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.
Sallie is a birdwatcher from Concord MA/Harborside ME who loves this area and the opportunity to help other people get to know it. Pike Lands is one of her favorite spots. Sallie also serves on the Festival planning committee.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Colin Brown is the Education and Outreach Director at Downeast Lakes Land Trust in Grand Lake Stream. He moved to Downeast Maine in the Summer of 2010. After graduating from the University of Connecticut in 2005, he spent many years working as an environmental educator and is an avid naturalist. He is passionate about connecting people to the natural world and creating new outdoor experiences. Colin lives in Pembroke and enjoys hiking, camping, kayaking, and spending time with his family.
Chris has been exploring the shores of Cobscook Bay since 1989 and is interested in all aspects of nature in the area. As field staff for the University of Maine Sea Grant Program, he has conducted numerous research and educational programs on marine ecology including seabird studies. Chris and his family live in Eastport, where he enjoys birding year round.
Bob Duchesne became interested in birds in the first grade. Interest grew to passion and today Bob is currently President of the Penobscot Valley Chapter of Maine Audubon, and serves as a State Trustee. Bob is a frequent field trip leader for Audubon, and now operates his own guiding service with his wife, Sandi. Together, they have led trips from Atlantic Canada to the Florida Everglades. He spearheaded creation of the Maine Birding Trail, which launched in 2009, and is the author of Maine Birding Trail: The Official Guide to More than 260 Accessible Sites.
Bill Kolodnicki, a retired Refuge Manager with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was stationed at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge from 2004 - 2016. Previously he was at the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, Long Island NWR Complex, and with the National Audubon Society. He has been a bird watcher all his life and his graduate work dealt with colonial nesting water birds.