Meet the Leaders

Sarah Rupert
Sarah Rupert is a life-long southern Ontario girl and has been a nature lover since day one.  She has a particular passion and fascination for birds, which she loves to share through interpretive programs, art and other media.  Sarah has been birding her entire life, and hasn't missed a spring at Point Pelee since her first visit at 2.5 months old. Currently living in Leamington ON, her day job is with Parks Canada and the rest of the time she can be found looking at, drawing or painting the natural world around her.  She eagerly awaits the arrival of spring, and birders, to Pelee each spring.
Geof Burbidge
Geof's birding experience (apart from 19 years of Pelee spring birding) includes avian EA work in the wind power industry in Eastern Ontario and participating in the Ontario and Quebec breeding bird atlases. Formally trained as a geologist, Geof lives and works as a professional photographer in Chelsea, Quebec, and volunteers in the Botany section of the Canadian Museum of Nature in Gatineau.
Karl Konze
Karl has been leading guided bird walks for the Friends of Point Pelee every spring since 1993. (He is very familiar with the Park's trail system and knows where to go to find the birds). When he's not at Point Pelee he is working in Guelph as an Environmental Consultant.
Chris Earley
Chris Earley is the University of Guelph Arboretum's Interpretive Biologist and Education Coordinator and a self-proclaimed 'nature geek'. He teaches workshops at the Arboretum. Chris has also written a series of very popular bird identification books and children's nature books too. His latest work is called 100 Nature Hot Spots in Ontario. Chris has led many previous Quest tours, including to the High Arctic, the Galapagos Islands, Sri Lanka and several to eastern and southern Africa. His zoological knowledge is impressively broad and virtually encyclopedic, and his enthusiasm for wildlife is contagious!
Dave Milsoms
Naturalist, birder with over 5,000 species seen on his life list. World traveller with Flora and Fauna Field Tours, founded by him in 1989. Director for several years for OFO, the Ontario Field Ornithologists, and currently coordinating 60+ OFO field trips annually. Also, coordinator of the May Hillman Marsch Festival of Birds annually. Has guided hikes professionally for over 30 years. Enjoys birds....and people.
Jean Iron
Ontario's best-known birder, Jean is a past president of the Ontario Field Ornithologists and a retired school principal. She is active writing for nature publications and participating in wildlife surveys for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and is a tremendously effective roving ambassador for Ontario's critical natural areas. Jean has led many Quest Nature Tours trips to Peru, Belize & Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, the High Arctic, Cuba, Japan, the Galapagos, French Polynesia, Svalbard and Iceland. Ask Jean about how much she likes gulls and shorebirds!
Justin Peter
Justin Peter is Quest Nature Tours' Director of Programs and Senior Naturalist, and Vice-President of the Toronto Ornithological Club. Born and raised in Canada's capital, Justin has been leading bird walks since the age of 14. Justin worked for several years as the Senior Naturalist at Ontario's world-renowned Algonquin Park, where he coordinated the park's interpretive program and acted as lead howler for the park's celebrated Public Wolf Howl events. Justin has been an international traveller since childhood. He has led Quest trips to Churchill, Peru, Namibia, the Galapagos Islands, the Canadian Arctic, Antarctica and India. His ear for bird vocalizations is particularly keen and he looks forward to pointing out birds and other interesting natural phenomena to you!
Amanda Guercio
Amanda has been fascinated with the natural world for as long as she can remember, but really caught the birding "bug" in university when she took an ornithology course in Algonquin Provincial Park. She has worked as a biologist for Bird Studies Canada for four field seasons and counting, doing point counts for the Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas, the Maritimes Marsh Monitoring Program, and surveys in downtown Toronto. An artist since childhood, she also enjoys documenting and sharing her love of birds through sketching and painting, photography, and digital design. She also spent several years banding at Tommy Thompson Park and working as a Bander-In-Charge at Delta Marsh Bird Observatory, and over the years has worked with a wide variety of songbirds, birds of prey, and her favourite group of birds, gulls!
Pete Read
Since retiring from teaching, Pete Read has been active as an environmental consultant doing fieldwork throughout Ontario and working on building projects for the preservation of the Eastern Loggerhead Shrike. He is also the official compiler of bird records for the London, Ontario region. Pete has been birding at Point Pelee each spring for over 45 years, and has been leading walks there to initiate new birders for over a decade. Pete has led many Quest Nature Tours trips to destinations including the Amazon, Brazil's Pantanal, Costa Rica, Madagascar, Cuba, Iceland, India, and South Africa. He is known for his quirky jokes and storytelling abilities!
Paul Pratt
Paul Pratt was the head naturalist for Windsor's Ojibway Nature Centre. He also leads birding and natural history tours throughout North America, the Neotropics, Australia and Africa.  Paul currently holds the Big Day birding record for five provinces and Canada along with teammate Tom Hince. He has also been on winning teams at such birding events as the World Series of Birding and Texas Birding Classic. Paul has been birding Point Pelee for over 44 years and also has a wide range of knowledge on all aspects of the plant and animal life of the region.
Bruce DiLabio
Bruce is native of Ottawa, Ontario and his passion for birds and birding began at the age of 8, when he hand-tamed a Black-capped Chickadees at his family cottage at Constance Bay, Ontario. From these simple beginnings emerged both a life-long passion and career in the field of birding. He is a weekly columnist on birding in Canada's capital newspaper, the Ottawa Citizen and teaches birding courses. His first spring trip to Point Pelee was in May 1974 and Bruce has been a regular spring birder at Pelee since 2001. He has traveled extensively in North America and has lead birding trips to Costa Rica, Ecuador, Australia and a number of Caribbean destinations, including Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Bahamas, and Cuba. In addition, Bruce has authored numerous articles over the years for Nature Canada, Ontario Birds, Birding, and Ontario Birding News. Bruce was a member of the championship Kowa Birding Team that successfully won three World Series of Birding titles in New Jersey and one championship title in the Texas Birding Classic.
Jessica Linton
Jessica Linton is a consulting biologist who specializes in butterflies. Based in Ontario, her work has a heavy focus on species-at-risk including butterflies, the wildlife group about which Jessica is most passionate. She has over 10 years of experience conducting butterfly surveys, behavioral monitoring, and migration studies. Jessica leads Quest's tour to Mexico to observe Monarch butterflies in their wintering haunts. She is a seasoned all-round naturalist whose enthusiasm for outdoor spaces and wildlife is infectious.
Jody Allair
Jody Allair is an avid birder and naturalist who enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for the natural world. Jody has been birding and banding since his teens, when he began volunteering at Long Point Bird Observatory (LPBO). After university, Jody spent two years as LPBO's Landbird Program Coordinator, and a season as the Migration Program Manager at Thunder Cape Bird Observatory. From 2004-06, he worked as a Science Educator for the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, and in his spare time ran birdwatching courses and field trips through Calgary's Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. As Biologist and Science Educator for Bird Studies Canada (BSC) since 2006, Jody conducts various educational and outreach activities in addition to his research and fieldwork. He coordinates BSC's Bird Science and Environmental Education Program, and the Southern Ontario Forest Birds at Risk Program. Jody enjoys exploring the outdoors and traveling and leads birding tours with Canadian-based Eagle-Eye Tours to Alberta and New Zealand.
Emma Burbidge
Emma has been birding at Pelee since the age of 5.  That year, not having yet mastered binoculars, she was lucky enough to experience a late cold snap that kept the warblers low and close on the sunny side of the Tip. That and the discovery of a nesting Killdeer on said beach was enough to get her hooked for life.  A native Quebecer, she is presently a student of wildlife biology at McGill University.  Emma proved to be a popular Friends hike leader in 2017 and is back in 2018 to lead more hikes in both english and french
Jeremy Bensette
Born and raised within the Point Pelee birding area, Jeremy Bensette is a local diehard birder, naturalist, conservationist, wildlife photographer, and tour guide. Having seen 346 species in the province in 2017, Jeremy holds Ontario's birding Big Year record, thanks largely in part to Ontario's helpful and supportive birding community! He is also a proud member of the Vortex Optics Field Team, a very active member of the Ontario Field Ornithologists, and a board member for the Essex County Field Naturalists' Club. He takes any chance he can to share his knowledge and insights about wildlife to friends and strangers alike. Jeremy loves to travel and talk birds.  Ask him about his adventures or where the great birds are in Point Pelee, Essex County, or Ontario anytime!
Alan Watson
As a former faculty member in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph, Alan Watson taught nature interpretation, environmental stewardship and a conservation field course. With over 25 years of experience leading nature tours, Alan has guided groups in southern Ontario, Canada's Maritime Provinces, Trinidad and Tobago, Nevis, Dominica, Costa Rica, Brazil, Tanzania, Brazil, and the Galapagos Islands.
Mike Kent
Mike is an all-round naturalist and educator based in southwestern Ontario. He has worked as a Park Naturalist at Ontario's Killbear Provincial Park and the famous Algonquin Provincial Park, and as a Tour Manager at the Monteverde Butterfly Gardens in Costa Rica's highland cloud forests. He has a keen an abiding interest in all life forms with a particularly fondness for insects, fungi and other under-appreciated lifeforms. Mike is active as a volunteer with various conservation groups, notably Lambton Wildlife, his 'home' naturalist group in Sarnia, Ontario. You can be assured of benefiting from Mike's excellent interpretive skills.

Chris Cloutier
Chris is the longtime resident naturalist at the Morgan Arboretum in Montreal, where he leads a variety of excursions on everything from insects and birds, to forest ecology, and most things in between. He is also a teacher at Vanier College in the Environmental and Wildlife Management Program, where he teaches several courses including physical geography, forestry and entomology. Chris has a Master's degree in Entomology and enjoys the uncanny notoriety of being a mosquito expert! Another self-proclaimed 'nature geek', when not chasing after his young daughter, he likes to spend his free time birding, fishing and catching odonates. Chris is in training as a future Quest leader.
 


   
       




100 Species Challenge

Birder Breakfast and Lunch

Birder Breakfast and Lunch

Point Pelee National Park




CONTACT


Friends of Point Pelee
Phone: 888-707-3533

Point Pelee National Park
Phone: 888-773-8888
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