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.
All presentations are held in the Horace Steele Room unless noted otherwise.
Wednesday, AUGUST 3, 2022
Angeline Fahey: Outdoor Cats and birds
Eric Moore: The ABCs of Birding Optics.
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.
Betsy Kunzer: Choose Your Habitat – A look at local ecology
Within a 30 mile radius we have 5 different life zones with gradations between them. Come explore with Betsy Kunzer this great diversity of local habitats and the relationships within each. Where various organisms live and why.
Tom Wood Backyard habitat: Gardening and feeding for Arizona birds and butterflies
This presentation will provide information about creating a welcoming backyard habitat for wildlife. Native plant landscaping, pollinator gardens, water features and cover all make for welcoming environment for native wildlife. We will discuss how to attract birds to your yard from hummingbirds to quail with a varie ty of plants, bird feeders and other habitat enhancements.
John Barthelme: Neanderthals and The Origins of Modern Humans
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.
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Eric Moore: Focus on Optics - Bird Walk
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.
Steve Vaughan: Arizona’s Hummingbirds – Jewels of the Southwest
Arizona is home to 18 species of hummingbirds. Join us as we delve into the unique adaptations of their biology and behaviors. New studies will be considered that have helped dispel some of the long-standing myths surrounding these tiny feathered jewels. We will look at individual species and discuss characteristics to help you with their identification.
Mike Crimmins: Arizona Climate: Past, Present, and Future
Despite its notoriety as a dusty and dry place, Arizona possesses an exceptional diversity in landscapes and vegetation. Its dramatic topographic features and geographic position bring a range of temperatures and precipitation equivalent to the range experienced between Mexico and Canada. Topographic features create steep gradients in temperature and precipitation that support ecological community types from mixed conifer at high elevations to desert scrub at lowest elevations. Two 'wet' seasons can bring precipitation in torrential downpours (summer monsoon) or light snow showers (winter storms) with major implications on how and where water important to plants is stored in the soil. Longer-term cycles in Pacific Ocean temperatures can impact storm tracks across Arizona, bringing multi-year wet periods and long-term droughts. Major changes in the global climate system have been observed in recent decades that have directly impacted Arizona’s complex climate. This presentation will explore historical patterns and mechanisms driving climate variability across Arizona and how they may be impacted in a changing climate.
Jillian Cowles: Love, Deceit, and the Social Network: Surprising behaviors of Arachnids
Arachnids demonstrate a startling variety of adaptations for acquiring prey, courting mates, and caring for their young. Stealth and mimicry find expression in several ways, from a bolas spider luring amorous male moths to their deaths, to the finesse of the tiny dewdrop spider stealing the egg sacs of its host, the formidable black widow. Mother arachnids show a degree of devotion to their young that rival the mother love of any mammal. Green lynx spiders defend their egg sacs by spraying venom in the eyes of predators, and famished vinegaroon mothers share food with their tiny offspring. Perhaps most surprising, some spiders even cooperatively capture and share prey. Life and death dramas and mysteries unfold as we take a closer look at these small neighbors found right here in southern Arizona.
Michael Foster: Videography in the Borderlands
Mike Foster produces educational travelogue videos for environmental NGOs and National Parks in the US and Mexico. He will be showing his most recent natural and cultural history videos filmed in southern Arizona and Sonora. He will also talk about accessing remote areas and interacting with unique cultures. These videos are similar to but more intimate than desert shows seen on PBS. Learn about the flora, fauna and religious practices of the indigenous people of our fascinating part of the world. Come experience Mike's passion for adventures in this engaging presentation.
Rick Wright: The Worst Bird Names Ever -- and Why They're Not Really That Bad
Ring-necked Duck? Palm Warbler? Tree Sparrow? These names and many others drive birders up the wall: They're misleading, confusing, just plain inaccurate. Aren't they? But there's more to it than mere right and wrong. Join Rick Wright for an entertaining look at the stories behind the naming and misnaming of some of our most familiar birds--and how those stories show that so many apparent misnomers really aren't so bad after all. Next time someone wonders why you're looking for Mountain Plovers out on the shortgrass prairie, you'll know exactly what to tell them.
Rich Bailowitz: Desert Dragonflies
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.
Friday, July 31, 2020
Kathe Anderson: Introduction to Birdwatching Bird Walk
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.
Michael Foster: Sonora: Origin of Many Species and Home of many Indigenous Peoples w/ carpool fieldtrip
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.
Diana Hadley: Northern Jaguar Project: Protecting the World’s Northernmost Jaguars
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.
Glenn Minuth: Twelve New Clouds
In case you missed it, Thursday, 25 March 2017 was World Meteorological Day, and the United Nation's official weather body observed the occasion with the recognition of 12 new types of cloud and cloud features. It's not every day that the world officially classifies a new species of cloud, but then again, that was no ordinary week. It was a big release too--the first time the volume has been updated in over 30 years, and bearing in mind the Atlas was first published in 1896, it's astonishing to think that this scientific resource has informed cloud-watchers across three distinct centuries. The atlas set standards for classifying clouds, which was important to those involved in meteorology, aviation and shipping. Since then, a number of rare clouds have been spotted and recorded worldwide by weather watchers that did not fit into the existing classification system. You will see all twelve new clouds and understand their formation characteristics. Attending this presentation is a legal way to deal with your case of nephophilia!
Kathe Anderson: Myths. Tall Tales, and True Facts
Birds have important roles in our mythology and continue as symbols in current literature and culture. But their fictional personas are only part of their magic. This presentation explores a variety of species and their stories, both true and not. How did Phoenix get its name? Which bird has won life-saving medals? Is the stork the only bird that brings babies? From chickadees to cranes, find out the roles birds play in our lives.
Kenn Kaufmann: Principles & Pitfalls of Field Identification
Workshop Description: What does it take to develop more skill at bird ID, and to be able to recognize more of the birds that we find? Well, for starters, it’s not simply a matter of learning field marks. Often we can memorize all the field marks for a species and still have trouble identifying it, while in other cases we may recognize a bird without seeing any traditional field marks at all. In this program, based on a section from his recent Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding, Kenn will talk about some basic principles that apply to all birds—principles that make it possible to name birds with more accuracy and confidence. He’ll also discuss some surprising pitfalls of ID, and how to avoid being tripped up by them.
Karen Krebbs: The Exciting Night Life of Bats!
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.
Charles Melton: Beginner's Guide to Identifying Hummingbirds
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 the following day, Sat. Aug. 1, 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.
Saturday, August 1, 2020
Glenn Minuth - car pool field trip - Ancient Seas
Lecture with carpool fieldtrip (half day) (between Bisbee and Hwy 90/80 junction). Description: Rocks of the Paleozoic Era contain a variety of stratigraphic units and fossils that yield information about conditions that prevailed at the time the rocks were formed. These rocks indicate that during much of this portion of Arizona’s geologic story, it was either covered entirely or partly by marine waters. We will be interested in understanding what marine organisms existed in these conditions that were buried in sand or mud and preserved as fossils. Our trip begins with a visit to some of the oldest rocks in the state featuring the the Precambrian Era Pinal Schist (rock formation) and then proceeds up section through the later Paleozoic Limestones to examine fossil occurrences. Carpool, bring sun protection, and no hiking, just roadside geology stops.
Sat 8:00 - 10:00
Charles Melton: Beginner's Guide to Identifying Hummingbirds carpool field trip
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 Friday July 31, 3:00-4:30pm. Meeting details will be discussed at the program. The number of participants is limited to 12.
Angéline Fahey: Wildlife Rescue, Rehabilitation, Release and Coexistence
Learn about Tucson Wildlife Center, the only wildlife hospital for eight counties in southern Arizona dedicated to the rescue, rehab and release of wildlife. You will be guided through the steps they take when encountering sick, ill or orphaned wildlife. Learn the importance of wildlife rehabilitation, what to do when you find an injured animal, how to live in peaceful coexistence with wildlife, and how to keep unwanted critters from entering your home with humane alternatives to traps and poisons.
Jim Koweek: Grassland Plant ID Made Easy
We will cover local plant ID with an emphasis plant relationship with wildlife. Best of all, this will be done with no boring technical language.
Taylor Hanson: Pollinators and the Importance of Native Plants
This talk will cover pollinators of Southeast Arizona, their life cycles, and the resources they need to survive, as well as habitat connectivity and how we can turn small spaces into pollinator corridors.
Mark Hart: Big Cats
Southeast Arizona has the greatest biologic diversity in a state that arguably has the greatest biologic diversity of the lower 48. Doubters need look no further than the presence of four cats in the wild here: jaguar, ocelot, mountain lion and bobcat. This presentation examines the two largest and charismatic of the four. Here and southwest New Mexico are the only locations in the United States where jaguars have been sighted in the past twenty years. In late 2016, two jaguars were present in the region, one in the Huachuca Mountains and the other in the Dos Cabezas. Earlier that year a video surfaced of a third jaguar in the Santa Rita Mountains. The video caused an international sensation, but that jaguar hasn't been seen since. Although the Huachucas jaguar came to a bad end in Mexico, its return there was biologically significant. Meantime, the Dos Cabezas jaguar has persisted south of Willcox since. This part of the presentation examines how having this endangered species in the region poses unique challenges for wildlife and land managers, and how they have made even more popular among the general public trail camera technology. In addition, up to 500 elusive and stealthy 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 calls annually about mountain lions. But the vast majority are just sightings, and often cases of mistaken identity with a bobcat. In addition, while the mere mention of a mountain lion strikes fear into the hearts of many, one is twice as likely to be attacked by a bear 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
Bill Cavaliere: The Geronimo Surrender Site Through the Years
On September 4, 1886, Naiche, chief of the Chiricahua Apaches, along with Geronimo and other hostiles, formerly surrendered to General Nelson A. Miles in Skeleton Canyon in the Peloncillo Mountains in Arizona. The Chiricahuas were the last American Indian tribe to surrender, all others already on reservations. The army officers, realizing the historical significance of what was happening, built a rough monument on the spot of the surrender to commemorate the event. This power point examines who built the monument, where it is located, the various land owners, and also looks at several old photographs, showing how it has changed over the years.
Kathe is an avid birder, leading bird walks, teaching classes, and participating in bird surveys, among other birdy activities. She’s led hundreds of walks for individuals, conservation organizations, private groups, and life-long learning programs, and taught scores of hands-on birding-related classes for nature festivals, Arizona State University’s Osher Life-long Learning Program, The Nature Conservancy, state parks and numerous local conservation organizations. She loves sharing her passion with others.
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.
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 !
Bill Cavaliere is president of the Cochise County Historical Society and sits on the board of the Arizona Historical Society’s southern chapter. He lectures frequently on the Chiricahua Apaches at colleges and historical societies. He has written articles for numerous historical journals and magazines, and recently finished his first book, The Chiricahua Apaches - A Concise History. Bill retired in 2012 after 28 years in law enforcement, all on the border. He is the former sheriff of Hidalgo County NM. Prior to this he worked for the US Forest Service in the Chiricahua Mountains. He and his wife Jill live on a cattle ranch and own the Four Bar Cottages near Portal AZ.
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.
Dr. Crimmins is on the faculty of the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Arizona and is a Climate Science Extension Specialist for Arizona Cooperative Extension. In this position he provides climate science support to resource managers across Arizona by assessing information needs, synthesizing and transferring relevant research results and conducting applied research projects. His extension and research work supports resource management across multiple sectors including rangelands, forests/wildfire, and water resources as well as informing policy and decision makers. This work aims to support managers by increasing climate science literacy as well as developing strategies to adapt to a changing climate. He also serves as a drought monitoring expert on the Arizona Governor’s Drought Task Force and has worked with counties across Arizona to implement drought preparedness and impact monitoring plans.
Angéline Fahey has been Tucson Wildlife Center’s Education Program Coordinator for almost three years, educating the public about the importance of wildlife rehabilitation and coexistence. She also helps in animal care, feeding and caring for baby birds and mammals. Before finding her passion rehabbing and teaching about native wildlife, she earned her degree in Nonprofit Management and worked with seriously ill children and their families, providing encouragement and hope through art therapy at the hospital bedside.
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 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.
Taylor Hanson grew up all over the west and fell in love with Southeast Arizona, where she has made her home. She studies wildlife biology and has found a passion for many plants and animals including rattlesnakes, native bees, and the unique plants of the southwest. She started her business, Mosaic Habitats and Landscaping, LLC, to bring wildlife education and habitat to public spaces and homes.
Jim is the owner of Arizona Revegetation & Monitoring Co. and the author of Grassland Plant ID For Everyone – Except Folks That Take Boring Technical Stuff Too Seriously. For the last 4 decades he has worked with seed, plants and rock in SE Arizona. The results are not always pretty.
In his spare time, he can be found playing mandolin in local watering holes around Sonoita.
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.
Betsy Kunzer started life as a tom-boy, then studied ecology in college before following a checkered career while moving around the US with her geologist husband, Sandy. Wherever they went they got outdoors, watched birds, identified everything they came across and took nature photographs. Since retiring to Sierra Vista in 2001 both Betsy and Sandy have been busy volunteering at Ramsey Canyon, taking pictures in all seasons and giving photo shows to a variety of groups.
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 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, 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 perspective 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.
Bob Parks is an expert in the identification of bees and other Hymernoptera. He has published numerous scientific papers about bees and has worked for the San Diego Natural History Museum, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Colorado State University. Bob is also a well known nature photographer.
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.
Tom Wood is co-founder of the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory, a non-profit conservation organization. A native Texan, he has a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and was director of the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge for 14 years before moving to Arizona in 1988 to manage The Nature Conservancy's Ramsey Canyon Preserve. Tom and his wife, Sheri Williamson, have conducted a 24-year banding study of hummingbirds on the San Pedro River, conducted breeding bird monitoring on National Park Service sites, and worked on development of birding tourism in southeastern Arizona and Sonora.
Rick Wright leads Birds and Art tours in Europe and the Americas for Victor Emanuel Nature Tours. A widely published author and sought-after lecturer and field trip leader, Rick studied French, German, Philosophy, and Life Sciences in his native Nebraska before making a detour to Harvard Law School. He took the Ph.D. in German Languages and Literatures at Princeton University in 1990, then spent a dozen years as an academic, holding successive appointments as Assistant Professor of German at the University of Illinois, Reader in Art and Archaeology at Princeton University, and Associate Professor of Medieval Studies at Fordham University. He and his wife, the medievalist Alison Beringer, spent eight happy years in Tucson before Alison's work took them to northern New Jersey, where they live with their little girl, Avril, and their chocolate lab, Gellert. Rick's numerous scholarly publications include two books on the Latin animal literature of the later Middle Ages. He is the author of the ABA Field Guide to Birds of New Jersey and the ABA Field Guide to Birds of Arizona; his most recent book is the Peterson Reference Guide to American Sparrows, published by Houghton Mifflin in 2019.