Warblers on the Water

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Expert Field Guides, Researchers, and Presenters
for the Warblers on the Water 2017

Darrell Lawson

Darrell Lawson (Expert Field Guide and Presenter)

Darrell Lawson began birding four years ago and developed an instant passion for our avian friends.  He is the acting president of the Petoskey Regional Audubon Society and is a committee member for the Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch.  He routinely leads field trips in Northwest Michigan and the Eastern Upper Peninsula. Although he now birds routinely both inside and outside of the state of Michigan, Beaver Island has become his favorite birding destination and he has helped to organize and lead fall pelagic trips to the Island the past three years. This will be his fourth year leading field trips for the spring festival.



Brian Allan

Brian Allen (Expert Field Guide and Presenter)

Brian joined the Grand Rapids Audubon Club while he was still in high school, and there he participated in Christmas Bird Counts. When he attended Michigan State University, he was such an accomplished birder, he was able to teach the ornithology lab while taking the course.

Upon graduation, Brian joined the Peace Corps. He served two years in Botswana, living at the edge of the Kalahari Desert, teaching biology, chemistry and physics at a regional high school. He also ran the school’s first aid clinic, coached track and was advisor to the wildlife club. He birded as much as possible in Africa. Before he left, he co-authored a published article on the birds of S. E. Botswana. Declining bird populations inspired Brian to become involved conserving bird habitat. In the 1990’s, he founded the Points Betsie to Sable Conservancy.

This Conservancy became part of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, where he served on the Board of Directors for eight years, where he was thrilled with his role helping to steer protection for birds and their habitats. Tropical birding trips stimulated his desire to protect habitat south of the border. After joining the American Bird Conservancy, he helped raise funds for the Amazon Conservation Association and the Los Amigos Biological Station in Peru. Although Brian felt fortunate to be able to experience the bird flocks of the Andes and Amazon, he also felt a responsibility to tell the tale of the struggles of the conservation movement there. Articles he wrote about the issue were published in Traverse Magazine, The Jack Pine Warbler, and Michigan Birds and Natural History.

Brian is a Board Member for Saving Birds Thru Habitat. He sees many threats to our birdlife, and hopes that his work for Saving Birds will help to extend the organization’s reach and efforts.

Chace Sholten

Chace Sholten (Expert Field Guide)

Chace Scholten is from Holland, Michigan. His love for birds has been strong ever since coming across a Great Horned Owl nest in the woods behind his middle school. Birding has taken him all over the state and beyond. Previously he has volunteered with the Michigan Audubon Society, leading a “freshwater pelagic” trip out of St. Joseph, MI. In the summer of 2016, he participated in a research project studying grassland birds in West Michigan, including the state endangered Henslow’s Sparrow. He most enjoys birding the shores of Lake Michigan, watching migration and hoping to find the next rare bird.


Dr. Nancy Seefelt

Dr. Nancy Seefelt:  Avian Research in the Beaver Archipelago of Northern Lake Michigan (Researcher)

Nancy Seefelt is a Michigan native who grew up in Sterling Heights, near Detroit.  After high school, she enrolled at Central Michigan University (CMU) and discovered Beaver Island when she took a class at the CMU Biological Station after her freshman year. Nancy received her M.S. degree from CMU and her doctorate from Michigan State University and currently holds a faculty position in the Biology Department at CMU During the summer field season, much of her research focuses on avian ecology, specifically the breeding biology of waterbirds (gulls, terns, herons and cormorants) in northern Lake Michigan and the stopover ecology of migrating songbirds along Michigan shorelines.

The migration work involves censusing, mist netting, and remote acoustical monitoring; the acoustic monitors also  track the sounds of migratory bats.  In addition,Nancy monitors the breeding activities of the endangered Piping Plover as part of the recovery program for this species.  As a vertebrate ecologist and evolutionary biologist, Nancy has been  studying birds throughout the Beaver Island Archipelago for over 20 years.

Jerry Weinrich

Ed Leuck (Expert Field Guide)

Ed Leuck is a retired Professor Emeritus of biology at Centenary College of Louisiana where he taught ecology, conservation biology and microbiology and developed the campus arboretum. He has been coming to the Island since 1985 and has taught at the Central Michigan University Biological Station. He is the senior author of Plants of Beaver Island, Part I: Bogs and Fens and Part II: Lake Michigan Beaches and Sand Dunes and spends summers at his house on Sand Bay while continuing to investigate the island flora and participating in island conservation efforts.

Jerry Weinrich

Terry and Andrea Grabill (Expert Field Guides)

Terry and Andrea Grabill are from Newaygo County, Michigan, where Terry is a middle school science teacher and Andrea is a licensed and certified pharmacy technician.  Terry has been birding all his life and started birding Beaver Island in 1989 when he enrolled in an ornithology course at CMU’s Biological Station.  He also serves as an administrator of the Facebook group “Birding Michigan”.  Andrea began birding with Terry when they met in 2009.  The couple is on the island annually when they bring students from Fremont Middle School to study birds, snakes and rocks.  The Grabills are active volunteers for Black Swamp Bird Observatory’s Biggest Week in American Birding and are involved in starting a Michigan Audubon chapter in Newaygo/Mecosta County.  Their birding blog can be found at www.birdgoober.com

Dr Theisen

Cathy Theisen (Presenter)

Dr. Cathy Theisen has practiced small animal medicine for 30 years; she is at present a house call veterinarian in Ann Arbor and the Medical Director at Baker College of Veterinary Technology in Jackson, MI. She is a two-time Iditarod Sled Dog Race veterinarian, a veteran of several third world volunteer spay/neuter missions, and has deployed several times as a federal first responder on the National Veterinary Response Team (NVRT). She is an avid birder and traveler, serves as the Education Chair for Washtenaw Audubon Society, and is happily owned by 3 cats and 2 dogs!


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