Amazon Special Guest Lecturers

Mark Garland

July 10, 2015

Mark S. Garland is a naturalist who has taught hundreds of classes, led thousands of field trips, and served as guide or study leader for over 200 tours to destinations on 4 continents. His 30-year career has included positions with the National Park Service and two Audubon Societies. He now runs his own business, planning and conducting nature education programs for a variety of organizations. He is an award-winning writer and for 15 years has served as Nature Editor for the Metro Connection radio program on WAMU, a public radio station in Washington, DC. His interest in nature extends to all subjects, but birds are a particular interest, and birds are a major focus of many of his tours and classes. He has twice captained a winning team in the World Series of Birding.

Nina Zitani

August 21, 2015

Dr. Nina Zitani bonded with nature as a young child growing up in a small historic New Jersey town with giant trees and lots of bugs.  During her first field season as an entomology graduate student she fell in love with tropical forests and their myriad creatures at the Área de Conservación Guanacaste in Costa Rica. After working throughout Costa Rica for nearly a decade, she began teaching a field course in the upper Amazon basin of Ecuador.  She holds a Master of Science and Doctorate in systematic entomology from the University of Wyoming.  Her published research includes discovering 15 new insect species of Costa Rica.  Other scientists have named six new insect species in her honor.  Currently she resides in London, Ontario where she is an advocate for the conservation of biodiversity both locally and globally.  In 2011 she launched a popular website about biodiversity gardening, or gardening to restore biodiversity using 100% native plants.  Monarch butterflies, Giant Swallowtails, and pollinators of all shapes and sizes frequent her family’s garden each year.  She has been teaching people of all ages for nearly 25 years, and is a part-time Assistant Professor at the University of Western Ontario.  “Dr. Z”, as she is known to her students, relishes any opportunity to show scientists and non-scientists alike the astonishing biodiversity – plants, fungi and animals of all sorts – found in Neotropical forests. 

Claudio Vidal

August 28, 2015

Expedition Leader Claudio Vidal is a native Chilean who is one of the leading field naturalists and ornithologists in South America. Living in Punta Arenas on the Strait of Magellan has helped foster his interest in the pelagic birdlife and marine mammals of Patagonia. A birdwatcher since the age of twelve, Claudio has co-authored many books, including Birds of Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego & Antarctic Peninsula and Torres del Paine - Wildlife & Landscapes. He continues to develop resource books for Chile’s most important natural areas. Claudio has been leading birdwatching and natural history journeys for years, and has become a favorite of IE guests.