Travel……I can certainly say with confidence, has been in my blood since early childhood. All through my childhood, I spent only two years in a location, moving from one place to another City, State and /or country. Moving so frequently was due to being in a military family. (U.S. Navy) I was born in London, England and as an infant went to Rabat, which at that time was French Morocco. Then came the move to the U.S. and places like Norfolk, Virginia: Key West, Florida: Bainbridge, Maryland: San Diego California: and Cleveland, Ohio were just some of the places I lived through my elementary years of schooling. I actually caught my very first snake as a youngster of 4 years of age, which was a California King Snake, in San Diego, California. Then as a middle schooler, moved to Keflavik, Iceland where I actually lived for just over two years and it was there that I acquired my love of birds and birding. Then on to Londonderry, Ireland (right at the height of the rioting in Northern Ireland) and finally as a high school senior, I went to a U.S. school in Lakenheath, England. So, I really believe that this early foundation set my “persona” as to what I wanted to do in life…….be a consummate student of natural history and travel the world. Both of which I can say I have accomplished.
In regards to the travel aspects, I have traveled extensively all over North America mainly in search of new birds to observe and reptiles to collect. Actually the collecting part was in my early years (1971 – 1983) as I collected specimens for Texas, Zoos as well as for my own captive breeding projects. In regards to International Travel, the world has been my playground and classroom. I worked for Zoo Atlanta in herpetology and spent some time in Belize on a monitoring project for Morelet’s Crocodile. From Zoo worked I moved on to nature center work, and as Executive Director of Chattahoochee Nature Center (CNC), I started a travel program that became very successful going to locations in Georgia as well as providing two international trips per year, which were arranged through International Expeditions, (I.E.). Over a period of 6 years, I filled trips to East Africa, Indonesia, Australia, Alaska and numerous locations in South America. Upon leaving CNC, I joined the staff of International Expeditions. I worked for I.E. for 12 years, first as a program director for Alaska, Costa Rica and Venezuela. Within a couple of years, I moved into outside sales, working with Museums, Zoos, Nature Centers and University Alumni groups. Also, all through these early years, I lead trips as an expedition leader. During the second 6 years with I.E., I worked almost entirely in the field as an expedition leader. Leading as many as 12 trips per year and some years visiting all 7 continents. In addition, I provided itinerary development, visiting many countries to investigate the value of investing into a new destination and I also provided most of the speaking engagements for I.E. as well as talked with groups and / or individuals that had questions about the wildlife that may be observed on I.E. trips. Lastly, I have also worked extensively with students in Neotropical destinations. I have designed workbooks and have worked in the field with students providing exciting programs. Some examples of activities include: data collection of temperature and relative humidity twice daily throughout the length of a trip, amphibian monitoring, botanical adaptation observations, and seining for aquatic organisms in the Amazon and its tributaries. I have been an instructor with large participant groups of students in the Amazon as well as worked as an instructor on family trips with as few as 8 children.
Due to my extensive experience in eco-travel, I can offer consulting services for many aspects of the travel business. This includes companies based in the U.S. (outbound operators) as well as international travel companies working as “in-bound” operators.
One of the benefits of my consulting services is that I can provide a service at a “one time cost” that otherwise may require a staff person, who is either permanent or part time staff…..that comes at an expense of salary plus workman’s comp, social security etc….. Thus, a contracted service can be extremely cost effective for a travel business in today’s world of financial hardships that many companies are facing.
The following are some of the services I can provide but certainly not limited to:
1) Itinerary writing to include exciting wildlife components on species of wildlife that guests are likely to observe.
2) Provide species checklists (multi disciplined) Birds, mammals, reptiles as examples. I can provide the checklists, including printing with company logo and contact info or can provide the list electronically in a format that a company can print as desired.
3) Provide speaking engagements on behalf of a travel company to groups, organizations or events as needed. I can speak about specific destinations and / or on wildlife, including general wildlife, specific groups of animals or a specific species.
4) I can represent a company at an event, such as a travel show / mart acting as a liaison to inform participants of a company, its itineraries and in general promote the travel company in professional and enthusiastic manner.
5) I can provide guide training in other areas of the world to insure guides have a good understanding of the standards expected by the visiting guests from the U.S. In addition, guiding techniques are covered from the point of receiving guests at the airport to the time of departure. Most guide trainings take 2 full days to administer.
6) I can review printed material as well as wildlife photos to insure accuracy. This is very important as it greatly enhances the creditability of a company when promotional material is accurate in regards to wildlife species expected at a destination at a particular time of year and that the photographs represent wildlife that are likely to be observed by guests.
7) Due to extensive travel experience, I can assist in development of itineraries to new destinations and advise accordingly if a destination is worthy of spending time, energy and money to develop as a primary destination.
These are just some of the basic services I offer. If you have other needs in “eco-travel” related business, please do not hesitate to contact me.