Pikes Peak Birding & Nature Festival



schmoker_head-shotBill Schmoker embarked on the US Arctic GEO-TRACES Expedition as a PolarTREC  teacher.

In addition to his 24 years of teaching middle school science in Boulder, Bill is an instructor for the American Birding Association, National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, and Boulder County Nature Association. His leadership roles in the birding community include terms as Colorado Field Ornithologists president, Colorado Bird Records Committee member, and regional eBird Reviewer.  Bill has embarked on two Arctic Ocean research expeditions as a PolarTREC Teacher and explored Greenland as a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow.

A widely published bird/wildlife photographer, author, and public speaker, Bill finds adventure and seeks new knowledge wherever he finds himself, whether gardening in his back yard, on an icebreaker at the North Pole, and everything in between.


Dr. Brian Linkhart has been studying Flammulated Owls since he was a graduate student.

Brian Linkhart

Dr. Linkhart with Flams

The Flammulated Owl is as small as a fist and reticent enough to disappear into the shadows of western forests. Considered the country’s leading expert on Flammulated Owls, Brian has been studying the demography and habitat requirements of this small raptor on the Manitou Experimental Forest since 1981. His aim is the development of conservation plans for forest ecosystems containing this and other sensitive species. With this extended period of study, Brian has been able to uncover some fascinating secrets about this species.

Dr. Linkhart is a Professor of Biology at Colorado College, where he teaches courses in ornithology, ecology and field biology.



Eric Eaton

Eric and his wife, Heidi

Eric R. Eaton is a natural history writer and illustrator, and principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. He has also been published in Bird and Blooms, Ranger Rick, Missouri Conservationist, Orion, and other popular journals. He has been employed as an entomologist at the Oregon Zoo, Cincinnati Zoo, and Chase Studio, Inc., plus has completed private contracts with the Smithsonian Institution and Portland State University.His fascination with all things “insect” is contagious.





Debbie Barnes-Shankster

Debbie Barnes-Shankster

Debbie Barnes-Shankster has been birding and photographing birds for over ten years. She is the Aiken Audubon Society board secretary and a popular Aiken field trip leader. In addition, she volunteers for Colorado State Parks. She teaches raptor identification classes at Cheyenne Mountain State Park, has spoken at meetings of the Colorado State Raptor Monitors. Debbie id thr author of a photographic field guide to the birds of Florissant Fossil Beds Nat’l. Monument to go with her popular birding class there.





Mark Izold

Mark Izold has taught at Pikes Peak Community College for the past 16 years.  Previously he  taught at the Maricopa Community Colleges of the Phoenix, Arizona region and at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.  He specializes in micropaleontology and holds a BS and MS in the Geological Sciences.







Wild Things

The Wild Things Outreach Program is a volunteer group of dedicated students from the Zookeeping Technology program at Pikes Peak Community College. Wild Things allows students to gain extra hands-on experiences with a variety of educational animals while practicing their interpretive public speaking skills. The students accepted into the Wild Things Program have completed the program’s prerequisite courses and are well prepared to provide any group with a fun, educational and interactive experience!




The Mile High Bug Club is a non-profit organization dedicated to conservation of Colorado insects, arachnids, and other arthropods. They aim to develop awareness and encourage interest in Colorado arthropods; and support the protection of these creatures and their environments.