As my Great-great-great grandfather Daniel Boone said;
“Nature was here a series of wonders, and a fund of delight”.
MY FORMATIVE YEARS
From my earliest years I have been enthralled by the wonders of nature. As kids, we would ride our bicycles to the outside of town to search the fields for whatever lizards, snakes, insects and other wildlife that we could capture and bring home to my zoo. My interest was especially piqued by my Biology teacher, Joe Medeiros and my Sierra Nevada teacher, Harold Basey. It was on one of the Great Valley Museum’s field trips with Joe that I saw my first Greater Roadrunner in Del Puerto Canyon. Mr. Basey challenged me to get an A in his class, which was a grade he had only given out once or twice in the previous 3 years (and I did). It was because of these two teachers, that I changed my college major to Biology. While at CSU Stanislaus I pursued a concentration in Flowering plants, but Ornithology became my passion. After getting my BS in Biology with a minor in Physical Science, I applied for and was accepted to Cal Poly to work on master’s in Zoology. Unfortunately due to some unexpected challenges, I was unable to pursue that goal.
BIRDING BY EAR, SAY WHAT?
On one of the Ornithology Field Trips we were challenged to seek out the local Audubon Chapters and see what they had to offer. I joined one of the local trips with the San Joaquin Chapter and visited Caswell Memorial State Park. We met outside of the park and walked in to the park. The leader was a quiet, but very friendly person not any older than I was. He introduced himself as David Yee and as we started the walk in, quietly said, “I hear an Olive-sided Flycatcher calling. It’s call is hic-three-beers, let’s see if we can find it.” He promptly called out, “There it is!” Next he comments, “I hear a
Western Tanager, let’s find it”. And so it was for the rest of the trip, “I hear a …, let’s find it!” And so, my determination to bird like David, was born. I became obsessed with learning how to identify birds but their calls and songs.
CONNECTING WITH STANISLAUS AUDUBON
Since I did not live in San Joaquin County, David suggested that I get in touch with a teacher from Modesto, Harold Reeve, and see about joining the Stanislaus Audubon Society. I attended several chapter field trips and programs and in addition to meeting Harold, I got to know Eric Caine, Jean Hackamack, Wray Ladine and Tony Leonardini. Harold invited me to join him and his wife, Sharon, to go birding in the county. After attending several chapter programs, I wanted more. I asked Harold if there could be a possibility of participating in the Board meetings as a non-board member. Shortly thereafter in the summer of 1988, I was invited to become an actual Stanislaus Audubon Society Board Member.
CENTRAL VALLEY BIRD CLUB
In early 1995 some of the valley most active birders discussed forming a Central Valley bird club to promote birding and to facilitate the social aspect of the activity. In 1996, the club hosted the first ever Central Valley Birding Symposium at the Delta College campus in Stockton. I attended that rainy first event and have participated in every symposium since that time. I was invited to become a Board Member of the CVBC.