Leader Biographies

The Huron Fringe Birding Festival attracts top leaders in the birding and natural history communities. From our own Bruce and Grey county experts to Ontario's foremost naturalists, we have a wonderful roster of leaders on a range of event topics.

Each of our leaders is selected for his or her skills leading birding hikes, workshops and presentations, photography sessions, wildflower walks or archaeology outings.

Click on each name to view the Leader Biography.  You can also access the biographies during the registration process.


  • Abby Collins

    Abby Collins has had a keen interest in birds her whole life, having attended nearly every Huron Fringe Birding Festival. 23 out of 24 festivals isn’t too bad! Her love of warblers was sparked by countless American Redstarts arriving in MacGregor every spring. Hailing from Bruce County, she now enjoys discovering new birds from her home in Perth County.

    Abby is a primary atlasser in the 2021-2025 Breeding Bird Atlas, along with being a member of several local birding clubs. She’s a graduate of the Ontario Master Naturalist Program from Lakehead University. You can be sure her binoculars are never far from reach.

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  • Alfred Raab

    The Huron Fringe Birding Festival is pleased to have Alfred as one of our hike leaders. A veteran Ontario Field Ornithologists leader and a birding tour leader in Panama, he is very familiar with the Bruce Peninsula and its many highlights. We know you will enjoy Alfred's leadership.

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  • Arni Stinnissen

    Arni is a life-long naturalist and conservationist and has recently relocated to the Bruce Peninsula from Orillia where he was the Vice-president of the Orillia Naturalists’ club. He currently volunteers for the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory, Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association and Bruce Peninsula National Park. Arni is proud to have had his images published in conservation-themed, international journals including the prestigious Birdlife Australia, Wild Seed Project in Maine, National Audubon Society and Canadian Geographic.

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  • Audrey Armstrong

    For many years Audrey was a presenter with the Monarch Teacher Network, leading workshops on the monarch butterfly, habitat development and Voices From the Land (engaging children and adults with art through nature, language and drama) throughout Canada and the USA. She taught elementary school with the Bluewater District School Board for 25 years. Prior to teaching, Audrey had a career as a designer/weaver of wearable art and a founding member of Makers gallery in Owen Sound. She now embraces the opportunity to travel, hike, ski, bike, canoe and explore this wonderful world with her husband and share her love and concerns for the natural world and monarch butterflies with the public.

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  • Barbara Palmer

    Barbara Palmer is a former teacher who hails from Grey County. Hiking the Bruce Trail on a school trip as a child opened her eyes to the natural beauty of her own backyard. This in turn, lead her to be curious about the flora encountered, especially wildflowers, and later ferns. She continues to enjoy hiking, and is fortunate to spend time on the Bruce Peninsula. She is a long time member of the Owen Sound Field Naturalists, with a strong interest in botany.

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  • Bill Crins

    Bill is a talented ecologist with particular expertise in birds, grasses and sedges and wildflowers. He started his career as an interpretive naturalist at Algonquin Park. Bill retired in 2016 as the Senior Program Coordinator, Resource Conservation with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. As a lecturer at University of Toronto's Scarborough Campus, Bill continues to share his interest and knowledge of Population and Community Ecology.

    Bill's quiet manner camouflages a vast knowledge that he willingly shares during his hikes.

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  • Bluewater Astronomical Society

    The Bluewater Astronomical Society promotes astronomy education in the Bluewater counties of Bruce and Grey. Their organization holds star gazing sessions, lectures and astronomy events for students and the general public. They have a large, modern observatory, the ES Fox Observatory, on the grounds of the Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre which is now Canada's 15th Dark Sky Preserve. There they show, to young and old alike, views of the moon, planets, star clusters, galaxies and nebulae. Their Dark Sky Preserve provides heavenly views under one of the best star gazing sites in Ontario. You will be amazed! 

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  • Bob Gray

    Bob’s background is in physical geography and biology. Most of his career was spent working locally as a naturalist and ecologist for the Ministry of Natural Resources. Today, he enjoys bumping around his farm in old Keppel Township, boiling sap, cross-country skiing and kayaking. Bob has worked with the Owen Sound Field Naturalists over many years to publish several books about the natural history of Grey and Bruce Counties. One of the books “Geology and Landforms of Grey and Bruce Counties” forms the basis for one of the outings of the festival. Bob is currently research chair of the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association. Don’t ask him anything about sugar maple or maple syrup as he won’t stop talking about it.

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  • Bob Noble

    Bob is a retired I/T professional from Brampton who has a keen interest in the natural world. He is a past president of the West Humber Naturalists and has extensive experience participating in citizen science projects including bird surveys and road ecology monitoring. Since his retirement, he has rediscovered his passion for photography, especially macrophotography. Over the last few years he has developed techniques that allow him to consistently capture high-quality images of the insect world. His photographs have been published in a number of magazines and field guides and he frequently leads macrophotography workshops. https://bobnoblephoto.wordpress.com/

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  • Chris Tomsett
    Chris Tomsett

    Very few people can say they have an intimate knowledge of a Provincial Park; but Chris can. Chris was the Superintendent of MacGregor Point Provincial Park for around 30 of its 44 years of operation. In addition to managing MacGregor Point, he was responsible for Nature Reserve class parks in Bruce and Grey counties and Sauble Falls and Inverhuron Provincial Parks.

    Now retired, he has put on many miles in a Roadtrek, exploring parks near and far!  

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  • Dana Latour

    Dana Latour is passionate about conservation and enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for birding. From a very young age she has been interested in all forms of nature, especially birds. She is pursuing this interest by studying Wildlife Biology and Conservation at the University of Guelph.

    Dana’s primary focus is on birds but she can also identify reptiles, amphibians, and butterflies.

    Dana loves to share her knowledge and has led bird and nature outings in Huron County. She has developed a keen ear for bird calls through study and extensive experience monitoring morning flight and nocturnal migration.

    Dana also volunteers for the Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program, multiple Christmas Bird Counts, and is the primary atlasser for three squares for Ontario’s 3rd breeding bird atlas. Dana's dedication, passion and skill will make for a fun and educational outing!

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  • David Brewer

    David Brewer started bird watching when he got his first bicycle, at about age eleven, and got a master bird-banding permit at seventeen. By profession he is an organic chemist, with degrees from Cambridge and Glasgow; he spent much of his spare time in Scotland banding Gannets and has the scars to prove it. After graduation he did a years' fellowship at the University of Arizona, from where he made many forays into Mexico, thereby starting one of his major interests, Neotropical birds. Since retirement from Uniroyal Chemical in Guelph he has spent his time travelling (to all seven continents), guiding on Polar cruises (he's been to Antarctica twenty-five times and the North Pole three) and writing bird books, including a birders' guide to Central America. His main interests are bird conservation, banding and migration.

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  • David Gascoigne

    David has had a lifelong interest in birds beginning at the age of eight. He has a Bachelor of Commerce degree but has studied ornithology at Trent University in Peterborough, ON , in addition to having a huge ornithological library and studying birds all his life. David spends time in the field most days.

    David is a past president of Waterloo Region Nature, past Chairman of the Friends of Kawartha Conservation, and does bird monitoring for the rare Charitable Research Reserve in Cambridge, ON, in addition to doing a weekly survey for the University of Waterloo and sessional undergraduate lectures and practical field ecology.  David volunteered his time and expertise to the City of Waterloo in the development of the Waterloo Sports Complex and Environmental Reserve, and his voice may be heard on the interactive sign at the park. David was on the management committee of, and delivered presentations at, the Wonders of Nature event held annually in Kitchener. David regularly makes presentations in the Kitchener Public Library’s Nature in the City series and to a whole host of other organizations and schools, having travelled as far away as Kansas, USA.

    David has been a judge at the Envirofair held at the University of Waterloo and was a judge at the 2018 and 2019 Canadian National Wildfowl Carving Championship.

    Currently, David is volunteering with a private landowner in St. Agatha to transform a 119 acre farm into an environmental preserve. Numerous significant initiatives have already been implemented and more are planned. In this connection endangered Barn Swallows have been radio-tracked after they leave Waterloo on their journey to South America, and much other scientific work has been undertaken in cooperation with the Ecology Lab at the University of Waterloo. Forty acres of the property have now been converted to a a tall grass prairie with all its attendant biodiversity. We have confirmed Vesper Sparrows breeding there, and Bobolinks have made exploratory visits.

    In 1990 received an award for Outstanding Civic Contribution from the Town of Markham. David is the 2018 recipient of the Waterloo Region Nature Conservation award.

    David is a member of the Ecological and Environmental Advisory Committee for the Region of Waterloo, and is a Canadian reviewer for Princeton University Press’ natural history books.

    David has travelled the world to discover new birds and study their ecology, having visited every continent except Antarctica.

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  • David Turner

    David has been birding since he was a young lad growing up in the English countryside. His interest continued after his move to Canada in his late teens and was strongly reignited again after time spent in Central America.  Currently, David is a popular leader for the Owen Sound Field Naturalists, and with local birders, with a focus on the Beaver Valley. During the pandemic he started up a ‘Birding Beaver Valley’ Facebook group for ‘a few people who might be interested’ and it has grown into hundreds of members.  He co-established and guides for the ‘Boots, Birds and Breakfast’ birding and nature tour company in the Beaver Valley. 

    David is also a lifetime botany enthusiast, professional gardener and plant health care specialist.  David has been birding since he was a young lad growing up in the English countryside. His interest continued after his move to Canada in his late teens and was strongly reignited again after time spent in Central America.  Currently, David is a popular leader for the Owen Sound Field Naturalists, and with local birders, with a focus on the Beaver Valley. During the pandemic he started up a ‘Birding Beaver Valley’ Facebook group for ‘a few people who might be interested’ and it has grown into hundreds of members.  He co-established and guides for the ‘Boots, Birds and Breakfast’ birding and nature tour company in the Beaver Valley. 

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  • Dennis Lewington
    Dennis & Gwen Lewington

    Dennis and Gwen have been enjoying the Bruce Peninsula for over 50 years. They started bird watching in 1982 when a Pileated Woodpecker landed on a large maple tree in front of their cottage and out of curiosity, purchased a field guide. They were hooked!

    They were encouraged by Martin Parker to participate in the first Bird Atlassing Project and subsequently volunteered again from 2001 - 2005. Martin was Dennis' mentor and provided him with four bluebird nesting boxes to put up on the Bruce. These first Eastern Bluebird nests were located at Silver Creek Cemetery in 1982. Since then Dennis and Gwen have fledged 2,723 Eastern Bluebirds.

    Today they check 100 bluebird boxes during the breeding season. They have also had good success with Tree Swallows, House Wrens and Black-capped Chickadees.

    Gwen is a valuable secretary and has been maintaining the fledging records since the beginning.

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  • Doug Pedwell

    Since retiring from teaching, Doug has been able to indulge his lifelong passions of nature study, photography and travel. He can often be found wandering the back roads of Bruce and Grey counties in search of flora, fauna and landforms to photograph. A member of the Bruce Birding Club, the Saugeen Shores Camera Club and a past-president of the Friends of MacGregor Point Park, you will definitely feel satisfied after one of Doug's field trips.

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  • Emily Rondel

    Emily Rondel is a naturalist, biologist and science educator with a particular love of birds.  Following a zoology degree, her Master's focused on community science applications for the study of Ornithology in protected areas.  She has worked as a bird biologist at Birds Canada, with a particular focus on Species at Risk (especially the Golden-winged Warbler), and urban bird populations.  In addition to research, Emily has been teaching people about bird identification and field techniques for over a decade in the field and in the classroom.  Emily has served on the board of the Toronto Ornithological Club for over 10 years, and is now its President.  She is on the volunteer committee of the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, is a regional coordinator for the Toronto Region for the Atlas, and is an enthusiastic contributor to many community science programs. 

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  • Ezra Campanelli

    Ezra is a birder from Hamilton and has been passionate about birds since childhood. As he says: “Birds never cease to fascinate me with every new thing I learn about them, and I am always astounded by their beauty. Birding has taken me all across the continent and is a massively fulfilling pass-time that I hope will continue to grow. I volunteered as a photographer and bander at the Haldimand Bird Observatory’s banding station at Ruthven Park for many years. In the summer of 2021, I worked doing field and remote surveys for a consulting company. I am a primary atlasser for the third Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas. In 2022, I am doing an Ontario Big Year where I’ll be shooting for the record of 347 species. I am thrilled to be co-leading this day of birding for the festival with my friend Kiah. Extreme birding ventures like the big-day-style outing we’ll be taking you on are very much in line with the type of birding I love to do.: 

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  • Fred Jazvac

    Fred Jazvac is a veteran member of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival planning committee, a member and a past-president of the Owen Sound Field Naturalists and the organizer of the Bruce Birding Club. He has given workshops on a variety of topics both at the festival and for other naturalist groups. 

    He is a retired teacher, football and basketball coach having worked with the Hamilton Board of Education. In fact, Fred was inducted into the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame along with his team, the Hamilton Hurricanes who won a Canadian Championship in 1972. 

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  • Gerald Guenkel

    Gerald has a love for nature, wood and teaching. These interests combined seamlessly in a 30-year career as a professor of forestry at Fleming College. He has worked in wood in all forms; standing, in the round, lumber and even as paddles! Currently Gerald is a forestry consultant and creates carvings using chainsaws.

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  • Grant Gilchrist
    Grant Gilchrist

    Grant is a Research Scientist at the National Wildlife Research Centre in Ottawa (Environment and Climate Change Canada) and currently an adjunct professor at Carleton University, Acadia University, and the University of Windsor. Early in his career he was influenced and inspired by several long-term ecological studies lead by Jamie Smith (song sparrows, University of British Columbia), Tony Gaston (seabirds, Environment Canada), and Ian Stirling (Polar Bears, Environment Canada). These studies not only quantified environmental change over time, but also the often complex responses of wildlife to these changes. These rare studies were instrumental when detecting ecological change driven by extreme weather events, diet shifts, the emergence of diseases, and climate change; all issues that might otherwise have gone undetected.


    After joining Environment Canada in 1995, Grant worked to emulate these studies when designing his own research program to address Federal priorities to conserve Arctic birds and ecosystems. He now leads multidisciplinary research programs in the field to provide insights into the underlying processes of Arctic seabird ecology. These include foraging behaviour, reproduction, migration, winter distribution, and how seabirds are affected by changing climate and emerging diseases in the north. Most studies are very collaborative and multidisciplinary in nature; linking academia, government, industry, and Indigenous organizations. He also takes a particular interest in supporting early career scientists.

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  • Ian Shanahan

    Ian Shanahan was exposed to the natural world from the very beginning alongside his father Don. The moment that truly hooked him, however, came at age 12 when a Peregrine Falcon whizzed by him and his dad at top speed on the beach at Presqu’ile Provincial Park on Lake Ontario. 

    Ian's formal education in the arts and education was interspersed with working as an interpretive naturalist at Presqu’ile and Algonquin Provincial Parks over 13 seasons where his interest in birds spread to other winged creatures and all aspects of the natural world. He also served as Senior Park Naturalist at Algonquin where he coordinated the Park's long-standing education program.

    Ian has led nature tours across southern Ontario, including two annual birding outings with the Ontario Field Ornithologists. He completed a two-year term as the co-editor of OFO's long-standing tri-annual publication OFO News and is now the General Editor of Green Teacher magazine. Previously, Ian led group tours to destinations including the Canadian Arctic, the Bay of Fundy, Hudson Bay, the Prairies, Iceland, the Galápagos Islands, and Costa Rica. He leads tours locally near Presqu'ile Park with Shrew - Connecting People with Nature.

    The spring bird migration through southern Ontario has always been a source of inspiration and wonder, and Ian can't wait to share it with you!

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  • James Turland

    James has led hikes at MacGregor Point and for the Bruce Birding Club for a number of years.  He shares his interest with family and friends often turning his passion for birds into a friendly competition. He finds this spurs him on to new heights and results in never-ending listing. James feels that birding can be as much about hearing as seeing and will help you to search out rarities that are present but easily overlooked. He oversees the Bruce Birding Club's webpage.

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  • Jarmo Jalava

    Jarmo Jalava was a keen birder long before he could seriously grow facial hair. His first teenage summer job involved reintroducing endangered Peregrine Falcons to the wilds of Algonquin Park in 1978. Since then, he has devoted his life to advancing the cause of healthy ecosystems with science and creativity, working closely with First Nations, federal and provincial agencies and many NGOs, as well as the private sector.  He currently serves as ecologist/advisor for the Saugeen Ojibway Nation Environment Office and is involved in many other conservation initiatives. Jarmo lives in a 130-year old log home on the beautiful Saugeen Bruce Peninsula, where his backyard visitors include Red-headed Woodpeckers, Eastern Bluebirds, Sandhill Cranes and even the occasional Peregrine Falcon.

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  • Jean Iron
    Jean Iron

    Jean is well known to Ontario birders; she was president of the Ontario Field Ornithologists (OFO) from 1995 - 2004 and edited OFO News for 14 years. Her special interests are shorebirds, grassland birds, gulls, bird identification and digiscoping. Jean loves the Hudson Bay Lowlands of northen Ontario and spends her summers as a volunteer surveying shorebirds and waterfowl around James and Hudson bays for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Royal Ontario Museum. Jean is a leader for Quest Nature Tours to French Polynesia, Svalbard - Norwegian Arctic, Belize and Guatemala and Galapagos. In 2016 Jean was named a Distinguished Ornithologist by OFO.

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  • Jenna McGuire
    Jenna McGuire

    Jenna grew up on the north Bruce Peninsula. She left to get a degree in wildlife biology and scientific illustration and returned to work for Parks Canada in Tobermory in ecological research and nature interpretation. Her passion is learning about, teaching and preserving traditional Métis skills and knowledge. Jenna recognizes that Métis art forms capture her people’s history and nature and that traditional art forms such as beading and moccasin making help keep her culture alive. She likes to use her illustration and communication skills to record knowledge and teach others about nature and history. As an artist, it is her wish to create art that simply inspires others and hopefully, captures the Métis spirit.

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  • Jeremy Bensette
    Jeremy Bensette

    Jeremy is a career naturalist, photographer, and tour guide at Point Pelee and across Ontario. He lives in  Leamington, Ontario. He takes part in citizen science and volunteering programs, and is a contract field biologist with Bird Studies Canada. He is member of the Vortex Optics Field Team and an active member in naturalist clubs like Ontario Field Ornithologists and Essex County Field Naturalists, as well as many online naturalist communities.

    Jeremy holds the record for the most bird species spotted in a single year in Ontario! 

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  • Jerry Asling

    Jerry Asling is a retired dentist and in retirement has been a member of Saugeen Nature since 1980 and on the board for most of that time. He has chaired the program committee of Saugeen Nature for the past 26 years. With his wife, Joan, Jerry has maintained a bluebird trail of over 400 boxes in Grey Bruce for 27 years. For this activity, Jerry and Joan received Ontario Nature's WWH Gunn Conservation Award for 2014.

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  • Jim Coles

    Jim Coles brings a love of the out-of-doors and his knowledge of forestry to the festival. He will share his understanding of trees, their identification and ecology by studying their buds and bark. He has worked both domestically and internationally in the field of forestry and supports many stewardship initiatives in the county. We are fortunate that he has retired in Bruce County.

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  • John Hlynialuk
    John Hlynialuk

    John is a retired science teacher and taught in Bruce and Grey County schools, mostly in the last century (1970 to 2003). His interest in astronomy goes back to 1972 when he attempted to observe his first eclipse (Gaspe, Quebec) and was clouded out. Not to be discouraged, he took up night time viewing and developed a passion for photographing the moon, northern lights, constellations and planetary alignments in the sky. He joined with other teachers in the area, notably Doug Cunningham, and with groups of students from local high school astronomy clubs, spent the next two decades observing a variety of phenomena in the night sky. 

    John was part of the founding group of the Bruce County Astronomical Society (now called the Bluewater Astronomical Society) that for over 20 years has been active in promoting public astronomy locally. Currently the society is in a partnership with the Bluewater Ed Foundation and the Institute for Outdoor Education and Environmental Studies which together have built a large roll-off roof observatory at the OEC. The intention is to provide astronomy education to students and the general public and to give BAS members access to a modern observing facility. 

    John's other interests include wildlife and landscape photography, hiking, and other outdoor activities like geology and canoeing. John is an knowledgeable speaker and enjoys sharing his knowledge of astronomy with a wide audience. He has been know to appear in alter egos (notably Galileo and Dr. Albert) to make science and astronomy interesting to younger audiences. 

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  • John Reaume

    John has an eye for detail and has used it in his hobby of wildlife photography these past 34 years. He started off specializing in bird photography but his interests have broadened and now include the wonders from the world of macrophotography (dragonflies and spiders) to astrophotography (sun and moon to far off nebulas). His photos have graced the covers of a number of magazines and books including Ontario’s latest Breeding Bird Atlas. John lives in nearby Grey County and is an active member of the Saugeen Field Naturalists. John is a practicing rural physician in the town of Mount Forest.

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  • Justin Peter

    Justin truly lives "for the birds". In fact, he cannot remember a time when he was not interested in birds and nature more generally. He spent much of his childhood consulting his considerable nature book collection. At age 14, a family friend invited Justin to attend the birding course he was teaching for adults as part of the local school board's continuing education program. Justin soon assumed the role of unofficial assistant in the classroom as well as co-leader and, later, leader of the field excursions. After university studies that saw his interest in nature fall to the wayside, he re-directed his interests to the outdoors, landing work as a seasonal, and then full-time interpretive naturalist at Gatineau Park, a federally-managed park in Quebec near Ottawa. Three years later, he began full-time work as Senior Park Naturalist at Algonquin Park, where he worked for almost 7 years, organizing the park's educational programming based at the Visitor Centre, recruiting and mentoring promising young interpretive naturalists, and assisting with various park management activities. Justin began work with Quest Nature Tours in 2013 as Director of Programs, where he continues to showcase what the world has to offer. On the side, Justin is involved in various bird-related projects and organizations. Most recently, he was named to the Board of Directors of Birds Canada, which is Canada’s premiere bird science and conservation organization. His very favourite thing will always be leading bird walks. He is particularly interested in bird behaviour and vocalizations, and so he enjoys raising others' awareness of these aspects in the field.

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  • Kiah Jasper

    Kiah is a 19 year old birder who has grown up with the Bruce Peninsula as his backyard. His keen interest in photography sparked his more serious fascination with all things avian. Kiah is the winner of the 2018 Canadian Geographic wildlife  photographer of the year (under 17). He is an eBird reviewer for 3 counties and is an active Bruce County lister. Kiah is a member of the Bruce Birding Club & the Ontario Field Ornithologists and has led hikes around the county for both. During his hikes, you will feel his infectious enthusiasm for the world of birding.

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  • Lynne Richardson

    Lynne has been birding from an early age. Her interest has evolved from bird ID to the study of birds through "citizen scientist" projects which include both Ontario Breeding Bird Atlases, Christmas Bird Counts, Forest Bird Monitoring, Nest Record monitoring, Grey Bruce Bird Records, and Piping Plover monitoring. Lynne is a long-time member & Board-member of the Owen Sound Field Naturalists.

    Lynne recently retired from a career as an Environmental Planner with the Niagara Escarpment Commission, and joined the HFB Festival Program committee in 2015.

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  • Margaret Anderton
    Margaret Anderton

    Margaret sees birding as a social affair - a time for sharing and learning from each other. She enjoys birding in her own backyard and throughout the local countryside. Margaret is a member of the Bruce Birding Club and their official recorder - even though she is doesn't have a computer!

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  • Mark Peck

    Mark Peck is the Manager of the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). He has had a lifelong passion for Ontario breeding birds and wildlife photography and has spent much of his springs and summers looking for bird nests since he was 8 years old. He has volunteered in all three Ontario Breeding Bird Atlasses (OBBA) and is currently one of the Regional Coordinators for Region 12 (Toronto), and a member of the Significant Species Committee for OBBA-3. In addition, he is the ROM Liaison for the Ontario Bird Records Committee, a consultant for Ontario Birds/Ontario Field Ornithologists and the Program Director for the Toronto Ornithological Club.

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  • Mark Wiercinski

    Mark is one of the original Huron Fringe Birding Festival leaders and has participated every year with the same passion and enthusiasm as he did on his very first hike.....but he does have more gray hair. The early hikes are the best way to find the most birds and it is at this time that Mark is really on his game.....coffee not required, but it helps. Along the way, Mark provides many helpful tips on bird identification through sound, behaviour and habitat. His hikes are always full of information from birds to plant-life to wildlife and everything in between. Whether you're a full fledged birder or just starting out, his hikes will always inspire and entertain....it's all about the sex, baby!

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  • Marshall Byle

    Marshall Byle received his first field guide to the birds when he was just four years old. Today, with over half a century of experience, he still loves to bird and to share the wonder of birds with others. A member of the Huron Fringe Field Naturalists, you will enjoy Marshall's mild manner as he leads you through some of his favourite spots in Bruce County.

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  • Michael Runtz

    Michael’s association with Algonquin spans nearly 50 years and includes working in the Park as an interpretive naturalist for 11 seasons.  Michael hosted the international television series Wild by Nature, authored and illustrated 14 natural history books including Algonquin Wild and, his latest, Wildflowers of Algonquin Provincial Park.  Additionally, Michael provided the images for the award-winning children’s book At Home with the Beaver.  In addition, Michael has written more than 1,100 natural history articles for newspapers and magazines (Nature’s Way was nearing its 30th season when Covid-19 cut it short). Michael teaches Natural History and Ornithology courses at Carleton University where more than 52,000 students have taken his courses. His numerous awards include the Council of Canadian University Biology Chairs Distinguished Public Science Education Award, the Friends of Algonquin Directors Award, and several Carleton University Teaching Achievement Awards. A popular keynote speaker and media guest, Michael was the only Canadian featured in the TVO/NHK Japan’s Superteachers series.  Visit Michael on Facebook  at Nature by Runtz.

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  • Mike Burrell

    Mike grew up in the Waterloo area in southwestern Ontario and inherited his passion for natural history from his parents. He considers himself to have been very lucky to have completed an internship at Long Point Bird Observatory when he was 15; this experience opened many doors for him for jobs and for school. Since then, Mike has become involved in many aspects of birding and natural history study in the province. He currently serves as the secretary of the Ontario Bird Records Committee, coordinates eBird in Ontario, reviews Christmas Bird Count data for the province and works as a zoologist with the Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre in Peterborough. Mike is also a member of the bird specialist subcommittee of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). 
    He is considered one of Canada’s top birders and is known as an avid advocate of using eBird to record sightings. His passion about keeping records accessible to everyone has driven his support for the use of eBird. Mike, along with his brother Ken have recently authored the book "Best Places to Bird in Ontario" see http://burrellbirding.ca/best-places-to-bird-in-ontario/ for more information about the book. 
    Join Mike as he birds some of our prime birding areas.

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  • Miptoon (Anthony Chegahno)

    Miptoon (Anthony Chegahno) is from Neyaashiinigmiing which is also known as Cape Croker, Chippewas of Nawash (Unceded) First Nation. He has a Master's of Theology degree and is active in pastoral care within his community.  Since 2007, he has been the Project Manager for the Nawash Species at Risk Inventory and Capacity-building Project, which works to inventory, monitor, conserve, and raise awareness about the remarkable diversity of Species At Risk and gtheir habitats at Cape Croker, the Bruce Peninsula, and the traditional territories of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation.  Tony has a deep relationship and vast knowledge of the natural history of Cape Croker and spends as much time as he can enjoying them.  He has been an active organizer of the newly formed Cape Croker Christmas Bird Count.

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  • Nikki May

    Nikki started her avocation as naturalist in the ’90’s, then earned a Master’s degree in Forest Restoration from University of Guelph. While living in Sarnia, she worked for Carolinian Canada for 6 years and was on the boards of Lambton Wildlife Inc. and Tallgrass Ontario. She is currently Past President of the Saugeen Nature club.

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  • Paul Nicholson

    Paul Nicholson started birding as a kid in the 1960s. Most of his birding is done across Southwestern Ontario. He has taught bird watching for the City of London, and from 2011 to 2020 he wrote a weekly bird watching and nature column for The London Free Press and other Canadian Postmedia newspapers. He loves birds and continues to write about them. He also finds bird watchers interesting.

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  • Pete Read

    Pete’s interest in nature spawned from summers spent exploring along the Thames River in London, Ontario as a boy. He developed this keen interest in nature in general, and birds in particular, over the years with help from mentors in McIlwraith Field Naturalists. He is self-taught in the identification of birds by sight and sound and has finely tuned his skills since 1969 with annual trips to Point Pelee National Park. He is a life-long educator who loves to work with people of all ages to extol the wonders of avian life, leading many field trips over the years for various nature clubs and organizations. He also takes part in many citizen science projects, predominantly the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas and Christmas Bird Counts. After retiring from a long teaching career, he has pursued many interests in natural history. He worked with the Wildlife Preservation Trust Shrike program building and installing loggerhead shrike cages for their captive breeding program.  He also became a consultant and field biologist for a number of environmental companies and agencies, working on wildlife projects in Ontario and Quebec. He leads bird hikes every spring at Point Pelee. Currently he is a guide for Quest Nature Tours which allows him to travel the world learning even more about birds and wildlife and imparting knowledge to those who accompany him. He is very pleased to to lead trips for the Fringe.

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  • Rob Klea

    Rob is the Executive Director, Lead Facilitator, and Trainer for New Trail Forest Therapy. He has over 30 years experience in the field of education and is a member in good standing with the Ontario College of Teachers. Rob has also been certified by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs as a Forest Therapy Guide. As an experiential educator and adventure-based facilitator, Rob has developed many programs to support people of all ages within the context of the outdoors. Rob has been able to engage people in wilderness experiences designed to expand their understanding of self and develop the skills and personal awareness needed for life long empowerment. Rob has also spent much of his career in the field of adult education both as a consultant responsible for Behavioural Services as well as an instructor offering professional education courses at the university level. Rob has provided training to many different organizations and groups in the areas of special education, self-awareness, empowerment, behaviour management, and nature connection.

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  • Sarah Rupert

    Sarah has been birding her entire life, and hasn't missed a spring at Point Pelee since her first visit at 2.5 months old. She has spent many years exploring the wonder of birds and nature, which she loves to share with others through interpretive programs, writing and mixed media art. She eagerly awaits the arrival of spring, and birders, to Pelee each spring.

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  • Sean Liipere

    Originally from the Bruce Peninsula, Sean has a deep appreciation for the natural and cultural heritage of the region. Sean is a Prevention Coordinator at Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park and has assumed several roles in research, education and partner engagement with Parks Canada for 15 years. He has also worked with a non-profit organization focused on UNESCO biosphere reserves to manage several community-based conservation initiatives and has visited numerous biosphere reserves throughout the world. Sean appreciates any opportunity to share the wonders of the region in hopes of inspiring community action. 

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  • Stewart Nutt

    A retired educator and former Piping Plover Volunteer Coordinator for Sauble Beach and area, Stewart has had a long-time interest in natural history, nature photography and a special passion for bird behaviors.  Other interests include hiking, biking, snowshoeing and traveling. 

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  • Terry Crabe

    Terry's entire career was with Ontario Parks. His last 25 years were spent at Pinery were he was the Natural Heritage Education and Resource Management Supervisor and was involved in programs for sand dune restoration, oak savanna fire management, deer herd reductions and a wide variety of visitor education programs.  Since retiring, Terry spent 10 years full-time RVing in the southern states and Ontario and has recently settled in Stratford where he is a member of the Stratford Field Naturalist and the Avon trail hiking club. 


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  • Tim Arthur

    Tim Arthur has always loved nature and wildlife. While working as an Audio Engineer in the film & television industry he was fortunate to edit and mix the sound for the Profiles of Nature series for several years, as well as many other award winning wildlife documentaries. Based out of London, Tim has spent a lot of time birding in Bruce county. He does contract work for Bird Studies Canada doing wetland bird and amphibian surveys including many sites in and around the Huron Fringe. In 2017 Tim criss-crossed Ontario while doing a Big Year with his good friend and field work partner Jeremy Bensette, in which time he tallied a whopping 329 species himself! An accomplished photographer and tour guide, Tim has led birding trips for the Point Pelee Festival of Birds and the Ontario Field Ornithologists Club as well as some private birding and photography tours.

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  • Tyler Miller

    Tyler has spent the entirety of his life interested in the natural environment; this naturalist's curiosity inspired him to pursue a career in ecology. Over the last decade, Tyler has worked as a field ecologist with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and currently Parks Canada in Tobermory. His passion for studying natural history has recently landed him at Trent University, where he completed an undergraduate degree and thesis focusing on Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula alvar ecology. Tyler’s career and hobbies have shaped him into a well-round naturalist with a formidable expertise in field botany. Currently, Tyler is fulfilling a year contract with the Owen Sound Field Naturalists to update the Checklist of Vascular Plants for Bruce and Grey Counties, Ontario.


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  • Victor Last

    As a result of a U\T graduate field trip, involving studies in the Meaford\Thornbury & Beaver River area, Victor Last saw for the first time the escarpment, the remarkable waters of Georgian Bay and the countless fields of ripening apples. Fate was with him when he discovered an advertisement in the Globe and Mail for a geography instructor in the small hamlet of Wiarton. The rest is history. Last taught both physical and cultural geography at Wiarton District High School for twenty-nine years before retiring from the teaching profession in June of 2000. His passion for geography was both fueled and complemented by his passion for travel, both overseas and in the Peninsula. He soon discovered that the Peninsula, in spite of its small size, contained an incredible variety of physical features, second to none.

    Last also became aware of Wiarton’s history, one spade at a time, as he prepared new flowerbeds around his back garden, Roman follie, at his Hillcrest home. Here artefacts of all sorts were waiting to be uncovered. From Victorian coins, to English pottery, glassware, porcelain doll parts, nails, tools, and bones, they all helped to unravel the story of past life in the town. Last discovered early in his career the strong presence of history in Wiarton, and the Peninsula, which in recent years has become an engaging pursuit seeking out early photographs and postcards of local life and preserving them.

    During inclement weather, and especially during COVID times, Last “time travels” by digitizing his vast collection of 35mm slides taken during his early travels in Canada and overseas. He plans on publishing a few books of his retro photos that he feels will be of interest.

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  • Willy Waterton

    One of the original Huron Fringe Birding Festival leaders, a self taught photographer, Willy spent 35 years as a full-time photojournalist at The Owen Sound Sun Times. During his tenure as chief photographer, he oversaw the transition from black and white to colour then finally to digital. His newspaper photographs won over 100 provincial and national awards. In 1990, Willy was named Ontario News Photographers’ Association Photographer of the Year. His photography has appeared in national and international magazines, newspapers and books including the Globe and Mail, New York Times and National Geographic. His work is in both public and private collections. Willy’s life long love for the Niagara Escarpment and Bruce & Grey Counties has led to his commitment through his photography, to protect and interpret this special part of Canada for you to enjoy.

    Visit Willy’s website       willywatertonphotography.com 

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