Leaders & Staff: Tour Leaders

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Diana Balcázar

Diana Balcázar has been interested in birds since she was a little girl. She began birding seriously in 1998, working with her neighbors in conservation efforts to protect the wetlands of her native city, Bogotá. At that time she joined the local ornithologist’s association and has since then conducted many environmental and birding workshops. Her knowledge of the English language and her great people skills led her to work (since 2009) as a birding guide. During her tours...

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Jessie Barry

Jessie Barry is the Merlin Project Leader at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. She started her life list at age 10, and during high school she attended VENT’s summer youth camps before heading to the University of Washington. Jessie is passionate about birds and is always working towards engaging more people in birding, citizen science, and conservation. She is active in building opportunities for young birders and undergraduates working towards careers involving birds. She also enjoys th...

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Alison Beringer

Alison Beringer is Associate Professor of Classics and Humanities at Montclair State University, where she teaches courses in literary history, women’s studies, and medieval literature and culture. She holds the M.A. in Classics from the University of Victoria and the Ph.D. in German Studies from Princeton University. Her scholarly research focuses on the transmission and illustration of Latin and German literature in the medieval and early modern periods. Her book The Sight of Semirami...

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Ellen Blackstone

Ellen Blackstone has been working with BirdNote since it was a figment of the founder’s imagination—before the show hit the airwaves in 2005. She writes and edits shows, blogs, and social media posts and sits in on recording as the bird and grammar consultant. As part of her work as web manager, she finds—and secures permission to use—all the photos that appear on the website and in social media. Well, somebody has to do it. A native Iowan, she started birding at the a...

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Sallie Bodie

Sallie Bodie is Managing Director of BirdNote. Since 2007, she has helped the organization grow into what is now a national production company with over a million daily radio listeners. Prior to BirdNote, she worked in public broadcasting and for other nonprofits including National Public Radio, the Smithsonian, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. She enjoys hiking, biking, and taking on ambitious house projects. Her travel list has many unfulfilled destinations including Big Bend National Park....

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Erik Bruhnke

Erik Bruhnke has had a love for birds since he was a child. He graduated from Northland College in Wisconsin with a Natural Resources degree in 2008 and taught field ornithology for various semesters while there. As a devoted raptor nerd, Erik is drawn to hawkwatches. He worked as an interpreter for six seasons at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory in Duluth, Minnesota; has counted migrating raptors at the Corpus Christi HawkWatch in Texas; and is the 2016 hawk counter at the Cape May Hawkwatch in N...