Amazon Special Guest Lecturers

Ed Smith, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

March 28

Ed Smith is a biologist with the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park in the Amazonia Department and is involved in a variety of educational programs, research and husbandry. He instructs groups of all ages both in informal and structured settings, and he has conducted programs for middle schools as part of the Smithsonian Scholars in Schools program. Although herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians) and invertebrate zoology are his primary interests, he is also very knowledgeable about tropical plants and birds. Various natural history projects have taken him throughout the US, Mexico, Central America, Europe and Asia.
 

Grant Kemmerer, Wildlife Expert

May 2

Grant Kemmerer has been working with wild animals for over 25 years. Ranging from large carnivores such as big cats, bears, wolves and hyenas, primates, reptiles such as venomous snakes, large constrictors and crocodilians, birds of prey such as eagles, owls, hawks and falcons (he is a master falconer) and hoof stock such as deer, elk, moose, bison, zebra and camels. He has been involved with training and supplying animals for commercials, television and feature films. In addition he has performed live stage shows for some of the largest events in the country. He has been a featured guest on Anderson Cooper Live, The CBS Early Show and Martha Stewart.
 

Alan Lieberman, Research Fellow
San Diego Zoo Global Institute for Conservation Research

July 25

Zoologist Alan Lieberman was the director of field programs at San Diego Zoo Global Institute for Conservation Research. For the past 39 years, he has served as the Zoo’s curator of birds and curator of reptiles, and pursued a variety of field research and conservation projects outside of the Zoo. Interspersed between zoo assignments he participated in Peace Corps Environmental Program (Colombia) and the Nature Conservancy International's Natural Heritage Program.  As part of The Peregrine Fund, Alan founded and still participates in the Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program.  He has trans located lories in French Polynesia and reintroduced Andean Condors to the cordilleras of Colombia. Lieberman is now retired but continues to participate in several of the Zoo’s conservation programs as a Research Fellow.
 

Herb Thompson, Geographic Educator

August 8

Herb Thompson, also known as Geoman to students and teachers alike, has devoted most of his adult life to the study of geography. He attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he earned both a BS in Education and a MEd in Curriculum & Instruction. Mr. Thompson is an alumnus of Semester at Sea and traveled around the world on the program’s spring 1987 voyage. He taught World Geography to 8th grade students for twenty-three years in the Clark County School District which encompasses the Las Vegas Valley where he has lived for the past thirty-five years. Herb also teaches teachers, and has been the co-coordinator of the Geographic Alliance in Nevada since 1997. In this capacity he works closely with the National Geographic Education Foundation as part of their Network of Alliances for Geographic Education. He is also an adjunct instructor at UNLV where he teaches secondary social studies methods courses to a new generation of classroom teachers. Herb has helped create materials for Rand McNally, has written lessons for the National Geographic Giant Traveling Maps, and is the author of A Geographic View of History published by the National Council for Geographic Education. He’s currently enjoying semi-retirement, but keeps busy with projects related to geographic education. Mr. Thompson has visited 74 countries on six continents and is a self-described Geo-Evangelist, dedicated to increasing the geographic literacy of all Americans. He has led more than a dozen teacher, student, mapping, or volunteer groups to Peru’s Upper Amazon region since 2000 and recently navigated 2,300 miles of the Rio Amazonas from its vast delta to its last major port Iquitos, Peru.
 

Marie Trone, Marine Biologist

August 8

With a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology focusing on cetacean behavior and cognition, complemented by a decade and a half of full-time experience in the care and training of marine mammals, sea turtles, sharks, stingrays, marine fishes and invertebrates, freshwater fishes, elephants and birds, Dr. Marie Trone has presented original research at conferences throughout the world and taught college-level courses in marine biology, cetacean behavior, physiological psychology, anatomy and physiology. She has coached interns and volunteers in the proper techniques of behavioral observation. Marie has spent the past three years teaching environmental science, biology, marine biology, and human anatomy and physiology at the college level, while devising new lab activities and leading outdoor exercises. She relishes each chance to explore nature, and with International Expeditions plans on bringing recording equipment to collect usable data for dolphin research. Join Marie as she discusses such topics of expertise and interest as river dolphin natural history and conservation, dolphin acoustics and communication, dolphin intelligence and cognition, and the importance of rainforests in mitigating climate change.

Ken Howell, Curator of Rainforest Exhibits, National Aquarium

August 22

Ken has been employed in the zoo/aquarium business for over 30 years. He was a Zookeeper at the Miami Metrozoo, Senior Biologist and then Assistant General Curator for the Steinhart Aquarium in California, and currently serves at the National Aquarium in Baltimore as the Curator of Rainforest Exhibits. Having worked with a wide variety of animals and plants, this passionate naturalist is drawn to unusual life forms, such as the aquarium’s sloths and screaming pihas. When not keeping a watchful eye on the aquarium’s amazing species to ensure all are flourishing, Ken enjoys giving presentations about this biodiversity.