Emma Roth & Kim Turner Feathers and Scales with Audubon Community Nature Center's Animal Ambassadors Emma Roth is a Nature Educator at ACNC. She joined the ACNC education staff in 2021 and shares her knowledge and passion of the natural world with people of all ages. She enjoys working with the Animal Ambassadors and giving people up-close experiences with these creatures.
Kim Turner is the Animal Care Specialist at ACNC. She has been managing the team of animal ambassadors and the volunteers that help with their care since 2017. She started training with birds of prey at Tamarack Wildlife Center in 2019 in preparation to acquire the birds that joined the ACNC animal ambassadors in 2022.
Dr. Phil Stokes Fossils: Storybooks in Stone Dr. Phil Stokes is the Executive Director of Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve located in Hamburg, NY—the home of trilobites. Penn Dixie—ranked #1 in the U.S. among fossil parks and also the inaugural holder of a Guinness World Record for Largest Fossil Dig—welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each year. In 2021 Dr. Stokes was honored as a 40 Under 40 Awardee by Buffalo Business First. Prior to working for Big Fossil, Dr. Stokes served as instructor, research associate, academic advisor, and community outreach coordinator in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona while pursuing his PhD. His 2016 dissertation, Diversity in Geoscience: Critical Incidents and Factors Affecting Choice of Major, used social and behavioral science to look at the factors behind underrepresentation in STEM fields, and in particular geology. Dr. Stokes has coordinated four multi-year National Science Foundation projects: three at the University of Arizona and one at SUNY Buffalo, where he earned his B.S. (2004) and M.S. (2007) degrees in Geological Science. His thesis work used ground penetrating radar to search for mastodon bones and to map glacially deposited units at the Ice Age Hiscock Site near Rochester, NY. In his spare time he plays guitar and ukulele, travels, and brings a telescope to music festivals for late night stargazing.
Dee Calvasina The Mysterious and Majestic Seneca White Deer Dee Calvasina is an author and professional writer whose work has been published in numerous regional, national and international publications. Her book, “Beyond the Fence, The Amazing World of Deer Haven Park” was published in 2022 by Idea Press. A Finger Lakes native, she is also a columnist for the Finger Lakes Times wherein her monthly piece entitled “Beyond the Fence” highlights both the human and wildlife adventures surrounding Deer Haven Park, LLC. Dee shares her passion for the white, whitetail deer in a manner that allows her readers an adventure via the written word. She resides in upstate New York with her husband and two furry canines.
View our 2023 leader bios below
Avery, Susan - Great Valley, NY - Trained in nature and her ways through years of scouting and the ever-restless need to explore the outdoors, Susan is a self-trained naturalist, licensed NYS Outdoor Guide, certified Florida Master Naturalist and National Park Services volunteer naturalist/docent. She is always looking for opportunities to share those marvelous moments in nature with fellow explorers of all ages. Her areas of interest are trees, old growth forests, spring ephemeral flowers, ferns, local historic geology, marine and freshwater invertebrates.
Bacho, Tamara - Jamestown, NY - Tamara works for the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cattaraugus County as an office administrator. She is also a Master Gardener Volunteer since graduating from the course in 2020 and a Master Preserver since 2022. She has been gardening/farming for many years, worked in many greenhouses and is an avid hunter and outdoor enthusiast. She loves anything to do with gardening but must admit that her heart lies with our pollinators, especially the Monarch Butterflies. She has been helping her lil' friends since 2017, right here in Allegany State Park. She loves coming to the butterfly meadow or wherever she sees milkweed to look for eggs. She keeps the eggs and small caterpillars in containers until they are big enough to crawl around in the big cage. In the big cage they are free to eat as much as they want, explore and eventually form their chrysalis. Once they eclose and are ready to release, we take a ride to the butterfly meadow and she releases them with a prayer. This year Tamara will be tagging them when the migrator generation comes and hopes someone will report that her lil' friends made it south. She loves any chance to educate people about her lil' friends!
Baird, Tim - Salamanca, NY - Tim is a retired teacher and nature enthusiast who has lead walks for many years at the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage. He has spent much time studying local natural history and enjoys nature photography.
Baker, Conrad - Mount Morris, NY - Conrad is an environmental educator for the Genesee Region of New York State Parks, based at Letchworth State Park.
Carra, Mark - West Valley, NY - Mark started as a wildlife educator in 1989 and has spoken to more than 800,000 people since then. He was the naturalist in residence for Beaver Meadow Audubon Center in North Java, NY and has worked as a representative and presenter for Animal Planet, National Geographic Channel, and Public Television and handled animals for many of their celebrities. His passion for learning and obsession to communicate what he has learned has kept him going all these years and loving the entire journey.
Carrier, Katy - West Valley, NY - Katy enjoys the outdoors and nature with her golden retriever in a variety of ways, including K9 therapy for 20 years. Also past involvement with search and rescue and emergency response. She has also taught orienteering with Women in the Outdoors, and setting up map hike courses and fall meets at Erie County Forestry with the Buffalo Orienteering Club. She enjoys recreational orienteering in WNY and Ohio. Recently retired allows more time for hiking, bicycling and FLT trail maintenance.
Contrino, Kathleen - Akron, NY - Kathy promotes the use of native plants in residential gardens in order to improve ecological diversity. She has been growing native plants and designing native plant gardens since 1997. An avid birder, Kathy participates in Cornell Cooperative's FeederWatch program/Habitat Network as well as volunteers for Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge and the Buffalo Audubon Society leading tours. Currently Kathy is recreating the Great Lakes ecosystem on her 10 acres in Akron, NY where she participates in the open gardens section of the Gardens Buffalo Niagara. Kathy is a member of the Western New York Plant Collaborative. Kathy owns and operates the CW Native Plant Farm.
Corrigan, Peter - Buffalo, NY - Peter is an amateur naturalist who has been interested in birds and birding for over 30 years. He is a member of the Buffalo Audubon and Buffalo Ornithological Societies.
Corrigan, Teresa - Buffalo, NY - Teresa and Peter are hikers and amateur naturalists who relish opportunities to study local flora and fauna all year round. They belong to the Buffalo Audubon and Buffalo Ornithological Societies. Teresa is a certified yoga teacher who teaches both children and adults at Power Yoga Buffalo and elsewhere in the community. She is a retired elementary school teacher who has also taught classes at Buffalo State College. She loves hiking, birding and nature study and volunteering with children at Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve.
Craft, Jim - Rochester, NY - Jim spent much of his youth exploring the Bristol Hills near Honeoye Lake while helping his dad build their family cabin. Those experiences led to interest and degrees in geology from SUNY-Brockport and Binghamton and a stint in the oil patch of offshore California. After exploring the western US (living in a van down by rivers), Jim returned east and joined the NYSDEC as an engineering geologist. Now retired from a 30+ year career of chasing groundwater pollutants and polluters, a return to “fun” geology has produced field trip guides for the Salamanca Conglomerate at Rock City State Forest. Currently, Jim is using orthoimagery/LIDAR/DEM data with GIS to track and study the Salamanca and other conglomerates and to analyze various landforms across Allegany State Park and beyond.
Crawford, Paul - Lockport, NY - Paul is a lifelong, second generation of four, camper at Allegany. Growing up, his father took him and his six siblings camping at the park. Paul then raised his two sons camping and is happy to report his grandson has been bitten by the Allegany bug. He became active in the Allegany State Park Historical Society in 2008 and became a board member shortly thereafter. Paul got together with several other like-minded folks who loved the park and wanted to give something back to the park that had given so much to them. In 2012 those friends formed the Friends of Allegany. In 2014 the Friends became a 501c3 Non-Profit Corporation registered with the NYS Park System. Together the Friends have garnered over 12,000 volunteer hours and have raised tens of thousands of dollars through grants, and active and passive programs. The Friends are currently renovating the Red House Sawmill and have written three grants totaling over $40,000 towards that end. They hope to have a soft opening for the public in 2023.
Crombe, Frank - Scottsville, NY - As a boy, Frank's father made him play outdoors instead of sitting around on his posterior. He is glad he did as he learned a lot of nature by simply being in contact with it. As a teen, he worked as a caddy and wanted to know more about the trees and other plants found around the golf courses. This really stimulated Frank's interest. Many members were quite knowledgeable about their trees and shared their knowledge with him in between strokes. As a young man he went on hikes and peppered the leader with endless questions. Even later, he learned more and grew many of the things he found or could get ahold of. After he was married, he sometimes went on other hikes and trips bringing his family along whenever possible. And of course his wife was kind enough to allow him the “back 40” of their property so he may plant whatever he can grow there. In his other life, he is an accountant, currently serving as an operations manager for a wholesaler and distributor. Frank is a certified management accountant and is a member of the Institute of Management Accountants, Financial Executives International and is an associate member of the New York State Society of CPA’s. He also has a Master’s Degree in education and belongs to the Burroughs Audubon Nature Club, The Nature Conservancy, The International Oak Society and is on the Committee for the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage. He really likes to explore about anywhere he may be at the moment, mostly to see what grows there. He enjoys old plants, old books, old golf and old friends. He has explored many places in New York and surrounding states with a fondness for western North Carolina. He worked for a short while in northern Europe and his sons were born in Honduras. He really enjoys being able to share with others as a hike leader. He constantly is learning more and this includes sharing with and learning from people who come on the hikes. Frank would love to see you all come and enjoy the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage.
Crossley, Elaine - Frewsburg, NY - "The Bluebird Lady" Elaine Crossley has been an eastern bluebird conservationist & bluebird educator since 1968 (five years before the founding of the NYSBS.) She has built, placed and monitored bluebird nest boxes in her area in the Town of Carroll. She belongs to NABS & NYSBS, and since 1978 has held federal & NYS permits to salvage and possess birds, nests and eggs of native birds for education. This allows her to provide wildlife programs about the eastern bluebird, our NY State bird. She has assisted Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, students and interested individuals in building nest boxes and setting up trails in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. She is well known in Chautauqua County as the Bluebird Lady and our local Audubon Community Nature Center often refers people who have questions or problems with their bluebird trails to her. Elaine is currently NYSBS Chautauqua County Coordinator and serves on their Board. She plans to continue to pursue her passion for the “Bluebird of Happiness” for her entire life!
Daniel, Steven - Pittsford, NY - Steven has spent most of his adult life immersed in natural history and much of his work has included formal and informal teaching, including a field natural history class he developed and has taught at local colleges for since the early 80’s. An early retirement from teaching offered the opportunity to develop Nature Discoveries, an ecotour company he co-founded, and has led over 140 trips to special natural areas around the world. Current interests include botany, dragonflies and butterflies. Semi-retired, he spends much of his time exploring the great ecological treasures of New York’s North Country. He is a board member of the New York Flora Association and co-curator of the Rochester Academy of Science Herbarium. He has an M.S. in Science and Environmental education from Cornell University.
Danielson, Erik - Gerry, NY - Erik is a lover of all plants, but especially the largest trees and most minute mosses. He currently works as the stewardship coordinator for the Western New York Land Conservancy and as a remote analyst for the Harvard Forest tree ring lab.
Deck, Brian - Java Center, NY - Brian has enjoyed spending time in the great outdoors for years. Self-taught in geology, hydrology, history, plant and animal identification. He has worked many ANP’s and worked as a tour guide at Beaver Meadow, Niagara Falls, and in Big Bend Texas.
DiMaio, Andrea - Falconer, NY - Andrea is a plus-size hiker, backpacker, traveler, cyclist, yoga teacher and speaker. She leads inclusive hikes and other outdoor adventures in western New York with her group Ample Movement. She is employed by adventure travel company Whoa Travel and has led multiple hikes on the Salkantay Trail in the Andes Mountains of Peru and in Iceland. In 2019, Andrea climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa with the Curvy Kili Crew. She also has her 500-hour yoga teacher certification and Wilderness First Aid certification. Andrea’s passion is sharing joyful movement through yoga and outdoor activities for all, with an emphasis on making space for people that aren’t used to seeing themselves represented in those spaces. Andrea believes in truly living in the bodies we have right now and in finding freedom knowing we all have intrinsic worth no matter our body type or identity.
Driscoll, Angie - Hamburg, NY - Angie has a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in environmental studies from SUNY Geneseo, and got her masters in botany at Miami University of Ohio, conducting spatial studies on invasive plants for her thesis. While at Miami, she taught a field botany course. After grad school, she worked at WNY Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management, primarily conducting surveys and managing invasive plants. She also taught a Great Lakes Education Program through Cradle Beach in various Buffalo schools. She currently work as a wetlands & waters ecologist at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, focusing on wetland delineations, stream and wetland permitting and enforcement. Angie has two toddlers and loves to spend as much time as she can with them and her husband outdoors, sharing her love of all things nature!
Dustin, Laura - Orchard Park, NY - Laura began as a leader at the ANP in 1976, leading general nature walks. She has always loved Allegany State Park and the outdoors, so it made sense to join the Pilgrimage. After that first year she completed a vascular plant taxonomy study of Cattaraugus County, NY, a Masters degree in chemistry and countless hours of physics. As an educator she hopefully instilled the love of sciences and the outdoors for her students. On many days you would see her and her students completing physics activities outdoors. As a retiree, she continues hanging out outdoors with her dog, occasionally participating in physics activities and helping out at the Botanical Gardens in Buffalo.
Fabritius, Randal - Sinclairville, NY - Randal is president of the Allegany State Park Historical Society, with over 64 years of experience camping and hiking in Allegany State Park.
Fendya, Jennifer - Buffalo, NY - Jennifer is certified by the Association for Nature & Forest Therapy and has been guiding forest bathing walks in and beyond Western NY since 2017. She is a licensed psychologist and sandplay therapist, an active member of both the Climate Psychology Alliance and Climate Reality Project, and a practitioner of Miksang ("Good Eye") contemplative photography. She is excited to return to the Pilgrimage for her 4th year.
Feura, Jared - Voorheesville, NY - Jared is the assistant coordinator for the Third Breeding Bird Atlas of New York as a member of the New York Natural Heritage Program. He spent his childhood visiting ANP often, and eventually began a career as an ornithologist working with a wide range of species from warblers to rails across the US.
Finch, Katie - Jamestown, NY - Katie is an educator and interpretive project manager and Audubon Community Nature Center in Jamestown, NY. She has worked in the outdoor education field for twenty years. Driven by a sense of adventure, she worked in the forests and Georgia to the beaches of Cape Cod and lots of places in between. In each place Katie learned new ways to be curious, wonder and ask questions about the natural world. She as since settled into a life of exploring, gardening, teaching and creating in Western NY.
Fleck, Steve - Amherst, NY - Born and raised in western NY, Steve has an undergraduate degree in philosophy (with a focus on logic and ethics) and an upcoming graduate degree in biology (focusing on the interactions between aquatic plants and larval fish). He started the The Field Guides podcast partly because he felt like he needed a mental break from fisheries research. While Steve is not preparing for or editing an episode of The Field Guides, he's probably listening to other podcasts, reading manga or hiking with a few field guides in tow.
Gall, Wayne - Lancaster NY - The 2023 ANP will be Wayne’s 37th as a leader. He served on the staff of the Buffalo Museum of Science from 1983-2001, initially as the BMS’ first Administrator-Naturalist of Tifft Nature Preserve, then as Curator of Entomology. From 2001-2016 Wayne was Western Regional Entomologist for the NYS Dept of Health. Since 2016 he has been Entomologist (Identifier) for the US Dept of Agriculture on Buffalo’s Peace Bridge Plaza. Wayne earned his BA in Biology at SUNY Buffalo; MS in Entomology at University of Wisconsin- Madison; and PhD in Zoology at University of Toronto. Wayne and his wife of 46 years, Susan, have three children, and are awaiting their 7th grandchild.
Gallineau, Kevin - Lake View, NY - Kevin has been coming to ASP for 69 years and is part of the third generation of six generations that have en- joyed ASP. He has camped, hiked, fished and hunted in ASP. In around 2008, Kevin became interested in Allegany State Park Historical Society and became member. In 2012, seven people including Kevin started doing volunteer work in ASP. Shortly there after, Paul Crawford came up with the idea of forming a Friend's Group. Long story short, this became the Friends of Allegany State Park. Since then he became the first VP of FOASP and one of 8 Founding Fathers. He has been involved in "I Love My Park Day" since it started as well as National Public Lands Day and First Day Hikes. He has been the tour guide for many fire tower tours. He has led several 3rd Saturday Hikes for ASP. Since he started volunteering in ASP he has chocked up over 600 hours of service.
Gardner, Frank - Bedford, MA - Frank has been an amateur birder for over 50 years and has been coming to the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage since the late 1960s. Allegany State Park is among his favorite places to go birding, and he likes to focus on birding by ear. In his professional life he works at the Environmental Protection Agency.
Gardner, Meghan - Bedford, MA - Meghan is an educator and adventurer. She has many years experience in outdoor activities, survival and emergency response. She once spent one month in the woods of NH on a silent, solo, meditation retreat in a tiny cabin with no running water or electricity.
Hietala-Henschell, Katie - Albany, NY - Katie joined the New York Natural Heritage Program in 2021 as a Zoologist, primarily conducting rare animal surveys on State Lands and in State Parks. She assisted with Bumble Bee species identification and specimen processing for the Empire State Native Pollinator Survey (ESNPS), which wrapped up in 2022. Prior to joining NYNHP, Katie conducted surveys for and developed documents to provide guidance for the conservation of rare species as a conservation biologist with The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Katie earned her B.S. in applied ecology in 2010 and her M.S. in forest ecology and management in 2013 from Michigan Technological University. In her free time you can find her gardening or hiking with her husband, two daughters and dog.
Hillman, Jennifer - Hamburg, NY - Jennifer Hillman & Bill McKeever are co-authors of Secret Places of Western New York: 25 Scenic Hikes. They both enjoy 'slow hiking' through scenic and natural places and discovering hidden features that are often missed by the pass-through hiker.
Hilton, Miles - Jamestown, NY - Miles Hilton is an artist and lover of plants working in Western New York. They use art and science to communicate with and get to know the plants and nonhuman animals around them, and love to share that knowledge with others. They were recently artist in residence at Allegheny National Forest, where they explored the interconnection of the forest's creatures through weaving.
Hoffman, Nan - Grand Island, NY - The acoustic music duo Nan Hoffman and Joe Tumino present concerts for audiences of all ages. Their rich blend of vocal harmonies and guitars accompany a repertoire that covers a wide range of folk songs and ballads, both contemporary and traditional, including topical, spiritual, and humorous songs. Joe and Nan are both from the Buffalo, NY area, and have performed for many years, separately and together, in coffeehouses and festivals, schools and churches, parks and community centers, and anywhere people gather to enjoy good music. Their programs are full and varied, fun and informative, and often encourage audience participation. Nan's and Joe's music is also available on CDs. These include collections of folk and contemporary acoustic music, children's music, and holiday music.
Howard, Andrew - Wildlife Technician Andrew Howard started out his career with the Seneca Nation Conservation Department as a youth, summertime employee. He has been full time with the department for 7 years. Andrew spent time as a patrol officer and worked his way up the ranks to being promoted as a wildlife technician. He has been working with the hatchery staff and crew since his youth employment days.
Jacobs, Marvin - Cheektowaga, NY - Marvin is a member of the Wolf Clan of the Seneca Nation and an Elder. He is a storyteller and root healer. He has given Native American talks to Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, Beaver Meadow Audubon Center and Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve.
Jager, Nancy - Dunkirk, NY - Nancy is a nature enthusiast who enjoys nature photography and learning about plants, local native, edible weeds, invasive species and garden herbs. Nancy is a Chautauqua Master Gardener of the Cornell Cooperative Extension. She holds a M.S. in education from the State University of New York at Fredonia. She has NYS teacher certification in 4 areas: TESOL, Spanish, home economics, and elementary education. She is presently teaching international students at Fredonia State University. She has been a participant of Allegany Nature Pilgrimage since 2009, and leader since 2014. Nancy has given talks about wild and wonderful weeds at Chautauqua Institution, has given a presentation on deer and voles in your garden at the annual ‘Grow Jamestown.” Nancy was a participant in the Wildflower Pilgrimage at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Gatlinburg, TN) (April 2014). Nancy is also a returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Paraguay. Bilingual English/Spanish.
Kerr, Tom - Tonawanda, NY - Tom has been educating others about the natural world since he began to understand it. With the help of his neighbors as a child, he created a bug zoo from his Tonawanda backyard and gathered other neighborhood kids to view his collections. Inspired by many family vacations to National Parks, Tom studied environmental science in college. At SUNY ESF he was part of the first class that graduated with a natural history and interpretation degree, selecting the major because he understood the growing need to communicate the scientific world. Tom has spent his entire professional career in environmental education. He worked as a park ranger in the New York City parks for five years, teaching school programs, leading an after school program for high school students and monitoring piping plover habitat. Living in a major migration fly way in a dense urban environment, it was in NYC he developed a love of birding. Tom came to Buffalo Audubon to lead the "For the Birds!" program for elementary school students, and now as a naturalist enjoys leading bird tours and teaching people about all nature in Western New York. If you catch Tom in his free time, you will most likely find him with a pair of binoculars around his neck, setting up his spotting scope to make sure everyone gets a chance to view whatever wildlife is around. He also enjoys raising his two sons to appreciate the wonderful natural landscape of Western New York.
LeBlanc, Tom - Frewsburg, NY - Tom is a naturalist at Allegany State Park with over 20 years of experience in Environmental Education and as a field biologist. He spent 4 years studying bird communities in the tornado blowdown area at the park.
Leenders, Twan - Lakewood, NY - Twan is a biologist from The Netherlands with a degree in animal ecology and life-long experience in conservation management. For more than twenty years his work with birds, mammals, plants and especially tropical amphibians and reptiles has taken him to various places on the planet. As a former researcher at Yale University’s Peabody Museum and other institutions he participated in many international expeditions that helped gather data to better understand and protect biologically important areas and their unique species and habitats. Before coming to western NY, Twan taught biology at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT, and went back into the ‘trenches’ of hands-on conservation research and education while leading the Science and Conservation Office of the Connecticut Audubon Society. After ten years at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History in Jamestown, serving as RTPI’s President and Senior Director of Science & Conservation, he now works as the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy’s Director of Conservation. In this capacity, Twan applies his expertise to our region, working to identify and preserve our most critical natural areas and species. And, since successful conservation depend 100% on awareness and support from the community, Twan is always engaged in outreach and education efforts that increase interest in our area’s exceptional natural assets and promote good environmental stewardship. Twan is also the author of several books on the amphibians and reptiles of Costa Rica.
Light, Garner - Gasport, NY - Long time ANP Leader. Garner is President of the Friends of Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge Inc., co-compiler for the Wilson-Lake Plains Christmas Bird Count and Coordinator for The Len Anderson Memorial Bluebird Trail in Clarence & Lockport, NY.
Light, Judy - Gasport, NY - A retired art educator and Pilgrimage attendee/leader for 30+ years, Judy is always busy capturing nature through art by photographing, stamping, journaling, folding and tangling. At Pilgrimage she is either leading, wandering off seeking salamanders, photographing bits of nature, birding or siting off by herself drawing. Judy grew up on a small farm in Cattaraugus county and attending the Pilgrimage always feels like coming home!
Lodi-Smith Hebrank, Jenn - Kenmore, NY - Jenn Lodi-Smith, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology and Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs at Canisius College. She is also the secretary/treasurer for the Association for Research in Personality, associate editor of Journal of Personality, on the board of the Friends of Reinstein Woods, and mentors the WNY Young Birders program.
Lalomio, Guilanna - Salamanca, NY - Gulianna has been a nature lover since day one. Volunteering at Beaver Meadow Audobon and attending programs with many environmental organizations across New York, and everywhere from here to Florida, she soon began to realize that a future that wasn't outdoor-based would be her worst nightmare. Building up volunteer hours, attending DEC camps and participating in many field trips, she gained the experience necessary to apply for an internship with Allegany State Park as an Environmental Education Steward. A long-time lover of the ANP, she continues to deepen her knowledge and add to her education.
Lundgren, Julie - Albany, NY - Julie is an ecologist with the non-profit NY Natural Heritage Program (nynhp.org) in Albany NY. For the past 15 years, she has worked under a partnership with NY State Parks, conducting surveys and advising on stewardship of Parks’ natural areas. She has been a part of NatureServe’s international Heritage network for 30 years. She has always had an interest in sharing insights into the wonders and beauty of nature.
Maisie H. - Kenmore, NY - Maisie (age 10) is the founder of the Western New York Young Birders Club. She has always loved birds and has been actively birding since she was 5. She also loves herps. Her favorite bird is the Northern Saw-whet Owl, but that changes a lot depending on what bird she has most recently helped band while she volunteers at Braddock Bay Bird Observatory or has seen on birding trips with her family--she has made them all bird nerds too! She also loves to do art!
Makeyenko, Lauren - Buffalo, NY - Lauren is a self-proclaimed nature nerd and co-chair of the Feminist Bird Club-Buffalo Chapter, a group focused on making birding and the outdoors inclusive and affirming to people who may not have safe access to it. Lauren has held education positions with Tifft Nature Preserve, Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve and Buffalo Audubon. She has been attending the ANP with her husband Josh and daughter Ruby for many years.
Maliki, Andy - Jamestown, NY - Andy is a lifelong lover of Allegany State Park. At the age of seven he knew that he wanted a career working in the park. From a young age he started researching/studying areas of the park. From 2002-2014 he served as president and acting president of the Allegany State Park Historical Society. He has also volunteered on the Summit fire tower restoration committee. In 2014 he became employed by New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation. Andy has lifelong experience working in the outdoor/camping industry.
Martin, Jeremy - Friendship, NY - Jeremy has had an interest in nature for as long as he can remember. His patient mother tolerated pans of pond water in his bedroom and encouraged his early butterfly collections by making (and then frequently repairing) a butterfly net. While that early interest in ponds and entomology never became a career, Jeremy is lucky enough to now relive those early days of discovery with his two boys. Through photography, he enjoys documenting nature all over Western NY, including wildflowers, dragonflies, moths, butterflies and various other insects. He also participates in various citizen science projects including the New York Dragonfly and Damselfly survey, where from 2005 to 2009, Jeremy volunteered as citizen scientist discovering numerous county/species records in Western New York.
Michalek, Bill - West Falls, NY - Bill is a native of WNY and started his career as an environmental educator with Earth Spirit and the Beaver Meadow Audubon Center. He now teaches public school, is an adjunct instructor in UB’s Environment and Sustainability Program and runs the bird banding program for the Buffalo Audubon Society. He loves to share stories of the natural world--especially as co-host of The Field Guides podcast--and to hear them from anyone willing to share.
Miller. Will - Officer Will Miller has been with the Seneca Nation Conservation Department for 18+ years and was responsible for initiating the Seneca Nation's hellbender research program. He has held many positions with the department, including the directorship.
Mills Hoffman, Megan - Derby, NY - Megan, herself home- and un-schooled in southcentral Alaska from fifth grade to university admissions to an out-of-state four year honors program with a full tuition scholarship. She now homeschools her daughter after being a longtime board member for Mandala School, Buffalo’s only independent, democratic, free school; and an Alternative Education Resources Organization (AERO) Representative.
Musall, Lisa - Cattaraugus, NY - Lisa is a retired occupational therapist who has written four children's books. These books have been self published. The books are I Saw Leaves Last Night, A Walk in the Woods, I've Got to Move and Road Trip. She has been involved with dairy farming much of her life as well, and just retired from farming this year. Her husband milked cows for 20-plus years. Her son raised and showed goats at the county fair for about five years. Lisa enjoys cross-country skiing, hiking and working outside.
Myers, Lon - West Chester, PA - Lon is an avid self-taught naturalist with a lifelong passion for nature. He has led walks at the Pilgrimage for 45 years including Beginning Birds, Sharing Nature with Children, Family Nature, The Splash Hike, Stream Adventure, Night Hike and Adults Only. Lon currently serves as the Chairman of the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage. Nelson, Ashley - Jamestown, NY - Ashley has a background in education and is currently the story hour director at the Falconer Public Library in Falconer, NY. She creates imaginative storytimes for young children, often including a cardboard creation or two! She resides in Jamestown, NY with her husband and two children. Reading and spending time outdoors have always been favorite pastimes and she's excited to combine the two for her first year participating in the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage.
Nusstein, Matt - Warsaw, NY - A student of the natural world, Matt is interested in every aspect of nature. His goal is to learn about the incredible diversity of life that surrounds us and share it with others. Matt currently works at the Humphrey Nature Center at Letchworth State Park as an environmental educator. Previously, he spent 9 years in the Niagara Region of the New York State Parks, also serving as an environmental educator. Matt has also worked at Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve, Rogers Environmental Educator Center and was the teaching assistant for SUNY Buffalo State's ornithology class.
Parsons, Bill - South Wales, NY - For the past thirty years, Bill and his wife Kristen (and for the past 14 years with their two daughters) have conducted yearly field research excavations in the Early Cretaceous Cloverly Formation of central Montana. A good part of their research has been the study of those dinosaurs most closely related to the evolution of birds. Over the past 24 years they have been regular presenters on their research at the annual Society of Vertebrate Paleontology as well as the authors of a certain number of papers on the dinosaurs they have found within those sites.
Prill, Ellen - Rochester, NY - Ellen has a long history of loving photography--darkroom processing, mixing chemicals, editing, printing B&W film, color and slides. How things have changed! (And for the better!) Decent photos are within reach of anyone with a phone now. The things she has learned being in the Rochester Area Nature Photography Meetup Group, completing focused Verizon classes for iPhone, attending iPhone photography classes online and her years of experience have taught her the best-practices that she will share with you in her "iPhone Nature Photography" session. Another of Ellen's passions has long been canoeing and kayaking. She has paddled many bodies of water both in and out of New York State. Over the years she has come to enjoy leisurely paddles on quiet water, scanning the shores and waters for wildlife and will share her knowledge in her "Tips to Observe Nature from a Kayak" program at the Pilgrimage.
Radomski, Mike - Hamburg, NY - The founder Outside Chronicles, Mike is an avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hiking, climbing mountains, paddling whitewater, fly fishing and mountain biking. Mike became an Adirondack 46ers in 2020 and completed the Winter 46er in 2022. He is a licensed NYS Guide and a whitewater raft guide through Zoar Valley, Letchworth State Park and the Black River. Mike earned a Master’s Degree in Great Lakes Environmental Science and is trained in Wilderness First Aid, CPR/AED, and Swiftwater Rescue L4.
Rinow, Shannon - Jamestown, NY - Shannon works for the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) as a Master Gardener Program Coordinator. She works with an exceptional group of volunteers that share a passion of improving the lives of our community through horticulture. She has been with CCE for just over a year but has been gardening and growing vegetables for many years. She considers herself a homesteader and enjoys growing her own food and preserving it. Shannon is also a beekeeper, dedicated to advocating the importance of pollinators to our community. Her goal is for everyone to feel connected to nature and appreciate the symbiotic relationship that we share.
Rosen, Claudia - Warsaw, NY - Claudia grew up exploring the natural world along the shores of Lake Erie. She loves sharing the joy of discovering something new outside with others. She's held naturalist positions and internships at the New York State Parks, Reinstein Woods, and Shaver's Creek Environmental Center. Claudia currently works as a Project Manager at Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper and gets to be a part of protecting and restoring waterways in WNY!
Rosenburg, Chuck - Elma, NY - Chuck has a B.S. in wildlife management from Purdue University and an M.S. in biology from the College of William and Mary. His master’s thesis focused on barn owl habitat use, as determined using radio-telemetry. For the first 15 years of his professional career, Chuck worked as a private environmental consultant completing a broad variety of ecological studies. Since 2006, he has served as a wetlands ecologist and habitat protection manager with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Chuck is an avid birder and has led numerous Owl Prowls for Buffalo Audubon Society and other groups.
Rosenburg, Kristen - Elma, NY - Kristen has always enjoyed spending time outdoors, nurtured by family camping trips to the Adirondacks, Algonquin Provincial Park and Yellowstone National Park. As a child, she attended her very first beaver colony tour and owl prowl at Allegany State Park. While attending graduate school at SUNY-ESF, Kristen returned to Allegany State Park to conduct field research studying beaver behavior. After completing a master's degree in wildlife biology, she has been employed since 2000 by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as an Environmental Educator at Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve in Depew, NY.
Rosten, Marcus - Tonawanda, NY - Marcus’ love for nature was instilled at an early age thanks to weekly nature walks with his grandmother at Stiglmeier Park and summers spent camping at Allegany State Park. Those green cabins inspired him to pursue a career outdoors and earn a degree in Environmental Education and Interpretation at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Since graduating he’s served as an interpretive park ranger in our national parks and forests, taught place-based environmental education programs and led stewardship projects with local non-profit organizations, and worked as a fish and wildlife technician conducting wildlife surveys, managing habitats, and monitoring invasive species for state and federal agencies. Currently he is an Environmental Educator for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation at Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve. He also serves as a board member for the Western New York Land Conservancy, councilmember for the Buffalo Ornithological Society and is a member of the Erie County Environmental Management Council. Marcus is passionate about fungi, fish, ferns, birds, public land protection, and the Niagara River.
Rozeski, Molly - Lockport, NY - Molly has a bachelors degree in environmental studies from the University at Buffalo and an associates degree in animal management from Niagara County Community College. She has interned for the Buffalo Zoo working in the reptile house, arctic edge exhibits and the heritage barn cleaning animal holding areas, preparing their diets and educating the public on conservation. Molly also completed an internship with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation participating in American Woodcock research, duck banding and ring-necked pheasant releases. Today she works as a Fish & Wildlife Technician for NYS Department of Environmental Conservation's Bureau of Ecosystem Health, assisting with wetland delineations and completing stream and wetland permit project inspections.
Ruffino, Erin - Fredonia, NY - Erin Ruffino is primarily a gallery artist whose work often explores fantastical experiences in nature. Her drawings were recently featured in two major magazines: American Art Collector (May) and Fine Art Connoisseur (January). Ruffino's mural for The Roger Tory Peterson Institute was juried into the New York Society of Illustrators 64th Annual Competition. She designed the 2022 and 2023 ANP fundraiser logos. Personal endeavors include whistling to the noisy Eastern Screech Owl in her backyard. Turkey vultures are her favorite animals. Don't tell the screech owl.
Sam H. - Kenmore, NY - Sam is 13 years old, likes nature and engineering, and reading and telling stories. He has been attending ANP since 2019. Sam learned about telling stories from his grandfather, George. Sam’s grandparents Dee Kysor and George Crafts have been presenting together stories from around the world and popular and original songs since 1995. They have entertained children and adults in a number of settings, including schools, libraries, and camps. Last summer they were asked to share some songs and stories at Hog Island Audubon Camp. Spooky material has been one of their specialties from the beginning, and for years now they have performed for Halloween at Park School in Buffalo, New York.
Smolarek, Linda - Boston Valley, NY - Linda worked for EarthSpirit Educational Services for ten years and as tour guide and leader of the Babes in the Woods program at Beaver Meadow. She wrote nature education articles in Western New York Family for eight years. In addition to being a registered dietitian, she also is the author of the award-wining Adirondack Audacity Series (see Amazon.com for reviews.) A good day for Linda is a long hike in the morning and an afternoon spent under a tree with a good book!
Stokes, Phil - Hamburg, NY - Dr. Stokes is the Executive Director of Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve located in Hamburg, NY—the home of trilobites. In 2021 Dr. Stokes was honored as a 40 Under 40 Awardee by Buffalo Business First. Prior to working for Big Fossil, Dr. Stokes served as instructor, research associate, academic advisor, and community outreach coordinator in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona while pursuing his PhD. His 2016 dissertation, Diversity in Geoscience: Critical Incidents and Factors Affecting Choice of Major, used social and behavioral science to look at the factors behind underrepresentation in STEM fields, and in particular geology. Dr. Stokes has coordinated four multi-year National Science Foundation projects: three at the University of Arizona and one at SUNY Buffalo, where he earned his B.S. (2004) and M.S. (2007) degrees in Geological Science. His thesis work used ground penetrating radar to search for mastodon bones and to map glacially deposited units at the Ice Age Hiscock Site near Rochester, NY. In his spare time he plays guitar and ukulele, travels, and brings a telescope to music festivals for late night stargazing.
Taylor, Garrett - Bradford, PA - Garrett is a local amateur mycologist who is involved with cataloging the region's diversity by sequencing mushroom barcodes for the NCBI database. While the mushrooms are sometimes scarce, he is committed to finding out things about them like their seasonality, so he is after them 12 months a year to a proportional degree as the mushrooms are.
Thompson, Craig - Falconer, NY - Craig learned his birds on France Brook Road while still in grammar school. He was a teacher/naturalist at Jamestown's Audubon Community Nature Center in 1978-79 and thereafter worked for 33 years with NYS DEC in Albany. He has also served as the President of the Capital Region Audubon Society and Vice Chair of the Audubon Council of New York State.
Tumino, Joe - The acoustic music duo Nan Hoffman and Joe Tumino present concerts for audiences of all ages. Their rich blend of vocal harmonies and guitars accompany a repertoire that covers a wide range of folk songs and ballads, both contemporary and traditional, including topical, spiritual, and humorous songs. Joe and Nan are both from the Buffalo, NY area, and have performed for many years, separately and together, in coffeehouses and festivals, schools and churches, parks and community centers, and anywhere people gather to enjoy good music. Their programs are full and varied, fun and informative, and often encourage audience participation. Nan's and Joe's music is also available on CDs. These include collections of folk and contemporary acoustic music, children's music, and holiday music.
Vanek, John - Auburn, NY - John is a zoologist and research scientist with the New York Natural Heritage Program. Originally from Long Island, John is a broadly trained naturalist and wildlife scientist with expertise in herpetology, mammalogy, and urban wildlife. John has a B.S. in wildlife science from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (go Stumpies!), an M.S. from Hofstra University where he studied the ecology of Eastern Hog-nosed Snakes, and a Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University focusing on urban wildlife ecology and conservation. He enjoys long walks on the beach, oxford commas, and the smell of garter snake musk in the morning.
Victor, Jeffrey - Jamestown, NY - Dr. Victor first learned how to hunt for wild edible mushrooms in France, with his French wife. He has been gathering and photographing wild mushrooms around Jamestown, New York, for 58 years. He is the author, with his wife, of an article about hunting and cooking local wild mushrooms, published in Edibles, Western New York magazine. Dr. Victor is a retired Professor of Sociology who taught at Jamestown Community College.
Wahl, Glenn - Little Valley, NY - Glenn teaches physical geology at Jamestown Community College and has degrees in geology and biology. He's given talks about local geology and natural history at venues ranging from Chautauqua Institution to out in the woods at Little Rock City. He owns the Sawmill Run Wildlife Sanctuary, is active in area environmental groups and loves to spend time in Allegany State Park hiking, biking and paddling.
Webster, Kyle - East Rochester, NY - Kyle is a botanist with the New York Natural Heritage Program. He conducts botanical inventories to assess and map rare plants in State Parks and works to promote and advise on their conservation. Prior to joining NHP, Kyle worked for State Parks managing ecological restoration projects, floristic inventories and stewardship planning in the Finger Lakes region. Kyle also serves on the board of directors of the New York Flora Association where he helps curate the New York Flora Atlas and lead field trips to botanically rich areas across the state.
Wellman, Adele - Salamanca, NY - Adele's job is to connect people with nature. In other words, she is the Environmental Educator for the Allegany Region and ASP is her playground! She loves to ride her mountain bike, cross country ski or just hike in the woods and take photos of really tiny cool things. With a degree in biology and a love of insects, fireflies and plants are some of her favorite things.
Welton, Jocelyn - Lockport, NY - Joceyly is a lifelong attendee of the ANP and credits these spring weekends in Allegany SP with fostering her love of nature. She has studied and taught biology disciplines from subcellular biology to ecology. Jocelyn studied at SUNY Fredonia and SUNY ESF and has taught at several community colleges. Currently Jocelyn devotes much of her time to working closely with her children’s school district as a parent representative, as well as other volunteer pursuits. Jocelyn’s hobbies include gardening, photography, hiking and birdwatching.
Wightman, Rebecca - East Aurora, NY - Rebecca has been enjoying the sport of orienteering at an intermediate level for over 40 years. She has competed on cross country skis, in a canoe, and at night, and is familiar with the standard and Score-O styles. She has also completed the permanent courses known as Map Hikes. Although a member of the Buffalo Orienteering Club, she has also participated in the sport in southern Ontario, Rochester and Syracuse. Rebecca has been coming to the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage since the 1970's as a teen. She is a member of the Niagara Frontier Botanical Society and the Nature Sanctuary Society of Western New York. Rebecca works as a public health engineer at the Erie County Department of Health and lives in East Aurora with her partner Tom Casey and their dog Rosie.
Wopperer, Jay - Williamsville, NY - Jay has been birding for many years. He learned bird identification from the best teachers at the Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo Audubon and East Aurora Birding Club. Birding has been a life long hobby that brings him much joy. Jay enjoys sharing my knowledge and experience with others.
Wymer, David - Portville, NY - David has been interested in astronomy and nature his entire life. He began doing astrophotography and auroraphotography in the late 90s. Never fully about the pictures, but about getting to those rare, quiet, DARK places that so few see anymore.