Leaders & Office Staff

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Matt Larson

Matt Larson is a graduate of the University of Montana. He has worked as a research biologist with the Owl Research Institute since 2008. He is a lifelong naturalist and avid outdoorsman. His research, focused primarily on North American owls, has afforded him the opportunity to travel and work throughout western Montana and Alaska. Matt has published six professional papers. He also has four papers in review and will be a co-author for the Northern Pygmy Owl, Birds of North America (BNA) spe...


Erik Lindqvist

Erik Lindqvist (Tour Operations Manager) is a graduate of Pepperdine University who joined VENT in 1997. A travel veteran, Erik has over 30 years of experience in the industry including stints in operations management, training, and marketing. He enjoys bicycling, outdoor activities, live music, and spending time with his wife, Lisa, and sons, Brad and Karl.


Geoff Lockwood

Geoff Lockwood's interest and involvement with birds dates back to his early years at school and forms part of a wider interest in the biodiversity of the Southern African sub-region. After leaving school, he began a career as a bird artist, illustrator, and author. In 1981, he published Garden Birds of Southern Africa and later also contributed half the illustrations to the 5th and 6th editions of Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. Geoff is currently based at the Delta Environmental ...


Greg Lopez

Greg Lopez (Tour Operations Manager) began working for VENT in 1990, and has since realized the importance of taking care of our environment through conservation, and gained an increased appreciation for what nature has provided for us. He enjoys traveling to locations where he is able to observe people and their lifestyles and cultures, and how they are affected by the environment in which they live. When not traveling, Greg enjoys spending time at his home in the Texas Hill Country with&nbs...


Barry Lyon

Barry Lyon's passion for the outdoors and birding has its roots in his childhood in southern California. During his teenage years, he attended several VENT/ABA youth birding camps, which ultimately led to his future involvement with Victor Emanuel Nature Tours. He holds a B.A. from the University of Arizona at Tucson where he studied history and political science, with an emphasis on environment and development politics. Barry joined the VENT team as a tour leader in 1995 and embarked on a tr...


Stephanie Mason

Stephanie Mason is Senior Naturalist for the Audubon Naturalist Society with over two decades of experience leading nature tours, field trips, courses, and tours. She has enthusiastically shared her love and deep knowledge of the natural world with thousands of people, working largely in the Washington area, but also leading tours to other parts of the U.S. and many times to Costa Rica. For over a dozen years she has helped conduct biological surveys at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorad...


Jonathan Meyrav

Jonathan Meyrav’s interest in birds began at the age of 10, and by age 12 he was the youngest member of a junior birders’ club. At 14 Jonathan earned his banding license and began participating in elaborate monitoring projects in Israel. As an environmental studies student at Ben Gurion College, Jonathan fell in love with the desert and desert birding, and would spend entire days monitoring migrants and taking part in surveys and research programs. Jonathan has traveled the world ...


Brennan Mulrooney

Brennan Mulrooney was born and raised in San Diego, California. Growing up, his heart and mind were captured by the ocean. He split his summer days between helping out behind the scenes at southern California's leading aquarium and working on sport fishing vessels off the coast. As a wildlife and fisheries biology major at UC Davis, he developed his fascination with birds and love of birding while taking a required ornithology course. After graduating from UC Davis, Brennan traveled ...


Tony Nunnery

Tony Nunnery grew up in Mississippi, then moved to Texas, and graduated from Stephen F. Austin University. After teaching elementary school for several years, he moved to Monteverde in Costa Rica. His fascination with birds began when a friend there showed him a Resplendent Quetzal and a Bare-necked Umbrellabird in the same tree. This experience "hooked" him on birds, and he soon learned the Costa Rican birds, ran the Tarcoles Lodge, and conducted guided tours. In 1997 he relocated ...


Michael O'Brien

Michael O'Brien is a freelance artist, author, and environmental consultant living in Cape May, New Jersey. He has a passionate interest in bird vocalizations and field identification, and a serious addiction to migration and nocturnal birding. His travels have taken him throughout North and Central America and beyond. At home in Cape May, Michael serves as an Associate Naturalist with Cape May Bird Observatory for whom he conducts numerous workshops, and, for many years, conducted ...


Brian Patteson

Brian Patteson grew up near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, but has a keen interest in seabirds, which began over 30 years ago when he started organizing pelagic trips off the coasts of Virginia and North Carolina. In 1995, Brian moved to Hatteras, North Carolina in order to run a more extensive schedule of birding trips to the Gulf Stream. Since that time, thousands of birders have traveled to the Outer Banks to participate on these trips. In addition to providing an exciting day offsh...


James Purcell

James Purcell has been birding since the age of nine when he got his first bird feeder in his Connecticut yard. He graduated from Cornell University in 2018 with a degree in Biological Sciences concentrating in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and spent his undergraduate career working closely with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology on several projects. He has recorded sound and video for the Macaulay Library in the United States and Australia and conducted independent research projects on the so...


Robert Ridgely

Robert S. Ridgely has made an enormous contribution to Neotropical ornithology. A prolific author and researcher, he is the author, with John Gwynne, of A Guide to the Birds of Panama, still one of the finest field guides ever published (and one of the first, way back in 1976). Since then he has traveled virtually everywhere in South America and has become recognized as one of the top experts on its birds.  In the early 1980s, he and his friend Guy Tudor began the monumental task of prod...


Chris Rogers

BirdNote Board Member, Chris Rogers, is CEO and Founding Partner of Point32, a Seattle-based project management firm that helps non-profits execute capital improvement planning and building projects. He was formerly the Director of Capital Projects for the Seattle Art Museum where he oversaw the development of the Olympic Sculpture Park, and prior to that oversaw land conservation transactions for the Trust for Public Land. His interests include international travel, birding, beekeeping, and ...


Brad Schram

Brad Schram became fascinated with birds as a child in the mountains of California, the start of an enthusiasm that has modified and enriched his life. He has birded on all the continents and scores of the world's oceanic islands. Since his early retirement from the business world in 1996, he has led birding tours in much of the American West, as well as Alaska, Antarctica and the subantarctic islands, Hawaii, Iceland-East Greenland, Kenya, and Trinidad and Tobago. While serving as b...


René Shields

René Shields (Tour Operations Assistant) has worked in the recreational travel industry for most of her professional life. She is a native Texan with a business degree from the University of Texas at Austin. With her husband Gary, she enjoys foreign and domestic travel, bicycling around Austin and the Texas Hill Country, and socializing with other "cavers" at the UT Grotto meetings.


Kaz Shinoda

Kaz Shinoda has been integrally involved in the logistics and planning of VENT's Japan tours. He was born in Yokohama, Japan, in 1957. From age 11 to 14 he lived in South Africa with his family and often went on safari where he learned about the fascinating world of wildlife. He later became a birdwatcher and has now been a keen birder for about 20 years. Kaz graduated from Waseda University in Tokyo, and then taught English to high school students for more than two decades before dedicating ...


Raj Singh

Raj Singh, born in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, is a distinguished ornithologist, fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, and inveterate world traveler. His first passion in life is wildlife conservation, and his knowledge of natural history is unsurpassed. He also has a fascination with India's history, culture, and cuisine. A descendant of India's royal Kshartriya family from Bharatpur, Raj is the author of Bird and Wildlife Sanctuaries of India, Nepal and Bhutan, and Mammals o...


Bob Sundstrom

Bob Sundstrom has led VENT tours since 1989 to many destinations throughout North America, as well as Hawaii, Mexico, Belize, Trinidad & Tobago, Japan, Turkey, Iceland, Papua New Guinea, the Southwest Pacific, Antarctica, the Bering Sea, and the Galapagos. When not on tour, Bob keeps busy as lead writer for the public radio program BirdNote, heard on over 200 radio stations nationwide (visit www.birdnote.org). With a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Washington, Bob enjoys ...


Scott Sutcliffe

Scott Sutcliffe is Director of Annual Fund and Stewardship at the Cornell Lab. He's been a birder since the age of 6 when his grandfather introduced him to Cornell through a gift of Songbirds of North America, an early recording from the Cornell Library of Natural Sounds. Scott received a BS from Cornell in 1975 and an MS from the University of New Hampshire in 1980, both in wildlife ecology. Upon graduation, Scott taught 5th grade science for a year, then directed the N.H. Loon Preservation ...

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