Staff

Janelle Long – Executive Director

Janelle Long began her career as the Executive Director at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory in August 2007. She received her M.Ed. in Environmental Education at the University of Minnesota Duluth and a B.S. in Wildlife Management and Biology at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. Her interest in ornithology and conservation biology began by assisting several Ph.D. students with their field research studying neotropical migrants and grassland birds. She continued to share her passion for birds in the field of environmental education working at several Audubon Centers and for the Bureau of Land Management’s Yaquina Head Oustanding Natural Area in OR. She enjoys bridging the bird conservation research, education, and stewardship components through her career with Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. Janelle resides in Duluth, MN with her husband and 3 children.

jlong@hawkridge.org
218-428-6209

Margie Menzies – Education Director

One part educator, two parts naturalist, and two parts bird nerd! Who says slow and steady wins the race? After years in the formal classroom, this educator has abandoned the indoors for the great outdoor classroom. Margie joined the Hawk Ridge staff as a Naturalist in 2011 and currently is the Education Program Director for Hawk Ridge. Providing naturalist programming for the general public furnishes many colorful and meaningful experiences with every day on the job. She loves birds, learning, and sharing the natural world with people of all ages. She also works with passerine banding at Hawk Ridge during migration and with three MAPS stations studying summer breeding birds at Hawk Ridge, Wolf Ridge, and Sugarloaf Cove. She has a BA in Biology from Bethel University, and a MA in Education from University of St. Thomas. In addition to her Hawk Ridge adventures she also is the Naturalist at Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center up the North Shore in Schroeder, MN during the summer, and is an adjunct member of the University of Minnesota, Duluth Education Department working primarily with student teacher supervision.

mmenzies@hawkridge.org
218-428-8722

Frank Nicoletti – Banding Director/Spring Count Director

Frank Nicoletti grew up in New York State along the Hudson River where he started watching raptors at the age of 11. His passion for raptors and other birds fueled him to work at various locations including Cape May and Sandy Hook NJ, Braddock Bay NY and in Israel. From 1984 until 1996 he traveled throughout the country and conducted various raptor related projects which included nesting surveys, tracking winter raptors and migration work. He arrived in Duluth in 1991 to count raptors and to witness the invasion of the Northern Goshawk and he conducted the count until 2005. After moving to Duluth permanently in the fall of 1996, he conducted the first spring count of raptors migrating north in Minnesota along the West Skyline Parkway of Duluth. Frank continues to study raptors and has been concentrating on boreal forest owls and managing raptor banding sites. He has published a number of papers on birds and has helped with many authors working on books and articles.

He lives just north of Duluth with his wife, Kate. Frank joined the Hawk Ridge staff in 2011 as the Banding Director and as of 2018 has been directing the Hawk Ridge Spring Count (West Skyline Hawk Count).

fnicoletti@hawkridge.org

FALL 2022 TEAM

We welcome our Fall 2020 team which includes seasonal employees and volunteers. *Note: Hawk Ridge is happy to continue to work with UMD Graduate Students on their raptor research in conjunction with our Raptor Banding Project

David Alexander – Volunteer Bander

David Alexander grew up living all over the world, and after finishing his medical training in Dallas, Madison, and Tucson finally decided it was time to settle down. Through some luck, he and his wife Christina Tarasczuk landed in Duluth, MN of all places. David has been a sometimes passionate birder over the years and still manages to get overseas for a few nature trips a year. Starting in the Fall of 1995, he has been an annual visitor and later a volunteer at Hawk Ridge.

David served on the board of Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve for many years, took a hiatus, and is now in his second term on the board of Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. David works full-time as a radiologist for Essentia Health in Duluth. In his time off, he spends long days at Hawk Ridge in the fall helping to lead the Hawk Ridge Passerine Banding Project, as well as one of the assistant banders in the raptor project. In conjunction with Margie Menzies, he helps direct the summer MAPS breeding bird banding study.

Kara Beer, Banding Trainee

I grew up as a nature-lover in the city of Indianapolis and went on to study wildlife biology at Southern Illinois University. While working on a Northern Bobwhite project in Florida, I fell in love with the world of birds and haven’t looked back! Since then, I’ve been migrating about as a seasonal bird bander and technician across the West! I’m most recently coming from a position based out of Utah where I used my climbing background to access cliff-side Golden Eagle nests to collect data on the nestlings. I’m so excited to head back East, and witness fall migration firsthand this year at such a historic and high-volume station!  

Jake Behrens, Naturalist

Jake is an educator and outdoor enthusiast who has just moved to Duluth from Eau Claire, WI.  He loves running, hiking, canoeing, skiing and pretty much anything that gets him outdoors.  A bachelors in Wildlife Ecology from UW-Madison has afforded him the chance to work with all sorts of wildlife, from mule deer to porcupines.  Birds have always held a special place in his heart.  He’s had the opportunity to work on projects studying bobwhite quail, northern goshawks, and prairie nesting passerine species.  His real passion is sharing that love for the natural world.  This led him to pursue a degree in education from UW- Stevens Point.   He has since worked as an educator, teaching high school earth and environmental science.  He is looking forward to spending this season in our outdoor classroom at Hawk Ridge. 

Maggie Brown – Bander

Maggie grew up in Villa Park, IL and graduated from Michigan State University with a B.S. in Zoology in 2019. After graduating, she worked as an intern at the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory (GGRO) in the Marin Headlands, CA where she was introduced to the world of raptor research. She has spent additional field seasons in California monitoring the nesting status and reproductive success of Northern Spotted Owls with Point Blue Conservation Science. Maggie experienced her first fall migration at Hawk Ridge in 2020 while working as a count trainee, returned in 2021 as a banding trainee, and is thrilled to be back for another season as a bander! She looks forward to furthering her research skills this fall while once again enjoying the rhythm of migration and contributing to HRBO’s long-term data. 

Tyler Connell, Count Trainee

Tyler grew up on Long Island, New York and discovered his love for birding at a young age. Throughout high school he volunteered at Tackapausha Museum, helping to care for a variety of hawks, owls, and other animals. Although he majored in Political Science at the Ohio State University, he continued working with wildlife by volunteering at the Grange Audubon Center in Columbus, Ohio, and realized working with birds was his true passion when he joined the Ohio State Ornithology Club. This past winter he worked for the University of Arkansas-Monticello banding Mallards, and he just spent the summer doing point count surveys for secretive marsh birds (primarily Clapper Rails) on the Gulf Coast with Mississippi State University. His goal is to contribute as much as possible to avian research while spending as much as time as he can outdoors and travelling to new places. Aside from birding, Tyler‘s other interests include tropical fish/aquariums, local history, learning about foreign languages/cultures (especially when it involves trying new food), and making the outdoors more inclusive for LGBTQ+ people. Tyler fell in love with the North Woods region when he visited Sax Zim Bog in 2019 and is excited to spend a whole season in Minnesota this fall!  

Jess Cosentino, Fall Count Director

Jess Cosentino grew up in New Hampshire and began birding while helping on Canada Warbler research with a local professor. After graduating with a degree in environmental biology, he spent the next few years working as a seasonal field technician on a mix of avian-related research between the States, Jamaica, and Western Australia. His journey into hawkwatching began during a fall season as an intern with the New Hampshire Audubon at their Carter Hill Raptor Observatory. He’s also spent raptor count seasons in Montana on the Bridger Mountain range as well as the Veracruz River of Raptors project in Mexico. He is currently finishing a MSc. at the University of Saskatchwen where he has studied migratory connectivity in Sanderling using stable isotopes in feathers both in the Canadian prairies as well as coastal Texas, Peru, and southern Chilé. Jess worked as a Counter at Hawk Ridge fall of 2021.

Em Daly, Count Trainee

Despite majoring in mathematics, Em’s true passion has always been applied science and the natural world. They cannot remember a time that they weren’t deeply interested in birds, and have read field guides about birds as though they were novels since they were strong enough to hold up a book. Em is from Massachusetts but spent many years living in Helsinki, Finland, where they began studies on nest surveys and the genetics of warblers and fell in love with working with birds, too. On the off chance they aren’t walking and birding, Em loves drawing, playing violin, and spending time with their family and two cats.

Sara DePew, Lead Naturalist

Growing up by exploring the creek and woods in her back yard, it seemed inevitable that Sara would gravitate towards a career in natural science. She received her B.A. in Zoology and Environmental Science from Miami University, in her hometown of Oxford, Ohio, and has lived in Michigan for the last 16 years. 

Sara has spent over two decades in the animal care and environmental education field, sharing her love of conservation with others. Before joining Hawk Ridge, Sara was an animal care supervisor and placed rehabilitated trumpeter swans into breeding programs to increase wild population numbers. Proud to be part of this conservation success story, she is a supporter of the “Get the Lead Out” campaign to reduce lead poisoning in waterfowl and bald eagles. Her paper, “Still Threatened: Trumpeter Swans and the Lead Crisis” was published in the American Association of Zookeepers’ Animal Keepers Forum. After joining Hawk Ridge for an exciting spring season as the Naturalist/Count Interpreter, she is excited to spend her first fall in Duluth as the Lead Naturalist. 

Sara’s other interests include spending time with her animals at home, cooking, gardening, reading, and all things J.R.R. Tolkien; she dreams of one day visiting Middle Earth (a.k.a. New Zealand), where she can also see Kea parrots in the wild.  

Miranda Durbin – Volunteer Bander

Miranda Durbin has lived in Duluth most of her life, growing up right below Hawk Ridge.  She got her BS in Fisheries and Wildlife, with a specialization in Wildlife at the University of Minnesota.  Her love of birds didn’t begin in earnest until an ornithology class and an internship at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville helping in the avian nursery.After some traveling and time away from Duluth, she moved back in 2011 and began volunteering at Hawk Ridge during the 2012 fall season. She started volunteering in the banding station in 2013 and this will be her tenth year helping as one of the Banders at Hawk Ridge.

 

Daniel Goldberg, Education Trainee

Daniel grew up in Riverside, California with a lifelong love of animals that was fueled by his inspirational high school biology teachers and by watching birds in his backyard. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Biology from the University of California Riverside, where he studied dorsal fin displays in molly and Limia fish and became passionate about animal behavior. On a whim, he attended the 2015 American Ornithologists’ Union conference in Norman, Oklahoma, a meeting that changed his life and sparked his passion for birds. In 2016 he moved to Illinois, and his doctoral research in Biological Sciences at Illinois State University focused on vocalizations and duetting in rails (family Rallidae). Since graduating with his Ph.D. in December 2021, Daniel has volunteered as a winter raptor surveyor and Red-tailed Hawk trapper in central Illinois, and as a bird bander at the Lincoln Land Community College Bird Banding Station in Springfield, Illinois in the spring of 2022. Daniel enjoys birdwatching and hiking in his spare time, as well as reading, writing, and swing dancing. He is excited to be an education intern at Hawk Ridge for the Fall of 2022, and he intends to continue his studies of birds with a future postdoc in avian conservation biology, and ultimately hopes to become a university professor someday. 

Drake Hacker, Education Intern

Drake Hacker is originally from southeastern Wisconsin. He studies sustainability and Biology at St. Scholastica and is currently living in Duluth. He has always had a passion for the outdoors and protecting them through raising public awareness and improving people’s relationships with being outside.

Jason Heinen – Education Volunteer

Jason was bitten by the birding bug during his undergraduate studies in fisheries ecology in Oklahoma.  During a camping trip to the Texas hill country, he took notice of the boisterous Black-crested Titmice and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers and has been hooked ever since. Soon thereafter, he found himself, along with three others also afflicted, on a flight to Oaxaca City where he spent a much needed spring break careening through the Sierra Madre in a tiny car and tallying well over 300 species including a boatload of marvelous endemics. His love of travel and photography has taken him to many incredible locales including the Andes and the Amazon. He has also worked as a field tech in the Wichita, Ouachita, and Appalachian Mountains. After earning an MS in avian ecology, he spent the next three years as a research specialist investigating the bird-collision risks involved in training flights from Vance Air Force Base. More recently, Jason has begun to focus more on another of his passions – teaching. As a substitute and full time middle school science teacher, he spent much of the past 5 years delighting students with his Barred Owl impression. Most recently, he began work as a naturalist and welcome center host with Friends of Sax-Zim Bog. Jason brings great passion and enthusiasm for birds and conservation to the talented staff of HRBO this fall. Jason has worked as a naturalist at both Hawk Ridge and Friends of Sax-Zim Bog.

Allie Johnsted, Naturalist

Allie grew up in Superior, Wisconsin and graduated from UW-Superior with a major in Biology, minor in Earth Science, and a certification in Information Technology Systems. Allie enjoys outdoor activities such as fishing, camping, canoeing, snowboarding, and bird watching. Her passion for birds (primarily raptors) started after she took an Ornithology class at UWS. She also was a biology tutor at UWS, which grew her passion for teaching. Allie currently works as a Client Service Associate with Liberty Wealth Management of Raymond James. She will be returning for her ninth fall season as a weekend Naturalist with Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory.

Steve Kolbe – Volunteer Counter

Steve Kolbe has counted migrating birds at Bradbury Mountain, the Avalon Seawatch, Tussey Mountain, Holiday Beach, Kiptopeke, Derby Hill, and Hawk Ridge (fall 2014 & spring 2018). He recently completed his Master’s degree at the University of Minnesota Duluth studying the migration of Common Nighthawks and is currently working for the Natural Resources Research Institute. Steve will be returning for his 5th season as a volunteer to help with the fall bird migration count at Hawk Ridge. Steve loves watching and taking photographs of migrating birds.

Halle Lambeau, Research Graduate Student

Halle grew up surrounded by the beautiful lakes and forests of Wisconsin but has spent field seasons living in California, Washington, New Mexico, Illinois, and Nebraska. She is extremely passionate about avian conservation and has been grateful to experience the joy of working on projects related to threatened and endangered species management with various federal agencies and nonprofit partnerships. Halle’s specific interest in and love for raptors grew during her banding internship with Hawk Ridge in 2020, and she is thrilled to be in Duluth for a third year to continue her Master’s degree studying the breeding productivity of American Kestrels. If she has any free time during the coming year, you’ll probably find Halle hiking the beautiful trails of the Northwoods with her trusty binoculars. 

Hannah Landwerlen, Banding Trainee

Hannah Landwerlen grew up in Holly, MI and graduated from Michigan State University with a B.S in Fisheries and Wildlife and a minor in Environmental Sustainability. At MSU she worked at Michigan State Bird Observatory where she learned how to band and developed her passion for birds. Before graduating she worked a few field jobs with birds like Western Bluebird in Montana, and the Kirtland’s Warbler in Michigan. Hannah graduated from MSU in the fall of 2021 and has sense spent time in Florida working with endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrows, and Kaua’i working with native honeycreepers. Her fall banding experience at Intermountain Bird Observatory in Idaho, though, sparked an interest in working with and studying raptors. She is very excited to be working at Hawk Ridge this fall to explore this interest and the new experiences and opportunities it may bring. 

Julia Luger, Naturalist

Julia was HRBO’s first Environmental Education Trainee in 2014 – and is very excited to be back for another season on the ridge. After her season at Hawk Ridge, Julia spent time at Wolf Ridge ELC, in Homer, AK and in Yosemite National Park working as an Environmental Educator. She is happy to be back in Duluth and is looking forward to another sharing the magic of the migration. When she is not on the ridge, you can find Julia biking, hiking, paddling, gardening, reading, and hanging out with her cat and tortoise.  

Sean McLaughlin, Counter

Sean is from the ridge and valley province of Central Pennsylvania in the heart of hawk watching country. After years of birding the valleys, he discovered the wondrous migratory world in the air above. He has been a volunteer counter at Stone Mountain hawk watch, Bald Eagle hawk watch, and official counter at Tussey Mountain and West Skyline hawk watches. Sean has spent time in the north woods at Northland College, and is thrilled to spend the fall in Duluth.  

Lisa Oakland – Visitor Services Specialist

This is Lisa’s third year working at Hawk Ridge, but she is not a stranger. For many years she could be found up at the Ridge every fall to watch the migration and reconnect with staff, volunteers, and friends. She was raised in Duluth in a family that spent a lot of time outdoors, especially enjoying frequent camping trips every summer. She came to love birding as an adult through the influence of her wife and her father, who was a Hawk Ridge board member and avid birder. Lisa has many years of retail/customer service experience. Her love of birding, her customer experiences, love of interacting with people and her love of t- shirts and hats makes the merchandise trailer a perfect place for her to be in the fall. She lives in Cloquet, MN with her wife Barb. They enjoy spending free time camping,birding, and time outdoors in general-usually with binoculars.  When not pursuing these activities she can be found with a good book in hand.

Emily Pavlovic, Research Volunteer

Emily grew up in Northwest Indiana and got a BA in Biochemistry from Earlham College. Since then she has taught environmental education at various nature centers across the country. While working for the Audubon Society her love for birds and specifically raptors grew. Emily completed her master’s degree in Integrated Biosciences at UMD in 2022. She conducted her thesis research at Hawk Ridge which was focused on determining natal origins and migratory patterns for raptors using stable isotope analysis. She loves spending time at Hawk Ridge and is excited to continue helping with research in the fall! Emily lives with her partner, Sean, and their bluetick coonhound, Ezra. They enjoy hiking, cooking (and eating), and learning new skills! Emily is really grateful for all of the support from the HRBO Crew! 

Allie Pesano, Research Volunteer

Allie grew up in Syracuse, NY, obtained a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Unity College, and has traveled the country working on various avian ecology projects. She first joined Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory (HRBO) as a banding trainee in 2016. With this experience she discovered a passion for raptor migration and a home-away-from-home in Duluth and the HRBO community. This then led her to working with HawkWatch International in 2017, where she trapped, banded, and counted migrating raptors at the Goshute Mountains migration site in Nevada. She was excited to join HRBO again in 2018 as a bander, primarily running the Moose Valley station. Most recently, Allie graduated this summer with her Master’s of Science in Integrated Biosciences at the University of Minnesota Duluth. In collaboration with Hawk Ridge, Allie’s research utilized microsatellites and satellite transmitters to elucidate the probabilistic origins of Minnesota’s migratory Red-tailed Hawks, with a special focus on individuals with B.j. abieticolaand dark-morph phenotypes. 

Sophie Richardson, Naturalist

Sophie grew up in northern Minnesota and currently studies English, Biology, and Sustainability at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth. Her love for both wildlife and the outdoors has been present her entire life. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, running, camping, birding, biking (pretty much anything outdoors). She has worked at both Hawk Ridge as a naturalist and Wildwoods Wildlife Rehabilitation in the nursery. Sophie is not entirely sure what she’ll do in the future, but she is sure it will be in the environmental realm. She is excited to return to Hawk Ridge this fall and continue educating people from all over the world on the importance of this special place. 

Jadzia Rodriguez, Banding Trainee

In middle school, Jadzia read the Guardians of Ga’Hoole book series and became fascinated with raptors. She made the decision to pursue a career in natural resources after volunteering with wildlife biologists at White Sands Missile Range during high school. In 2020, she graduated from New Mexico State University with a B.S. in Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology. While attending NMSU, she had the opportunity to assist a graduate student with their Burrowing Owl translocation study in Arizona, which fueled her desire to support raptor conservation efforts. In the summer of 2019, Jadzia was hired as a student intern at Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico and was involved in their avian monitoring program. For four summer field seasons, she managed an avian nestbox network to monitor cavity-nesting bird species on the Pajarito Plateau. She also banded songbirds with LANL biologists at a MAPS station for the summer breeding season in the Sandia Wetlands and a fall migration banding station in the Pajarito Wetlands. Jadzia is thrilled to join Hawk Ridge this fall as a banding trainee and is eager to experience fall migration in the Midwest. 

Lesley Rolls, Owl Bander

My name is Lesley Rolls and I grew up in San Diego, CA. I received my B.S in Resource Conservation from the University of Montana. I have always had an interest in wildlife conservation, but didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. My first experience working with birds was back in 2014 at a rehab center called Project Wildlife in San Diego. It wasn’t until the past 5 years though that I really understood the value of each avian species and the scale to which they represent the health of our ecosystems. That’s when my passion in avian research really kicked off and since then I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of species of passerines, woodpeckers, shorebirds, waterfowl, owls and other diurnal raptors. This winter I will start my role as a wildlife biologist for Pheasants Forever where my research will primarily focus on the iconic Sage Grouse and guide conservation efforts to restore the habitats that so many other species rely on. This is my first season working at Hawk Ridge and I am excited to spend my nights banding owls, along with being part of this community and learning from some top-notch biologists! 

Gracie Sangmeister, Counter

Gracie Sangmeister grew up around Philadelphia, PA, and graduated with a BS in Wildlife Conservation from Juniata College in 2021.  After studying for two semesters at her college’s field station, where she spent 24/7 in the woods of central Pennsylvania, she truly developed a love for the natural world.  Gracie started hawk watching as an official counter at Bake Oven Knob in the Fall of ’21 and spent the spring of ’22 counting for Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch at their Mackinac Island, Michigan site.  She is excited to count for Hawk Ridge this fall.  When not hawk watching, she is hiking, paddle boarding, and taking photos of everything. 

Chris Schnurbusch, Education Trainee

Christine (Chris) Schnurbusch is from St. Louis, Missouri, and spent lots of her time further South on the family farm. There she watched and identified varying birds that came to the feeders. Her passion for birds took off in the summer of 2021, where she spent a day identifying the bird calling outside her apartment in the evening—the Common Nighthawk–and looked for them consistently for the remainder of the summer. Those birds found the #1 place in her heart, though the Brown-Headed Cowbird is a close second. Chris realized she wanted a career in Ornithology after taking an ornithology class at her university, where they studied 300 bird species found in the Midwest. This summer she worked in New Mexico, and began identifying Southwest species as well. She’s looking forward to working in Minnesota! 

Valerie Slocum, Volunteer Coordinator

Valerie grew up in Battle Creek, MI (aka the cereal capital of the world) with a love of the outdoors and the living world. She received her B.A.A. in Earth Science and Outdoor and Environmental Recreation from Central Michigan University. Valerie has spend the majority of her career both teaching educational programs as well as working with educational raptors at facilities such as Kalamazoo Nature Center, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, the Lake Superior Zoo, where she also served as the Volunteer Manager, and currently at Wildwoods Wildlife Rehabilitation. Volunteering has always played a big role in her life and began holding regular volunteer jobs when she was 15. She believes that volunteering is one of the most fulfilling activities that people can participate in. Valerie began volunteering with Hawk Ridge in 2013 and is very excited to work with all of the amazing volunteers this year! Her favorite bird is the Turkey Vulture, and if there’s anything you want to know, please ask her because she loves to tell anyone she can about these amazing creatures!

Jamie Tiggs, Naturalist

Jamie comes from Iowa and is a University of Iowa alumni with a BS in Environmental Sciences and Biology and current graduate student at the University of Minnesota-Duluth in the Masters of Environmental Outdoor Education program. He’s been banding and helping lead ornithologically focused events since 2018 at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. He’s excited for the upcoming year and being able to help out at Hawk Ridge. In his free time Jamie enjoys being bad at disc golf, recreational birding, and trying to complete the Hiking Club routes. 

Hannah Toutonghi, Research Graduate Student

Hannah Toutonghi is excited to be back at Hawk Ridge for a fifth season! She grew up in Washington State, where she found her love of birds and the natural world from an early age. After earning a B.S in biochemistry from the University of Washington, field work became the next chapter of her career. She has previously worked at the Natural Resource Research Institute, Whitefish Point Bird Observatory, Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, and the Institute for Bird Populations. Highlights from those seasonal positions include: getting dive-bombed by a Northern Goshawk while conducting point counts, banding juvenile Saw-whet Owls, witnessing the irruption of Black-backed Woodpeckers and White-winged Crossbills during fall migration, and hearing Marbled Murrelets in the old-growth forests of the Olympic National Park. Currently, Hannah is a second-year Master’s student at UMD, and will continue her work on researching the winter ecology and movement of Northern Hawk Owls. Hannah also enjoys hiking, camping, photography, and spending time with family, but never parting with her binoculars since birding can be done at any time, anywhere!

Caroline Urban, Naturalist

Caroline grew up in Plymouth, MN and wishes she had discovered her love of birds sooner. In college she had the epiphany that she was a bird nerd, and ever since she regrets every time she walks out the door without binoculars. Caroline worked as a naturalist at Wolf Ridge ELC in Finland, MN for two years where she was able to combine her two passions: birds and teaching. While not leading kids on bird hikes she learned how to band birds, and continued the momentum as a bird banding intern in northern New Mexico. She currently works at North Shore Community School in Duluth as the Environmental Educator and hopes all her students will become birders like her. Along with banding birds Caroline enjoys knitting, photography, reading, and writing letters to friends.  

Sarah Wood, Naturalist

Originally from Louisiana, Sarah has migrated often in search of adventure. After obtaining a BA in history from LSU, she spent a year in the Marshall Islands as a volunteer English teacher with WorldTeach, traveled to all fifty states, worked in the fishing industry in Alaska, and moved to West Virginia to improve her horsemanship skills. She also worked in the public school system of Pittsburgh, PA for a few years and loves teaching, but has decided that the great outdoors make a much better classroom than being stuck inside all day. Despite always having a love for the natural world, Sarah didn’t begin her birding obsession until a chance encounter with a Cooper’s hawk while biking in the early days of the pandemic. She enjoys observing all birds in their natural habitats, but raptors are her favorite. After a year of traveling around the Great Lakes region, eastern Canada, the Bay Islands of Honduras, and central Mexico, she spent this summer working as a naturalist at the Prairie Park Nature Center in Lawrence, Kansas. There, she aided in the rehabilitation of various wildlife and taught educational classes with non-releasable raptors that now serve as animal ambassadors. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, camping in her hammock, running, reading, writing, darning socks, and making buttermilk biscuits. Sarah is thrilled for this new adventure at Hawk Ridge. 

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