Meet the Maryland Avian Research & Conservation (MARC) Fund for Youth Committee.
George Radcliffe (Co-Chair), B.A., Hamilton College, M.Ed. Salisbury University – George’s love of birds comes not from childhood experiences but as a hook for getting students into the outdoors. Specializing in environmental education for many years, he found the world of birds to be a positive way to approach the study of the environment, contrasting with the often negative approach focusing on the ills of today’s natural world. To deal with environmental issues today, one needs a solid foundation of natural history and environmental systems, and the study of birds provides the most easily accessible avenue to beginning such an understanding. Thus, George is an educator first and a birder second, and his achievements underscore his commitment. During his tenure as a Middle School Science Teacher in Dorchester and Queen Anne’s Counties (1972-2009), George won the Presidential Award in Science Teaching, the Disney Creativity in Teaching Award, and was a state finalist for Maryland Teacher of the Year. He has been the Maryland Ornithological Society Youth Coordinator (YMOS) since 2005.
Chris Eberly (Co-Chair), B.S. Indiana University of PA, M.S. University of Georgia – Chris worked in the computer industry for a decade before having a minor epiphany and enrolling in grad school at the University of Georgia. While trying to figure out a research project he had a major epiphany – he could study birds and get a job working with birds! He never turned back. Chris spent 17 years managing the bird conservation program for all Department of Defense lands, then spent a couple years in Texas at Gulf Coast Bird Observatory. He returned to his Maryland birth roots and has been Executive Director of the Maryland Bird Conservation Partnership since 2017. Chris helped organize the first-ever Maryland Bird Conservation Symposium this past January with YMOS member Patrick Newcombe and YMOS leader George Radcliffe. He is amazed at the talent in YMOS and thinks George is feeding them a magical elixir.
Wayne Bell, B.S. University of Miami (FL), Ph.D. Harvard University – Dr. Bell is Senior Associate and founding Director of the Center for Environment and Society at Washington College. Prior to joining the College faculty in fall 2000 he served as Vice President for External Relations for the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), a global research facility headquartered at Horn Point near Cambridge, MD. His love of birds began in his childhood, catalyzed a bit by having Rachael Carson as a neighbor in Silver Spring, MD. While at Harvard he expanded this love to ecology in general, this time encouraged by E. O. Wilson at a time when the field was transforming itself from descriptive natural history into a predictive, quantitative science. Education has been a central element of Dr. Bell’s career. Retirement has enabled him to combine his love of teaching with his passion for field ecology and the outdoors. He uses birds as examples for teaching the principles of ecology to young people with emphasis on familiar habitats around their homes, communities, and schools. He is a past-president of the MOS and continues his affiliation through the YMOS program for youth birders. “If there no program like the YMOS, someone would have to invent it . . . Even so, there still is nothing like it!”
Maren Gimpel, B.A., Connecticut College. Maren Gimpel is Field Ecologist and Outreach Coordinator at Washington College’s Center for Environment & Society. Her work includes banding birds for both migratory and breeding studies, training and mentoring students, and coordinating research and visits to the WC River & Field Campus. A bander since 2002 and a birder for over 25 years, Maren also compiles the local Chesterville Christmas Bird Count. Before settling in Chestertown, MD, she worked on avian research projects from Nova Scotia to Tobago. She is excited about the MARC fund's ability to launch the next generation of avian researchers and conservationists. Washington College profile.
Autumn-Lynn Harrison, B.S., Virginia Tech; M.S. James Cook University, Australia; Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz – Autumn-Lynn is the Program Manager of the Migratory Connectivity Project and a research ecologist at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center with a special focus on marine bird migrations and conservation across borders. She has lived and worked in Australia, Kenya, South Africa and the U.S., but grew up in Cambridge, Maryland. Prior to joining the Migratory Bird Center in 2014, Autumn-Lynn worked for the Society for Conservation Biology for 11 years, as a postdoctoral fellow with the Institute for Parks at Clemson University, and as a naturalist at Pocomoke River State Park. Having grown up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with family roots going back to 1655, Autumn-Lynn has a life-long affection for the history, culture and environment of the Chesapeake Bay. If YMOS had existed when she was in school, she would have been a member! Smithsonian profile.
Patrick Newcombe – An avid birder, Patrick Newcombe has tied birding into his many interests. He helped organized the first MD Bird Conservation Symposium and has done research ranging from manakin courtship displays, to nocturnal migration, to the diets of endangered birds. Patrick had his paper, Migratory flight on the Pacific Flyway: strategies and tendencies of wind drift compensation, published in the professional journal Biology Letters in September 2019! He believes in environmental education and the economic sustainability for conservation. He is passionate about conservation and international development, and appreciates the mentorship he has received from many people. He is excited to give back to the birding community through the MARC Fund. Patrick is a senior at Sidwell Friends School (Montgomery County, MD) and a Caroline D. Bradley Scholar.