My fascination with the natural world started early, through many wilderness excursions with my father and brother in New Jersey. We did lots of camping in the mid-Atlantic before I left home to visit wonderful natural areas around the world as I became involved in research. All along my sense of responsibility about protecting the environment has grown stronger. That is why I have dedicated myself to biodiversity conservation research and education.
I received my PhD in sensory and behavioral ecology from the University of Maryland. I have been involved with ecological and genetic research on several endangered and iconic bird species. Currently, I work at the Smithsonian Institution as project coordinator and researcher for the Red Siskin Initiative, an international team that is working to recover the iconic Red Siskin in Venezuela and Guyana. I also work with the Smithsonian Earth Optimism program to highlight conservation success stories and motivate more support and engagement globally. Finally, I am very active in outreach and education to the public, with students and any other audience where I can have an impact.
The Sun Conure, like the Red Siskin, is an uncommonly beautiful and iconic bird. These ambassador or flagship species garner extraordinary concern and attention. We leverage this special interest to bring attention to other species, habitats and important issues on a regional scale. Saving one species is important, but the Sun Conure also provides an opportunity to maximize our resources and effort for the broadest possible impact for birds, ecosystems and people.