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Hummer Speakers - Keynotes & Bios


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2019 Hummer Speakers 


31st Anniversary Celebration Dinner

 Dinner: Texas BBQ, Smoked Chicken and all the trimmings plus cobbler. Click here for tickets.

Location: Saltwater Pavilion at Rockport Beach, 212 Seabreeze Dr., Rockport, TX. 

"Vibrant Migrants" by Martha McLeod and "Preservation Through Art" by Niharika Raiput  

 Thursday: 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. 


Martha McLeod,  an award-winning teacher and youth birding program sponsor, has been in education for 25 years. Her program title for the thursday evening dinner is "Vibrant Migrants".  McLeod sponsors a top recycling program in the state of Texas. Her student birding team competes yearly in the Great Texas Birding Classic achieving top honors. She was recently named “Birder of the Year” by Swarovski Optiks/Bird Watcher's Digest. She was the recipient of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s top individual award for the Environmental Excellence Awards in 2017, Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science in 2011, H-E-B Excellence in Education Lifetime Achievement award winnerm, National finalist for the Shell Oil Science Teaching Award, and was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 2013.

Sky Kings Falconry, 5 p.m. Friday: "Raptors Revealed" in the Auditorium

Sky Kings Falconry features hawks, owls, falcons, vultures, parrots and other colorful and interesting animals. The program will focus on natural history, unique traits and the natural abilities of these incredible animals. Sky Kings Falconry is dedicated to the Education, and preservation of our planet's wildlife, and employing its natural abilities to correct environmental issues. Birds in flight so arrive early as the doors need to stay closed after the presentation begins.


Greg Miller, 5:00 p.m. Saturday-  Miller is a world renowned birder whose character was played by Jack Black in the movie “The Big Year". Miller has been birding since he was too young to remember. His father that got him into birding at an early age, over 50 years ago. He has birded in all 50 states and much of Canada. In 1998, he traveled over 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. Sandy Komito and Al Levantin also did Big Years the same year and also broke the 700-mark (documented in the 2004 nonfiction book, The Big Year, by Pulitzer Prize winning author Mark Obmascik). 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. The movie released in 2011. It is available now on both DVD and Blu-ray Netflix and Redbox. In his talk, he will highlight this experience and more.


Other featured speakers:

Ben Horstmann, serves as the regional Interpretive Specialist for South Texas State Parks. His addiction to birding was a direct result of moving here and birding with the park staff and volunteers at the parks. Program Title: Birding South Texas State Parks and GISP Bird Walk. Dates and times of program: Sunday Sept 22, 8:30 am - 11:30 am Location: Goose Island State Park.

David Sikes and Susan Chilcoat, David is an award-winning writer and photographer who was part of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times news staff covering Port Aransas, Rockport, Aransas Pass, as well as coastal issues. In 1998, David became the paper’s Outdoors columnist. He retired in 2019, after 23 years with the Caller-Times. Susan is the executive director for the nonprofit Wildlife in Focus, as well as its former education coordinator. Dates and times of program: Friday, Sept. 20, 3:40 pm Location: Auditorium and Saturday, Sept. 21 at 1:00 pm Middle School Band Hall.

Jason Loghry will be sharing a presentation about his adventure in the Artic. Program Title: Summer in Utqiagvik: A look at Shorebirds in the Artic. Dates and times of program: Friday, Sept. 20, 11:40 am Auditorium and Sunday, Sept. 22, 10:20 am Middle School Band Hall.

Glenn Olsen teaches bird identification and nature classes at Rice University’s Continuing Studies Department and at Houston Audubon. Program Title: Napoleon: The Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Dates and times of program: Thursday, Sept. 19, 3:40 pm. Saltwater Pavilion at Rockport Beach and Saturday Sept 21, 1:00pm Auditorium.

Brent Ortego recently retired from Texas Parks and Wildlife. He primarily worked with conservation of endangered and nongame species. Program Title: The Hummingbirds of Texas. Dates and times of program: Friday, Sept 20, 3:40 pm; Sunday Sept. 22, 11:40 am located in Middle School Band Hall

Sid Rucker, Sid and his belated wife, Shirley Rucker’s photographs have been published in books, magazines and calendars. They spent 5 of those years as the photographers for Texas Parks and Wildlife book, Hummingbirds of Texas. Program Title: Birds, Birds, More Birds and Their Stories. Dates and times of program: Friday, Sept 20, 11:40 am, Saturday, Sept. 21, 1 pm. located in Middle School Band Hall.

Dr. Liz Smith Ph.D. Most of Liz’s career has been focused on coastal Texas. She has been nationally recognized in receiving the Coastal America Partnership Award for Restoration at Bahia Grande and Protection at Shamrock Island, EPA Award for Environmental Excellence in Wetlands, as well as regionally recognized in receiving the Conservation and Environmental Stewardship Award for Higher Education and Pathways to Success in Science Programs. Program Title: Aransas: Link Between Hummingbirds and Whooping Cranes.Dates and times of program: Friday, Sept. 20, 1 pm Auditorium; Saturday, Sept. 21, 10:20 am Middle School Band Hall.

Juan Bahamon was born in Columbia and emigrated to the U.S. to study and practice in the field of Neurology. When he is not using his skills in the medical field, he is pursuing his passion for photographing hummingbirds. Bahaman’s photos have been used for the HummerBird Celebration advertising this year and in the recent past years. His photographs have been seen world-wide on limited edition Hummingbird wall calendars. Program Title: Hummingbirds of Columbia. Dates and times of program: Friday, Sept 20, 2:20 pm and Saturday, Sept. 21, 2:20 pm located in the Auditorium.

David Sarkozi David has been birding seriously for more than 20 years.  He has worked for University of Houston while actively leading field trips in Texas, Belize and Costa Rica.  He is a past President of Texas Ornithological Society, Friends of Anahuac Refuge and Chair of Houston Outdoor Nature Club-Ornithology Group.  He leads birding trips both nationally and internationally. Program Title: The Dirty Dozen: 12 Hardest Regular birds in Texas to See. Dates and times of program: Friday Sept. 20, 2:20 pm Middle School Band Hall and Saturday, Sept. 21, 11:40 am located in the Auditorium.

Bill Lindeman A native Texan from Gonzales County, Lindemann earned BS and MA degrees from the University of Texas in Austin. As an exploration geologist, he worked for Exxon around the world searching for oil and gas, uranium, synthetic fuels and other minerals for 32 years. Retiring to Fredericksburg in 1994, Lindemann became a self-trained naturalist to fully appreciate the wonderful natural heritage found in the Hill Country. He wrote a weekly newspaper column on birding for 19 years, twice served as president of the

Native Plant Society of Texas, founded the Fredericksburg Nature Center, and was a member of the Hill Country Land Trust for 15 years serving as its president for four years. Has been an avid birder for more than 50 years and continues to expand his knowledge of plants, butterflies and odonates(dragonflies). He is a wildlife photographer and frequent speaker on nature subjects around the state. Program Title: “Hummingbird Courtship:  Flash! Zoom! Bang! And Done!”. Dates and times of program: Friday Sept. 20, 10:20 am and Saturday, Sept. 21, 11:40 am located in the Middle School Band Hall.

Christy Ilfrey is a writer and public speaker who moved to Rockport in 2011, leaving a promising career in higher education to pursue a career educating others about sustainable landscaping and living. Christy is a native plant gardener and farmer. The mission of her business is to conserve, preserve, restore and celebrate nature. Program Title: Living and Landscaping with Native Plants. Dates and times of program: Friday, Sept. 20, 10:20 am located in the Auditorium.

Pablo Garro is the owner and managing director at Quinta GALEON Lodge in Costa Rica. Pablo has in-depth birding skills and expert knowledge in the areas of hummingbird’s tourism guiding and sustainable eco-avitourism in Costa Rica. His program is titled: Costa Rica: The Hummingbird Experience. Pablo will do a presentation in the Martha Luigi Auditorium on Saturday, Sept. 21, 10:20 am.

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