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Our Presenters, Childrenís Activities, and Field Trip Leaders for 2017

Keynote Speaker:
Julia K. Parrish
is the Lowell A. and Frankie L. Wakefield Professor of Ocean Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington, where she also serves as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of the Environment. For more than 30 years, Julia has conducted field research on seabirds, focused on the natural and human-caused factors causing population decline. In pursuit of Alaskan marine birds she has lived among storm-petrels on East Amatuli in the Barren Islands, tangled with a curious grizzly on Kayak Island, raced an Arctic fox to a beached bird on St. Paul in the Pribilofs, and deployed streamer lines to keep albatross away from longline gear in the middle of the Gulf of Alaska. Julia is also the Executive Director of the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), a 17 year old citizen science program responsible for training more than 4,000 participants to collect monthly data on the identity and abundance of beach-cast birds from northern California north to the Arctic Circle. Julia has been honored as a NOAA Year of the Oceans Environmental Hero, and has received a Champions of Change award at The White House for her leadership in coastal citizen science.


Mary F. Willson

Mary F. Willson was born and raised in Wisconsin. She received her PhD from the University of Washington in 1964, and was a professor of ecology at the University of Illinois from 1966-1989. She conducted ecological research in Juneau, Alaska, starting in 1989, publishing numerous scientific publications and several books. Since 2008, she has contributed a regular natural history column to the Juneau Empire.



Liliana Naves

Lili Naves is a biologist with a M.S. in biological oceanography and a Ph.D. in biodiversity. She researched seabird and shorebird feeding and breeding ecology in tropical, temperate, and Arctic ecosystems. In the last decade, Lili has blended biological and social sciences researching subsistence harvest in Alaska, especially bird and egg harvest. She works for the Division of Subsistence of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Anchorage and coordinates the Harvest Assessment Program of the Alaska Migratory Bird Co-Management Council. Her work relies on collaboration among Alaska Native, federal, and state entities integrating scientific and indigenous knowledge to protect sustainable subsistence uses of birds and to support bird conservation.

Presentation title
Subsistence harvest of birds and eggs in Alaska



Kayla Drumm

Kayla Drumm is currently a student at University of Alaska Southeast. She has participated in, helped coordinate, and written the reports of beach debris clean-ups since 2013 . She also worked with University of Alaska Anchorage on an archaeology dig based on Knight Island. Her favorite project she worked on was the Nearshore Marine project, that helped create baseline data for the marine diversity in Yakutat Bay, and also what sparked the idea of her book "Fishes of Yakutat Bay, Alaska." While not pursing her passions in science, Kayla enjoys painting both on canvases and large scale on the sides of buildings or picnic tables.




Don Lyons

Don is a professor at Oregon State University with an extensive background in avian ecology and a few current projects on the rarer Caspian Tern. Don works with Bird Research Northwest in the Columbia River Basin and Outer Basin studying Caspian Tern management and avian predation dynamics. He has a masters of science and a Ph.D. in Wildlife Science from Oregon State University as well as a bachelor's of science in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and master's of science in Electrical Engineering from University of California-Berkeley. While not pursing his passions in science, Don enjoys hiking, telemark and cross-country skiing, canoeing, ultimate frisbee, and dog training.




Denise Yvonne Turley

Denise grew up in rural areas in the western states and always had a great interest in wildlife and nature. She went to school at Brigham Young University and obtained a BS degree in Zoology in 1994. Denise became especially interested in birds when she met her first mother in law who was an avid birder and introduced her to the pastime. She spent the next 16 years raising and homeschooling her two daughters in rural Alaska 6 months of the year and traveling for the remaining 6 months of each year. Seven of those winters were aboard their personal sailboat exploring the Bahamas and Central America. Throughout that time she "birded" for her personal pleasure and loved getting to see new species from new locations, but also grew very fond of the species she found every summer in Alaska. In 2010 she began volunteering for Fish and Game and Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) near the Canadian border doing Rusty Blackbird, Waterfowl and Passerine Surveys. She was trained to mist net birds by Hank Timm and Bud Johnson who had been running the Tetlin NWR banding station for about 20 years (the second longest running mist netting station in Alaska). This was the year she began memorizing bird calls so that she'd be able to perform point counts in addition to other surveys. Denise spent the next five summers working for Tetlin NWR as a biotech doing bird surveys (waterfowl, passerine and peregrine falcon) and eventually becoming a lead bander at the banding station. During the winters I continued to travel, but also looked for bird work/volunteer opportunities during that time. She was fortunate enough to mist net birds on Maui and Kuaui and perform mammal surveys in Mojave National Preserve during some of this time. In late 2014 she moved to Sitka so that she could be near her youngest daughter who wanted to attend Mt. Edgecumbe High School (boarding school). Since she has moved to Sitka, she still travels to Tetlin NWR for a few weeks every summer to conduct bird surveys and occasionally does contract biology work when it is available. Denise travels at every opportunity, and has branched out to expand her skills to include emergency medicine, working as a naturalist and "guide" in various capacities, and volunteering with the Sitka Fire Department Dive Team. She recently married and has been having a wonderful time exploring the wild areas around Sitka with her husband Don Kluting.


Don Bremner

Don Bremner was born and raised in Yakutat. He has been involved with volunteering for the Yakutat Tern Festival for a couple of years. Most recently in planning the Tern Festival running race. Don has always been associated with running in different sports and forms. From high school and community basketball; Regimented training and running in the U.S. Marine Corps; Southeast Road Runner Club membership running; and has participated in helping volunteer for supporting road and trail races; now helping organize the Tern Festival Yakutat Widman races. There's too many reasons for being involved with running and the Yakutat Tern Festival, but in a couple of words, "It's Good!" 


Dave Dorsey

Dave and Ghost are excited about coming to the Yauktat Tern Festival. Dave is retired from the USAF and presently doing sales in Anchorage to help pay Ghost rat bill. Dave has been an Alaskan since 1984 and a volunteer at Bird TLC for 13 years now, having held almost every volunteers position at one time or another. Ghost came to Bird TLC in 2005 and Dave was one of the people who checked him into the clinic. He came from Soldotna with a broken wing and unfortunately it didnít heal properly. So he is flighted, but not well enough to take care of himself in the wild. Ghost has been traveling all over Alaska doing Education Programs for TLC since 2006. Heís 12 years old.


John Zarnetske

John is a retired high school and college educator. He has been a volunteer at Bird TLC for the last 6 years. A seriously injured juvenile Short-eared owl was found on the side of a road in Valdez in 2006, likely the victim of a strike by an automobile. She was immediately sent to Bird TLC for treatment. X-rays revealed fractures of her upper wing and lower right wing. Bird TLC veterinarians pinned the humerus, positioned the wrist and stabilized the wing. After period of healing, the fractures mended, but she was dragging her wing. A decision was made that she was not going to be releasable and that she would become part of Bird TLC's fleet of education birds. She is named Flame after the specific part of her scientific name, Asio flammeus. She has been entertaining Bird TLC audiences of all ages for nearly 11 years throughout Alaska. 


Sydney Lee Bolin

Sydney Bolin grew up in Kansas, spending each spring painting bird houses and owl boxes to hang up in her backyard. This love of wildlife transpired in her earning a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Kansas. While in school, she discovered a passion for communicating science which led her to Seward, Alaska to work as an Educator with the Alaska SeaLife Center. Her favorite outdoor activity in the Seward area is to explore the Chugach National Forest trails with her running shoes, listening to birds along the way. Although she no longer decorates the bird houses her family places throughout their yard in Kansas, she still receives phone calls informing her on what the birds are up to each spring. She is excited to continue expanding her knowledge of Alaskan species! 


Laura Woodward

Laura grew up in Conway, Arkansas with her outdoorsy family. After earning a Bachelor's degree from Hendrix College in Environmental Studies, she moved around the country working at eight different locations in five states in less than ten years. She fell in love with birding while working for an Audubon Center in Billings, Montana. She's excited to be back in Alaska and ready for spring bird migration!  


Brady Skidmore

Brady has lived in western Washington his whole life, where from a young age he was introduced to hiking and spending time in nature. Initially he earned a BS in Network and Communications Management, followed by working in the IT field for 10 years. His passion for the outdoors however drew him back to school, where he is currently pursuing an AAS in Natural Resources Ė Forestry. Brady will be spending be spending the summer in Yakutat as a Recreation Technician intern where he hopes to learn as much as possible about recreation management, the local vegetation, the birds and mammals of the area.


Lauren Sill

Lauren Sill works for the Division of Subsistence with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Since 2010 she has been the subsistence resource specialist for Southeast Alaska. Based out of Juneau, Lauren spends much of her time on research and working with local communities to document the harvests and uses of wild resources by Southeast Alaskans. Lauren earned a masterís degree in Northern Studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a bachelorís degree from Mount Holyoke College.


Barbara Cellarius

Barbara Cellarius has been the cultural anthropologist and subsistence specialist for Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve since October 2002. Much of Barbaraís time is spent working with local residents, including the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Subsistence Resource Commission, and with agency staff on various aspects of managing the consumptive use of park resources. She also serves as the parkís tribal liaison and cultural anthropologist. Prior to joining the NPS in 2002, Barbara completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale, Germany. She earned a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Kentucky, a Master of Environmental Studies degree from the Evergreen State College, and a bachelorís degree in anthropology from Bryn Mawr College.


Mary Sutkowski

Mary Sutkowski first came to Alaska at age seven to visit family with her grandmother. She panned for gold, explored glaciers and mountains, and was fascinated by the abundant wildlife and massive expanses. Alaska had left a lasting impression that she only recently came to realize. Last fall, Mary took an unforeseen turn in her life in the midst of pursuing her Masters in Animal Behavior and Conservation and became a SCA intern with the Forest Service in Yakutat. She worked with Lisa Byers, the River Ranger, and on other wildlife projects. She quickly fell in love with the wilderness and the people here, rekindling her love of fishing, learning to surf, and soaking up as much of Yakutat as she could in her short time here. As opportunities arose, she grabbed each one that she could, to ensure that she could remain in Alaska. Mary became interested in learning about terns and the festival while she was in Yakutat, and readily jumped at the opportunity to help out with coordinating the festival this year. She's excited to be here and to be expanding her knowledge of birding! 


Analeigh Sanderson

Analeigh Sanderson has always had a dual interest in exploring the world around her, and the one within her. These passions were encouraged throughout her childhood and funneled into a BFA in Modern Dance, and BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies at the University of Utah. She was nominated for Department of Modern Dance Outstanding Senior award, College of Fine Arts Outstanding Undergraduate Research award, and awarded the Emerging Leaders scholarship, College of Behavioral Science academic scholarship and Department of Modern Dance merit scholarship. Having taking two study abroad terms in Brazil and Costa Rica, and spending a summer teaching English to kindergartners in Taiwan, she continued adventuring post-graduation. A summer in Denali, AK influenced her to return to the 49th state, this time as an SCA River Ranger Intern with the US Forest Service in Yakutat.

Nate Catterson

Originally from the East Coast, Nate was lured to Alaska by the prospect of seasonal fisheries work and fly-fish guiding -- basically by wild salmon and trout. Twelve years later, he's still there working full time as a biologist for the U.S. Forest Service in Yakutat and supplementing his fishing with kayaking, birding and surfing.  Nate has been instrumental in the Aleutian Tern research being conducted in the Yakutat area. 


Teresa Swanson

Teresa Swanson has lived in Alaska most of her life, but grad school and a fisheries biology career drew her away to study fish in the Grand Canyon and Yellow Stone National Park.  While her earliest jobs were associated with the commercial salmon industry, most of her work experience has been studying fish in Wyoming, Arizona, and Alaska.  Teresaís outdoor experiences, growing up in Alaska, have shaped her recreational and biological points of views. She has worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a Fisheries Technician on the Chugach National Forest, and currently she works for the Tongass National Forest as a Resource Assistant on the Yakutat Ranger District.  Teresa is busily expanding her skills and interests to include birding!


Susan Oehlers

Susan Oehlers grew up in Minnesota, and has a bachelorís of science degree from the University of Minnesota and a Masterís Degree in wildlife biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Susan has worked with a wide variety of animals and birds, including wolves, moose, brown bears, small mammals, spotted owls, songbirds, Canada geese, and terns.  Susan is currently the wildlife biologist for the Yakutat Ranger District of the Tongass National Forest, and is involved in the Yakutat-based Aleutian tern research.  Susan enjoys learning more about birds and sharing her knowledge with local students.


Kris Widdows

Kris Widdows has lived in Yakutat for 40 years, and has worked in various capacities for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Forest Service over the years, while also running a charter boat company with her husband Geoff.  Kris is still learning her birds, and is anxious to share her extensive knowledge of the area with festival participants.


Jim Capra

Jim Capra is the Dry Bay Ranger for Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. Jim began work in Yakutat in April of 1995, and began his career with the Park Service as a seasonal law enforcement Park Ranger in 1987 in Colorado at Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP.  Jim is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys running, hiking, skiing, fishing, snowshoeing, hunting, trapping, and birding, and is also a small plane pilot. 


Lee Benson

Lee grew up in rural Minnesota and developed an interest in the outdoors while enjoying the wonders of farm life.  He received his education at Colorado State University where he earned a B.S. in Zoology and worked in graduate research in wildlife biology and range conservation, working for several years on prairie grouse and conducting passerine surveys in Colorado.  He has worked for the federal government for 20 years and is currently the District Ranger on the Yakutat Ranger District.  In addition to Forest Service work in Alaska and New Mexico, he has worked for both the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management in Arizona and Oregon, respectively.  His assignments have included working as a Range Conservationist and Wildlife Biologist.

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