with diverse backgrounds for the benefit of conservation has become my expertise. Currently I am Mexico Conservation Biologist with Sky Island Alliance, where I work cross-border with local landowners, federal and state agencies, academia and partner NGOs to protect landscape permeability and ensure water availability for human and wildlife use. 

Steve Marlatt
Vice-Chair of the Advocates for Snake Preservation Board of Directors
Steve’s passion for snakes began in college, when a wildlife professor happened to bring in a few animals and enlightened the class as to how unique, amazing, and misunderstood they truly are. He was instantly hooked! During his 26 years of teaching middle school science, snakes became an integral part of his curriculum. He has found that while many adults already have a fear and loathing of snakes, that is not an established perception in young people and they are fascinated and receptive to finding out more about them. Throughout the years, his students learned their traits, behaviors, diets, care, and how they were all individuals. Steve is also a founding board member of Gray Hawk Nature Center, which has introduced and educated thousands of students to the amazing world of snakes. He has a BS degree in Wildlife Management and a MA in Education from New Mexico State University.

Charles W Melton
Charles W. Melton is a nature photographer living in southeast Arizona. He is interested in a wide range of nature subjects including hummingbirds and insects, especially moths. Education: BS Biology, MS Entomology. www.nearfamous.com

Glenn Minuth
Glenn is a 34-year career federal civil servant. His bachelors and graduate degrees are in geography with specialties in cartography, geomorphology, remote sensing, and geology. Others areas of academic focus were biogeography (flora/fauna), weather/climate, and pedology (soils). His research focused in the area of geomorphology and geology examining mound micro-relief (Mima-type mounds) on volcanic mudflows in the central Sierra Nevada foothills, California. He taught geography, weather & climate, and geology part time in the Life and Physical Science Department of American River College, Sacramento for seven years. He's been a part time instructor in geography and geology for 20 years in Cochise College credit and non-credit programs where he conducts field trips and lectures in the areas of--military history, ecology, weather/climate, geography, and geology. 

Eric Moore
Eric Moore, owner of Jay's Bird and Arizona Field Optics in Prescott, Arizona, has been a life-long birder. Eric grew up in Tucson and at a young age birded extensively all over southeastern Arizona. As the owner of Jay's Bird Barn and Arizona Field Optics, Eric has an intimate knowledge of optical equipment, including binoculars and scopes and knows what the unique demands are for quality birding optics. With the prospective of being a birder, and not just a business owner, Eric understands the importance of quality optical equipment to maximize birding experiences--both at home and in the field. 

Rebecca Orozco 
Rebecca Orozco is a third generation resident of Cochise County and currently teaches history and anthropology at Cochise College and the University of Arizona. She helped develop a cross-border studies program that allows students from Sonora to study in Arizona. Her undergraduate degree in anthropology (1974) and graduate degree in history (1987)are from the University of Arizona. She has travelled widely and lived in Peru, Ecuador and Guatemala where she worked as an archaeologist. 

Stephen Vaughan
Stephen Vaughan is a professional photographer and ornithologist. He has been photographing and studying natural history for more than 40 years. His photographs have been published in numerous books, magazines and calendars from publications including National Geographic, Audubon, and Arizona Highways.

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