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Our Presenters, Children’s Activities, and Field Trip Leaders for 2018

Keynote Speaker:

Lynn Schooler is an Alaskan writer, photographer, and woodworker who worked as a wilderness guide for over 25 years, specializing in serving wildlife photographers and natural history film makers. He is the author of the Blue BearWalking Home, The Last Shot, and Heartbroke BayWalking Home was awarded Canada's Banff Film and Book Festival ‘Best Mountain Literature’ award in 2011. He is a regular contributor to the Japanese arts, travel, and culture magazine Coyote, and his writing has been published in a dozen languages. His photos of Alaska have been featured in publications world-wide. In 2014 he was invited to France as the ‘Foreign Guest of Honor’ at Europe’s largest outdoor photography event,  the Festival Montier, where an exhibition of his photos was viewed by more than 40,000 visitors. He has lived in Alaska nearly fifty years, but of late has been joining ranks with the Pacific golden plovers, ruddy turnstones, and wandering tattlers that migrate to Hawaii for the winter, where the birds hang out on the beach and Schooler runs a coffee farm. 


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 didn’t 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. He’s 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. 


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 – 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.


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! 

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