Opening Keynote Speaker: Tykee James
Tykee James is the government affairs coordinator at the National Audubon Society, Co-Chair for the National Black and Latinx Scholarship Fund, and sits on the board of directors of the DC Audubon Society, Wyncote Audubon Society, Audubon Maryland-DC, the Birding Co-op, and the IDEAL Committee at the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University.
After moving to DC almost two years ago, he became grounded in his special role: organizing bird walks with members of Congress and congressional staff! Tykee has built residency in this work from his experience in Philadelphia, his hometown. His first job was an environmental educator and community organizer in his own neighborhood. Tykee would also serve a State Representative as her environmental policy advisor. He continues to develop himself as a leader through his membership in the Environmental Leadership Program and the Green Leadership Trust.
Tykee has been part of the birding community for almost a decade. Most recently, he earned international recognition as one of the organizers of the first #BlackBirdersWeek in 2020.
In his personal time he is the audio producer for Wildlife Observer Network, a wildlife media project he started with some wildlife-friendly friends in Philly. Tykee hosts two podcasts: Brothers in Birding and On Word for Wildlife.
Website: WildlifeObserverNetwork.com Twitter: @ Tykee_James Instagram: @ TykeeJames
Angel Poe, Birding for Beginners & Community Science for Bird-Lovers
Angel Poe is the Education Specialist at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center in San Antonio, Texas. A Texas Master Naturalist and experienced educator, Angel's mission is to connect all people to the natural world. Whether tromping through hip-deep snow in search of Northern Hawk Owl, balancing on a boat in the Pacific watching shearwaters and puffins, or simply checking the bird feeders in her backyard, Angel always has a pair of binoculars nearby and is enthusiastic about sharing her love of birds with others.
Craig Hensley, Bird Banding Demonstration
Craig Hensley is a Texas Nature Trackers Biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. He is a lifelong naturalist and educator, having worked at nature centers from Minnesota to Missouri, also serving for nearly eight years as Park Interpreter at Guadalupe River State Park. He has been banding birds for more than 30 years. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management and a Master’s Degree in Zoology.
Panelists, Birding Connections
Born and raised in the Republic of Panama, Lorna Engleman, M.D., grew up in a verdant city full of mature trees where you could see birds and the ocean where you could dream of foreign places. After graduating from medical school, she learned about birdwatching from her husband, Dodge, and never looked back, getting involved with the Panama Audubon Society in birding and conservation efforts, followed by international travel to watch birds. Among other activities, she created a bird watching curriculum for the Panama Audubon Society and went around the country giving bird talks to children in hopes of opening their eyes to the wonder of nature and trusting that this would instill a desire to protect their environment. As time went by, she and her husband became involved in running the Atlantic Christmas Bird Count, one of the three CBCs held in Panama. That CBC is famous for being the count were the most birds were recorded in a 24 hour period for 20 years. She now resides in Texas with her husband, their new base for international travel.
Patsy Inglet is a native Texan who grew up in the Houston-Gulf Coast area and got her Biology degree at Lamar University in Beaumont. She lived with her engineer husband Tom in Saudi Arabia from 1974 to 1999—with assignments in Holland, England, and Japan during that time. She has always loved birds, thanks to her grandmother, but she didn’t become a birder per se until she and Tom “retired” to San Antonio and started their new lives as professional volunteer. Birds and their conservation are now central to her life and the focus of her study, travels, and volunteer work. Every bird is special, but some are extra special.
Freya McGregor has been birding since childhood, thanks to her birder parents back home in Australia. After falling in love with an American soldier, she moved to the US to be with him and has lived in San Antonio, Texas, Boston, Massachusetts, and Fort Knox, Kentucky; they are currently stationed in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She is the Birdability Coordinator and Occupational Therapist, and the Outreach Coordinator for Ray Brown's Talkin' Birds - a radio show and podcast about birds and conservation.
Freya McGregor, Birdability
Freya McGregor, OTR/L, is the Birdability Coordinator and Occupational Therapist. Birding since childhood, her ‘dodgy’ knee often creates an accessibility challenge for her, and she is passionate about enabling all birders and potential future birders to enjoy birding and nature as much as she does.
Bird City Keynote: Dr. Tim Beatley, Cities that Love Birds
Timothy Beatley is the Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities, in the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia, where he has taught for the last thirty years. Beatley is the author or co-author of more than fifteen books, including Green Urbanism: Learning from European Cities, Native to Nowhere: Sustaining Home and Community in a Global Age, and Biophilic Cities: Integrating Nature Into Urban Design and Planning. Beatley directs the Biophilic Cities Project at UVA and co-founded UVA’s Center for Design and Health, within the School of Architecture. Website: http://biophiliccities.org
Delaney Kempf, Birding Tech Basics
Delaney Kempf is a life-long birder and outdoorswoman raised here in the Texas Hill Country. Her journeys in recent years include hiking the Rocky Mountains photographing large mammals, searching for salamanders and wild orchids in upstate New York, traveling through the Sky Islands of Southern Arizona in search of rattlesnakes and rare birds, and countless forays into West Texas in search of anything and everything uniquely Texan.
Julie Beever, A House for Wren
Julie Beever taught elementary reading to struggling readers for over 20 years. Her own love of reading began early, when her mother made up stories and rhymes to keep her young children amused. Her love of birds began soon after. Julie divides her time between the South Texas brush country of Pearsall and the Texas hill country of Concan, where she enjoys photography, birding, and writing.
A House for Wren is in hardcover and is available at Amazon. CLICK HERE for the Amazon order link
*For a limited time, signed and personalized books may be purchased through Julie Beever* Contact Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org ($14.95 + tax and shipping)
Martin Reid, Balcony Birding in the Time of Coronavirus
Martin Reid, originally from Great Britain, has lived in Texas close to 30 years. Martin is a Photographer, Naturalist and Bird Guide, having led trips to Chile, Belize, Costa Rica, and Ecuador. He is past Report Secretary for Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Society, past President of the Fort Worth Audubon Society, and past member and Webmaster of the Texas Bird Records Committee. Martin also has a strong interest and expertise in dragonflies and butterflies and regularly conducts tours, classes, and surveys.
Closing Keynote: Katie Fallon, Saving the Cerulean Warbler
Katie Fallon is the author of the nonfiction books Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird (2020, 2017) and Cerulean Blues: A Personal Search for a Vanishing Songbird (2011), as well as also two books for children. She is a founder of the Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia, a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving the region’s wild birds through research, education, and rehabilitation, and has served as President of the Mountaineer Chapter of the National Audubon Society. A member of the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators, Katie has worked with birds since 1998; over the last twenty years she has given educational presentations featuring live raptors, vultures, parrots, and corvids. She is also a columnist for Bird Watcher’s Digest and has taught writing at West Virginia University, Virginia Tech, and elsewhere. Her first word was “bird.” Website: www.katiefallon.com.
Closing Celebration Remarks: Tiffany Kersten, a new Big Year
Tiffany Kersten is a 34-year-old professional bird guide who also happens to be a sexual assault survivor. She’s spending 2021 attempting to become the youngest woman to see 700 species in the Lower 48 States, while gifting personal safety alarms to women birders she meets on the trails along the way. She is blogging her experiences with both the birds and the people - getting perspectives on women's safety in the outdoors from both men and women, with the ultimate goal of elevating women birders. Follow her adventures at tiffanykersten.blogspot.com.