Friday Night Presentation: Intriguing Owls
Naturalist, wildlife photographer and writer Stan Tekiela is the originator of the popular state-specific field guides such as Birds of (state name) Field Guide, Wildflowers of (state name), and Trees of (state name). Over the past three decades Stan has authored more than 130 field guides, nature appreciation books and wildlife audio CDs for nearly every state in the nation, presenting many species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, trees, wildflowers and cacti. Holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural History from the University of Minnesota and as an active professional naturalist for more than 25 years, Stan studies and photographs wildlife throughout the United States and has received various national and regional awards for his books and photographs. Also a well-known columnist and radio personality, his syndicated column appears in over 20 newspapers and his wildlife programs are broadcast on a number of Midwest radio stations. He is a member of the North American Nature Photography Association and Canon Professional Services along with many other professional organizations.
Saturday Afternoon Presentation: Owls to Orchids: Magic and Mystery in the Sax-Zim Bog
Sparky Stensaas is an author, naturalist, photographer, publisher, writer (i.e. ‘no full-time real job’) based in Wrenshall, Minnesota (over by Jay Cooke State Park). Sparky’s latest venture is Friends of Sax-Zim Bog (www.SaxZim.org) a non-profit aimed at educating the public about the natural history of bogs and dedicated to creating a Sax-Zim Birder/Photographer Welcome Center. When not chasing after his two young sons, he may be out taking photos, blogging (ThePhotoNaturalist.com) or playing Angry Birds.
Saturday Evening Presentation
“I’ve been birding since… umm… well I can’t remember because I was too young. I do not remember getting my first pair of binoculars or my first birding trip with my dad. It was my father that got me into birding at an early age. I have been birding for over 50 years and have birded in all 50 states and much of Canada. And I have always been smitten by the birding bug. I love to get outside and go find birds. Every trip out is an adventure.
The Big Year—The Reality and the Movie
In 1998 I zigzagged across the continent–traveling 130,000 miles while trying to hold down a full time job at a nuclear power plant–to try to see as many species of birds in one calendar year as possible. It was an incredible experience passing the 700-species mark—an achievement many birders aspire to in a lifetime. But there was competition. Two other birders, Sandy Komito and Al Levantin also did Big Years the same year as me and also broke the 700-mark.
Our competitive quests are documented in the 2004 non fiction book, The Big Year, by Pulitzer Prize winning author Mark Obmascik. And unbelievably, Twentieth Century Fox made a full feature motion picture inspired by the book! It has A-list actors Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson and a really strong support cast. It was produced by Ben Stiller and directed by David Frankel (who also did Marley & Me and The Devil Wears Prada).
I had the fortunate opportunity to be the Bird Consultant for the movie, The Big Year. It was filmed in spring & summer of 2010. I was on the set for 3 weeks with many of the actors and crew and got a chance to meet the stars, Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson. It was truly a treat to watch the movie being made and to have a part in the creation of a story for the silver screen.
I currently live in Sugarcreek in the heart of Amish Country in Northeast Ohio.