Home :: Past Festivals :: 15th Annual Snow Goose Festival ::Biographies


Featured Speaker: Debi Shearwater
Professional seabirder and owner Shearwater Journeys

We are excited and pleased to have pelagic birding pioneer, Debi Shearwater, present this year’s keynote address, “40 Years of Seabirding.” From field guides to national marine sanctuaries to seabirds saved and seabirds on the brink, Debi will share experiences and insights gained from thousands of days at sea off the central coast of California to the ends of the Earth – the High Arctic and Antarctica. Debi will demonstrate how changes in the way humans view seabirds has affected their lives and existence. Her illustrated talk will also provide ways people can help save some of the most endangered and magnificent birds on Earth.

Debi is the owner of Monterey-based Shearwater Journeys, and has been leading boat tours to view seabirds in Monterey Bay, Half Moon Bay, and the Farallon Islands since 1975. She is renowned throughout the birding world for her expertise on pelagic birds and continues to lead 40 tours a year in California as well as tours in other parts of the world, including Antarctica. Debi was the inspiration for Anjelica Huston’s character, “Annie Auklet,” in the 2011 movie The Big Year, a major motion picture about competitive birding co-starring Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson.

We are looking forward to Debi’s participation in our 15th Annual Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway and encourage you to join us at the banquet to hear her presentation!

Leader Biographies

Ranger Jeremy Alling

Jeremy Alling has been a ranger with State Parks for thirteen years. Over the years he has had the opportunity to work at a variety of parks, including: Brannan Island State Recreation Area, South Yuba River State Park, and in the Off Highway Motor Vehicle Division at Carnegie SVRA. In 2013 he transferred to the Valley Sector of the Northern Buttes District where he works out of the Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park office. Events:

Linda Angerer

Linda Angerer is a U.S. Forest Service wildlife Biologist and currently the Bat Coordinator for California’s National Forests. Events:

Jo Anna Arroyo

Jo Anna Arroyo is a Wildlife Biologist working for the US Forest Service since 2005. Her job includes advocating for wildlife populations and addressing ecosystem concerns. She participates on forest planning projects focusing on the protection and habitat conservation for wildlife species such as the California spotted owl. She enjoys watercolor painting, wildlife viewing, and hiking. Events:

Skip Augur

Skip Augur is publicity and webmaster of the White-Tailed Kite, the local Altacal Audubon Society's newsletter. Events:

Jon Aull

Jon Aull received his master's degree studying parks and natural resources in the recreation department at Chico State. He is the environmental education coordinator for the Chico Creek Nature Center, where he develops and implements nature programs for schoolchildren and families. Events:

Jay Bogiatto

Jay Bogiatto, M. S., teaches Waterfowl Biology and Wetland Management, Ornithology, Mammalogy, and Advanced Zoology in the Biology Department at CSU, Chico (CSUC). Jay also serves as Faculty Advisor for the CSUC Chapter of the California Waterfowl Association, and Co-Faculty Advisor for Omicron Theta Epsilon, the CSUC biology honor society. In addition, Jay serves as Station Management Advisor for CSUCs Eagle Lake Field Station, and Curator of Birds and Mammals for the Biology Department's Vertebrate Museum. Events:

Jim Burcio

Jim Burcio graduated from Humboldt State College with a degree in Wildlife Management and Biology. He is currently the Director of the Educational Leadership Program at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California. Jim has carved wildfowl for 40 years, competed nationally, and judged at the three major carving shows on the west coast. His work has been displayed at several museums. For the past fifteen years, Jim has annually taught carving seminars for the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association. In 2010, and 2012, Jim was selected by the Ward Foundation in Salisbury, Maryland to be an instructor in their National Endowment for the Arts Grant. Events:

Carol Burr

Carol Burr, PhD, is Professor Emerita from Chico State, where she taught literature in the English Department for 37 years and served in a number of administrative positions. In retirement, she returned to a childhood love of drawing, taking oil painting classes. Married to Roger Lederer, an ornithologist, she learned about birds and became an active bird watcher on travels around the world. In 2009 she illustrated Dr. Lederer’s The Birds of Bidwell Park, using pen and colored pencils. Events:

Rex Burress

Rex Burress, a long time naturalist, wildlife artist, outdoor photographer, and nature writer, is retired from the Lake Merritt Refuge in Oakland. Events:

David Dahnke

Dave Dahnke has been actively birding for over thirty years. He has birded throughout the United States and Eastern Europe. Events:

Tim Davis

Tim Davis is a retired California State Park Ranger who has worked at a variety of parks throughout the state including Anza Borrego Desert SP, Emerald Bay/D.L. Bliss SP, and Hollister Hills SVRA. Local parks include Lake Oroville SRA, Bidwell Mansion SHP, and Bidwell-Sacramento River SP. As a Ranger he began leading hikes in the Sutter Buttes shortly after the State acquired Peace Valley and now continues as a State Park Volunteer. Events:

Michael Denega

Mike Denega began his teaching career at Humboldt State University teaching Biological Statistics, Human Anatomy, and Martial Arts. His love and enthusiasm for the biological sciences spread to El Dorado County where he has spent time since 1973 serving the science departments at Folsom Lake College (formally American River College) and El Dorado High School. Recently, Mike has spent 10 years as a researcher and wildlife photographer in Alaska. His work with the Migratory Bird Program and ecotourism projects in Alaska began in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge then spread throughout the state. His love for teaching, viewing wildlife, photography, and traveling is shared with his students wholeheartedly and with sincere passion. Events:

Dan Dugan

Dan Dugan is best known as the inventor of the automatic microphone mixer. He has been a technical mentor for the Nature Sounds Society for over twenty years. He has published six “relaxation CD’s” of nature sounds, so far. Events:

Dan Efseaff

Dan Efseaff is the Park and Natural Resource Manager for the City of Chico. He manages Chico's greenways, preserves, and some parks including Bidwell Park. He was formerly the Executive Director for the Yolo County Resource Conservation District, and he has worked for over 15 years as a restoration ecologist completing projects mostly along Sacramento Valley streams. Events:

Steve Emmons

Steve Emmons has served as the Wildlife Refuge Manager for Sacramento and Delevan National Wildlife Refuges (Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Willows, CA). Prior to his current position, he served as the Assistant Refuge Manager at Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge in Lake Arthur, LA (1990-1996) and the Fish and Wildlife Specialist at the Fort Carson Military Reservation, Colorado Springs, CO (1982-1990). Steve’s primary interests include nature photography (particularly wildlife photography) and observing birds. Events:

Mike Fisher

Mike Fisher is the treasurer of the local Altacal Audubon Chapter. He is an avid birder and licensed bird bander. Events:

Matt Forster

Matt is an avid outdoorsman and birder whose love of the land has him interested in conservation of habitat and restoration. He studied waterfowl biology and wetland management as well as ornithology at CSUChico. Events:

Stevie Foster

Bio to be provided soon. Events:

Marilyn Gamette

Bio to be provided soon. Events:

Henry Ganzler

Henry has been an avid photographer and videographer since the middle 70’s, and studied photography and videography formally for several years at Butte College. His photographs have won awards in exhibits and contests at the Butte College art gallery, The Chico Chamber of Commerce, and an All Chico photography contest in the early 90’s. Karma started his own video production company, Mindful Productions, in 1990. He has produced travel, cultural, and educational videos in many parts of the world, as well as training videos for businesses, and the Butte County Department of Behavioral Health. His video “Wetlands Wildlife - The Sacramento Valley” was selected and shown at the 2010 Gallery 1078 Film Festival in Chico and was recently shown at the Chico Museum as part of its series on the Rice Fields. Events:

Dawn Garcia

Dawn Garcia works professionally as a wildlife biologist and is an active conservationist with the Altacal Audubon Society. She has had her federal bird banding license for 18 years and has initiated studies with songbirds and various owl species. Birding, bird-banding, and being in nature are three of her passions. Events:

Kurt Geiger

When Kurt Geiger is not on the trails with Kids and Creeks, he is studying and working towards his degree in Wildlife Biology. As a wildlife photographer and writer, Kurt has created native plant and animal field guides for Verbena Fields and the greater Chico area. Kurt is a proud father of two: Carter,11 and Madison, 10. Events:

Gaylord Grams

Gaylord Grams is an avid local birder and leads many field trips for the Altacal Chapter of the Audubon Society. Events:

Herman Gray

Herman Gray is a retired physician. While traveling the world in his profession, he has enjoyed viewing many bird species. He is also an active Gray Lodge Wildlife Area docent. Events:

John Hendrickson

Lifelong naturalist John Hendrickson was the director of Woodleaf Outdoor School for over thirty years. He is a raptor expert and world-renowned photographer. Thousands of John's photographs have been published worldwide by hundreds of publishers including National Wildlife, Audubon, National Geographic, Sierra Club, and Living Bird. John has authored and illustrated several books including Raptors, Hawks for Kids, Grace on the Wing, and Listening to Nature. He is best known for his photographs of raptors and butterflies, and is currently working on a book about California butterflies. Events:

Kathe Hendrickson

Lifelong naturalist Kathe Hendrickson was Lead Teacher/Naturalist and Curriculum Specialist at Woodleaf Outdoor School for over thirty years. She has birded all over the world, is an active eBirder and saw over 1200 species in 2013. She and her husband John have been leading birding trips to Costa Rica and Ecuador for the past fifteen years. Events:

Leroy Hord

Leroy Hord, local birder, is actively involved in the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area Wood Duck Program. Events:

Mike Hubbartt

Mike Hubbartt, author, CA State Park Interpreter, and a Middle Mountain Foundation board member has been actively involved in the preservation of the integrity of the Sutter Buttes for over twenty-five years. Events:

Scott Huber

Scott Huber is the Education and Research Coordinator for CSU Chico’s Ecological Reserves. He is is one of two certified Project Flying Wild Facilitators in California. Scott has worked as a bird-watching guide, has conducted numerous bird surveys, served on the board of California Audubon and is past president of Altacal Audubon Society. Events:

Lin Jensen

Lin Jensen is a Zen teacher living in Chico, California, where he writes and works on behalf of nonviolence and in defense of the earth. Lin is also a birder, having served for seven years as sub-regional editor for American Birds magazine, reporting on the bird populations of Plumas and Sierra Counties. Lin is the author of six books, four of which were awarded Shambhala Sun’s Best Buddhist Writing in its respective year of publication. Events:

Phil Johnson

Phil Johnson has been a long time board member of the Altacal Audubon Society, and he has coordinated the Oroville and Chico Christmas Bird Counts. Events:

Steve Kasprzyk

Bio to be provided soon. Events:

Raina King

Raina King spends much of her time on computers creating digital art. Birdwatching and camping provide her a great way of getting out of the house to enjoy the outdoors. Raina grew up loving nature and is the third generation of birdwatchers in her family. Events:

Steve King

Steve King became interested in bird watching about 35 years ago. Steve is the second of three generations of bird watchers. His favorite birding spots are Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, Upper Bidwell Park, and the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Events:

Shelly Kirn

Shelly Kirn teaches field biology, ecology, and other classes at CSU, Chico. She is a faculty advisor to the honors biology student club (Omicron Theta Epsilon) and the Chico State Birding Club (CSBS). Shelly has been birding for 16 years and enjoys traveling throughout the US (and occasionally beyond) to see birds. Events:

Roger Lederer

Dr. Roger Lederer is Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at California State University, Chico. He has published over thirty scientific research papers, written books entitled Ecology and Field Biology, Bird Finder and Pacific Coast Bird Finder, Amazing Birds (in seven languages),

Birds of New England, and recently, Birds of Bidwell Park. Dr. Lederer has taught ornithology and ecology, consulted for governmental agencies, environmental organizations and schools, and presented hundreds of public presentations to a wide variety of audiences. He has been contacted by BBC, National Geographic, Weather Notebook, National Public Radio, National Canadian Television, Vanity Fair Magazine, the Guinness Book of World Records, The Weakest Link, Real Simple Magazine, the Detroit Free Press, Voice of America, ABC News, and many other organizations and individuals for authoritative information on wild birds through his popular website, Ornithology.com. He also writes a weekly blog on birds for the Chico Enterprise Record. Dr. Lederer has traveled to and birded in 90 countries, having seen 3000 species, and lectures on cruise ships on ornithology and ecology. Events:

Laura Lush

Laura Lush is a life-long Yuba Sutter resident, artist, middle school teacher, nature enthusiast, and avid birder. She has been active with Middle Mountain Foundation for over 7 years and is also on the Board of Directors. Events:

Ryan Luster

Ryan Luster works for the Nature Conservancy. Events:

Charlie Mathews

Charlie Mathews and his family have been farmers in the area north of Marysville for multiple generations. He and family members are leaders in the rice industry and waterfowl conservation. Events:

John "Mac" McCormick

John “Mac” McCormick is a retired high school biology teacher of 37 years and the co-director of the San Francisco State University (SFSU) Sierra Nevada Field Station Bird Banding Program. Mac has caught and banded thousands of birds that most people only hope to see. Events:

Marjorie McNairn

Marjorie McNairn had led wildflower field trips for Mt. Lassen Chapter of the California Native Plant Society for over 25 years, and has compiled plant lists for several locations around this area. Events:

Mary Muchowski

Mary Muchowski has worked as a wildlife technician/biologist since 1988 with the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and also works for the Butte Environmental Council. She has lived in the Chico area since 1983, and really enjoys the bird-life of the area, especially in the winter! Events:

Nancy Nelson

Nancy Nelson is the current Altacal Audubon field trip coordinator and has been active in Altacal for 5 years. Events:

Gary Nielsen

Gary has birded for 40 years in Butte county and beyond. A particular love are birds of open horizons, be they raptors or seabirds. Since retiring from teaching he has spent nearly a year in the seabird colonies of the NW Hawaiian Islands, including 8 months on Midway among the 1.5 million Albatross. Events:

Northern Saw-whet Owl Monitoring Team

Bio to be provided soon. Events:

Michelle Ocken

Michelle Ocken is a graduate student at CSU, Chico where she is working on her Master’s degree in biology while studying Western Burrowing Owls. She is the founder and President of the Chico State Birding Club and is a member of Altacal Audubon Society. She also volunteers throughout the year banding Northern Saw-whet Owls and passerines. Events:

David O'Keefe

David O'Keefe has been observing birds one way or another for most of his life. He has done work for Pt. Reyes bird observatory and has helped with bird surveys across northern California. Currently he is actively renaming the birds of the north state with the titles the birds themselves use. Events:

Joseph O'Neil

Joseph O'Neil is a Certified Arborist with over 30 years of experience in the tree and nursery field, working at Mendon's Nursery in Paradise for 9 years and currently doing QA tree reports for PG&E. He has an Art degree from CSU Chico and has traveled the North State extensively. He’s been birding for 10 years and absolutely enjoys it. Events:

Sharon Perry

Sharon Perry has worked as an environmental educator. She is currently the chair of the Nature Sounds Society. Events:

Mike Peters

Mike Peters is the Refuge Manager for Colusa and Sutter Refuges, part of the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Events:

Shane Romain

Shane Romain received his BS from CSUC in Parks and Natural Resource Management in 2005. Since 2006 he has worked for the City of Chico as full-time Park Ranger. He also worked at the Sacramento NWR as a Visitor Service Assistant, and has volunteered for the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program. He worked part time for Calif. Waterfowl Association, where he created the Outdoor Education program at Rancho Esquon. Since the creation of the Outdoor Education program at Rancho Esquon, and now through the generosity of Mr. Ken Hofmann and the Community Youth Center, over 3000 students have been able to visit and experience the wonders of wetlands. Events:

Marilyn Rose

Marilyn Rose is the owner of Out of This World - Discount Binoculars located in Mendocino, CA. Events:

Lucas RossMerz

Born in Chico, Lucas is a native to the region and shares an intimate relationship with the Sacramento River. As the Program Manager for the Sacramento River Preservation Trust he manages outings and float trips, organizes public outreach and gives educational presentations about the Sacramento River Watershed. Lucas earned a B.S. at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in Environmental Management and Protection in 2010, concentrating his studies on water resource policy issues and hydrologic systems. Lucas is happy to be a voice for the Sacramento River, our largest and most valuable river in California. Events:

David Samuels

David Samuels is a retired middle school teacher who now enjoys spending part of his summers volunteering in our National Parks as an Astro VIP - Astronomy Volunteer in the Parks. He has presented solar viewing, star parties, and astronomy outreach programs in parks located in California, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Maine. Events:

Frank & Darliss Sanderson

Frank and Darliss Sanderson are avid birders, and consider their birding skills to be moderate/good. Frank and Darliss spend 3 to 5 days per week in the field birding locally and 30 to 90 days per year birding out of the area. Frank and Darliss bird at Anderson River Park two to three times per month and rank it as one their favorite Shasta County birding location. Events:

Peter Sands

Peter Sands is one of the landowners of the Dean Ranch in the Sutter Buttes. He is a naturalist for the Middle Mountain Foundation and an enthusiastic ornithologist. He has been the compiler of the Peace Valley Christmas bird count for the past 23 years. Events:

Ron & Nancy Sanford

Ron Sanford has been a professional photographer for over thirty years. Along with his wife Nancy, he has traveled the world taking photos for hundreds of calendars and magazines, including National Geographic, Audubon, National Wildlife and many others. Events:

Tom Savory

Tom has been a licensed falconer for over 40 years. Besides flying and training falcons and hawks, he has been involved in breeding projects for peregrine falcons, helping to restore dwindling populations to the wild. He has also spent many seasons in public schools teaching children about birds of prey. Tom gave up his career as a building contractor in 1996 to pursue a bird abatement career. With his background of Special Forces training in the military and his acquisition of a pilot's license, Tom found his niche flying his birds at March Air Force Base in Riverside, CA. He was successful at clearing the airspace of nuisance birds to prevent damage to airplane engines. He expanded his services to vineyards in San Luis Obispo and Napa, California. He then went on and expanded his services to blueberry farms in Oregon. With his team of 3 additional specialists, he is continuing to expand his services for the protection of vineyards, farms, and runways. Events:

Mauricio Schrader

Mauricio Schrader boomeranged back to birding in the last decade, and enjoys all aspects as an amateur. He was first introduced to birds by his 6th grade teacher in the Appalachian Mountains. He has a special interest in birding by ear and behavioral bird trivia. His favorite quote is: "Most of us who follow birds are partly scientist, partly sportsman, and partly poet." Leon Dawson, 1923 Events:

Julie Shaw

Julie Shaw is a Master's student at Chico State who is studying wintering Northern Saw-whet Owls using radio-telemetry. She works in the Vertebrate Museum on campus as a student assistant, preparing study skins, leading tours, and maintaining the collection. She also volunteers at the Northern Saw-whet Owl banding station 3 nights a week. Julie is also an avid runner who was a member of the Chico State cross country and track and field teams for 5 years. Events:

Debi Shearwater

Debi Shearwater owns Shearwater Journeys through which she has led pelagic birding tours since 1975. She is well-known for her extensive knowledge of pelagic birds and leads 40 tours a year in California as well as leading tours in other parts of the world, including Antarctica. In the 2011 movie, The Big Year, she was portrayed by actress Angelica Houston. Events:

Jackson Shedd

Jackson Shedd is a biologist with a strong interest in herpetology. He is also a bird-watcher, wildlife illustrator and wildlife photographer. A past President of Altacal Audubon Society, Jackson is a Chico native. In 2005, he wrote and illustrated a field guide, The Amphibians and Reptiles of Bidwell Park. He has led field trips and birding tours for the Snow Goose Festival, Altacal Audubon, and the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge for a number of years. He currently works for The Nature Conservancy. Events:

Joe Silveira

Joe Silveira is a Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 1990 and is currently stationed at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex, where some of his duties include wildlife habitat programs at Llano Seco. Events:

Ken Sobon

Ken Sobon is an avid birder and has been a science teacher to middle school students in Oroville for the last eighteen years. He has shared his love of science and birding with his students both in the classroom and in field. Events:

Bob Solari

Bob Solari has been carving wood since 1975. He has won several first place awards in carving competitions, and his work has been displayed in museums and galleries. An Honorary Life Member of the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association, he acts as judge in their annual wildlife art show. Events:

Marty Steidlemayer

Marty Steidlemayer is a Sutter Buttes landowner and rancher. Marty has an intimate knowledge of the Sutter Buttes landscapes. Events:

Paul Tebbel

Paul Tebbel has worked with cranes since 1976, including 11 years as the director of Audubon's Rowe Sanctuary on the Platte River in Nebraska, where more Sandhill Cranes gather every spring than any other location in the world. Events:

Dave Tinker

Dave Tinker is a Biology and Natural Resource teacher at Corning Union High School and is very familiar with this area. He has been very active in this river area for the last 15 years. He has been involved in bird censusing, wildlife viewing, and the maintaining of bird nest boxes. Events:

Andy Tomaselli

Andy Tomaselli is an avid outdoor enthusiast, having spent his young adult life working and living in Yosemite National Park where he first became curious about natural history. He is a self taught naturalist, learning most of the flora and fauna of California from field guides. Andy enjoys fly fishing, backcountry skiing and has spent many years helping with local Christmas Bird Counts. Andy refers to himself as a "smart alecky laymen" and likes to call his self-taught natural history a "burden of knowledge" that he is more than happy to unload on anyone who asks. He has resided in Chico for over 25 years and has explored the Northstate extensively; especially obscure out of the way locations. When not birding or botanizing with his lovely wife, he likes to pursue his creative side playing and singing American standards on the ukulele. Events:

Scott Torricelli

Scott Torricelli is an environmental educator for over twenty-five years. He currently teaches for the Chico Unified School District. Events:

Pamela Waldsmith

Pamela Waldsmith's profession is teaching while her other passions range from birding to kayaking, hiking, and photography. Events:

Bruce Webb, Swarovski Optik Field Tech

When Bruce Webb was a student at Chico State, he worked with Tim Manolis to write the "Annotated List of Birds of Butte County." Currently, he is the U.S. distributor of Wildlife Computing software products and is California’s Field Technician for Swarovski Optik, USA. Events:

Greg Weddig

Greg Weddig has sixteen years of experience in the professional audio industry, the last 8 or 9 have involved nature recording. He is a member of the Nature Sounds Society, a founding member of the Maryland Nature Recordists, and has taught field recording and editing classes. Greg is currently spending time scouting for recording locations near his home in Northern California. Events:

Dale Whitmore

Dale Whitmore is a Wildlife Biologist for the California Department of Fish and Game in Sutter, Yolo, and Sacramento Counties. Events:

John Whittlesey

John Whittlesey owns Canyon Creek Nursery & Design. He has served as the horticulture chairperson for the Mount Lassen Chapter of the California Native Plant Society and is a graduate of the California School of Garden Design. Events:

Mike Williams

Mike Williams is a life-long naturalist of the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and Cascades. Prior to arriving at Butte College, he served as the Director of the Sedgwick Reserve in the Santa Ynez Valley. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington. He has published in breeding bird censuses for the eastern Sierra Nevada in American Birds and possessed a master bird-banding permit for many years. Events:

Rick Wulbern

Rick Wulbern started birding in 2004. Since then he has birded in Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Hawaii, and Northern California. Joining Altacal in 2005, he has enjoyed going on many of their field trips and gaining knowledge from other birders. He looks forward to sharing what he has learned. Events:

Steve Zachery

Steve Zachary is a Park Ranger and the Education Specialist at Lassen Volcanic National Park for more than 17 years. He is an avid hiker and naturalist. Events: