Fred Gralenski

Fred Gralenski left his secure job and home in the Boston area (he was a project engineer for Raytheon Missile Systems) and attained his dream in 1988 by building a log home on the shore of Cobscook Bay on land that he and his wife Linda could almost afford. He had been involved with nature even before he got here with MA and NH Audubon societies, and he continues; with birds, amphibians, reptiles, and Lepidoptera being his favorites. Mammal study, botany, photography, and other entomology are not far behind. In his spare time Fred puts in many hours a week at the Pembroke Library. He is president of the Pembroke Library, vice-president of the Pembroke Historical Society and writes the Quoddy Nature Notes column for the Quoddy Tides newspaper.

Gayle Kraus

Dr. Gayle Kraus teaches Marine Mammals and Pelagic Birds, Oceanography, Ichthyology, Invertebrate Zoology, Ornithology, Skeletal Preparation, General Ecology, and occasional special topics in wildlife rehabilitation at University of Maine/Machias. Gayle and her students participate in the Marine Mammal Stranding Network involving whales, dolphins, and seals. She and her students maintain fresh and saltwater aquaria; have started culturing corals; and monitor local zooplankton communities, amphibians, and toxic algae. She is a compiler for Audubon Christmas Bird Count and incorporates censusing techniques into her work. She and her students have built and maintain two labyrinth gardens.

Zach Sheller

Zach Sheller , the Hatchery Manager for Downeast Salmon Federation, joined the DSF team in 2014. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from University of Maine in Machias in 2006, and he has done a variety of jobs including Atlantic salmon restoration, being a fisheries technician at sea, observing endangered species, and sea turtle conservation. This work has taken him all along the east coast from Downeast Maine to the Key of Biscayne in Florida. Email:

Deirdre Whitehead

Deirdre Whitehead has worked as Regional Steward for Maine Coast Heritage Trust since 2009. She has a large territory that excludes the Bold Coast but includes many islands and mainland properties from Milbridge to Eastport. Before that she headed up the Environmental Department for the Passamaquoddy Tribe. She has led many trips and hikes with children and adults in Washington County. Living in Pembroke, she enjoys gardening and music.  She joined the Festival planning committee in 2018.

Erik Blomberg

Dr. Erik Blomberg is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology at University of Maine / Orono who has been conducting research on upland game birds since 2001, with a focus on Maine since 2012.He holds a BS from the University of Wisconsin / Stevens Point, an MS from the University of Rhode Island, and a PhD from the University of Nevada / Reno, where his dissertation research focused on Greater Sage-Grouse in the American Great Basin.Here in Maine Erik and graduate students in his lab study Ruffed Grouse, Spruce Grouse, American Woodcock, and Wild Turkey, with most of the work in the lab being focused on habitat associations and their links to bird populations. Erik lives in Old Town with his wife, one‑year‑old son, and two unruly dogs.

Woody Gillies

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Woody Gillies has had an interest in birds since his mother introduced him to backyard birding at an early age. When he was in junior high, he tagged along with his older brother who was taking a field ornithology course in college. Woody is a retired Professor Emeritus from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY where he taught chemistry for thirty-five years. He was a member of the Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club and Massachusetts Audubon and presently is president of Fundy Audubon, a local chapter of Maine Audubon. Woody has birded in the Canadian Maritimes, Central America, Australia, and Europe. He has been interested in nature photography most of his adult life and has photographed birds wherever his travels take him. In 2017, he did a Washington County Big Year with a year-end total of 199 species.

Susan Cline

Susan Cline has lived on Campobello Island all her life. Since a young child, she has been curious about the natural world around her. Since 2006 Susan has been a summer employee at Herring Cove Provincial Park, enabling her to continue expanding her knowledge of the flora and fauna of the Island. Since 2012 she has particularly focused on identifying birds and learning their songs and behavior.

Sandi McRae Duchesne

Sandi Duchesne likes nothing better than an adventure in the Maine woods—even during the height of black fly season. She spent many memorable summers working as a wilderness camp counselor and a Registered Maine Guide for whitewater rafting, and her midlife career change to civil engineering and planning has allowed her the privilege of being paid to explore the length and breadth of Washington County. Sandi has been active in many environmental and active-lifestyle organizations in Maine, including many years as a board member and officer of the Penobscot Valley Chapter of Maine Audubon.

Rich MacDonald

Rich MacDonald is a lifelong birder, naturalist, and field biologist. He can often be found outdoors with binoculars strapped over his shoulder and an ear tuned to the birds. Much of his time has been spent investigating the natural world for organizations such as The Nature Conservancy and Audubon. His studies have encompassed Lake Champlain's colonial waterbirds, northern forest boreal birds from the Adirondacks to Newfoundland, and migratory songbirds in the Dominican Republic. In recent years, Rich has served as lead naturalist on several National Public Radio cruises.

Meg Scheid

Meg grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. Integrating her interests in arts, science and education she earned a degree in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. She began her career with the National Park Service in 1983 as a naturalist in Acadia National Park. In 1995, she moved to Nova Scotia where she started a business guiding tours for visitors to historic Acadia (Eastern Canada and Maine). Today, Meg works as a park ranger at Saint Croix Island International Historic Site in Calais, where she continues to interpret historic Acadia.

Maurry Mills

Maurry is a Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and has been stationed at the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge since 1985. He is one of the original founders of the Downeast Birding Festival and has served on the planning committee since the first festival.  During his 42+ year career with the national wildlife refuge system, he also has worked at the Rachel Carson Refuge in southern Maine and the Great Swamp Refuge in New Jersey. He is the state coordinator for the annual American Woodcock Singing Ground Survey and the Breeding Bird Survey. One of his specialties is geospatial technology, he is responsible for maintaining databases and reports, and generating maps for the Northern Maine Refuge Complex using GIS and GPS computer programs.

Maurry has been watching birds and other wildlife since the early 1970s. Although his primary interest is in migratory birds, he has also worked with mammals, herps, vernal pools, forest, wetlands, and grassland management, and public education and outreach.  He was the handler and care giver for Bart, a permanently injured bald eagle for 15 years.  During that time he visited all the grammar schools in Washington County and other events throughout the state of Maine, presenting programs on the history and life cycle of the bald eagle.  One of his current assignments is writing and editing portions of Moosehorn’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan which will guide the refuges course of management over the next 15 years.  He currently resides with his wife in Dennysville along the Dennys River.  During the first few years of his life he lived on a family farm on land that is now part of the Great Swamp NWR’s Wilderness Area.

Marion Bates

Marion is a forest ecologist and has been an avid birder for over 40 years. She spends much of her free time learning new ways to identify and describe bird vocalizations. She also studies the habitat preferences of eastern Maine’s birds. Marion has been leading tours and doing local breeding bird surveys since 1998. 

Kirk Gentalen

Kirk Gentalen first went bird watching in 1988 in Acadia National Park and he hasn't looked back since. Since then, Kirk has worked as a naturalist in 13 states and led birding trips in Alaska, California, Georgia, and Massachusetts. Gentalen currently works for Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) as a steward/naturalist. While much of his MCHT work focusses on Vinalhaven Island in Penobscot Bay, he also leads many walks, talks, and outreach programs with schools up and down the Maine coast. Kirk also edits the Vinalhaven Sightings Report nature blog and authors "Nature bummin' with Kirk Gentalen" for the St. George Dragon community journal. Kirk lives in St.George with his wife and son.

Jeanne Guisinger

Jeanne is the Program Coordinator for Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) programs in Down East Maine. This is her 7th year with the birding festival. While she is not an experienced birder, she enjoys absorbing as much as possible each year. Her favorite finds have been the Eastern Bluebird, a very cooperative American Woodcock, a chestnut-sided warbler, and last year’s pick-of-the-flock--a ruffed grouse. (When you’re a true novice, you get a treat every time you go out.) Jeanne coordinates eleven other Road Scholar programs in the Passamaquoddy Bay area.

Fred and Linda Gralenski


Fred and Linda Gralenski left their secure jobs and home in the Boston area (Fred was a project engineer for Raytheon Missile Systems and Linda was a medical secretary at Mass General Hospital) and attained their dream in 1988 by building a log home on the shore of Cobscook Bay on land that they could almost afford. They had been involved with nature even before they got here with MA and NH Audubon societies, and they continue; with birds, amphibians, reptiles, and Lepidoptera being their favorites. Mammal study, botany, photography, and other entomology are not far behind. In her spare time Linda is heavily involved with hospice and the Board of Directors of the Calais Regional Hospital, and along with Fred, puts in many hours a week at the Pembroke Library. Fred is president of the Pembroke Library, vice-president of the Pembroke Historical Society and writes the Quoddy Nature Notes column for the Quoddy Tides newspaper.

Dr. Herb Wilson

Dr. Herb Wilson is the Leslie Brainerd Arey Professor of Biosciences at Colby College in Waterville. He has a broad range of ornithological interests. Over the past quarter century in Maine, he has conducted research on the ecology of Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Palm Warbler, Semipalmated Sandpiper, and Purple Finch. For over 20 years, he has been tracking patterns of spring arrival of migratory breeding birds with the assistance of over 200 citizen scientists.

Delia Mae Farris

Delia Mae Farris is a Cutler native, and an historical archivist for the many generations of her family’s lives on four lighthouse islands and fishing boats.  She is a prolific storyteller, sharing her talents with young and old alike, in schools and communities throughout the downeast region.   She is an interpreter for the historic McCurdy Herring Smokehouse Museum in Lubec, and leads shoreline tours for APPLE.  “Reflections from Destiny Bay,” Delia’s essays on coastal nature and people, can be found in the Quoddy Tides Newspaper.