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Speakers and Presenters

Randy Hedgepath | Tara Dowdy | David Haggard
Bob Ford | Joe Guinn

Bob Ford

Bob FordBob Ford graduated with a B.S. and Master's from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where his Master's Thesis documented the breeding and wintering bird communities in West Tennessee wetlands. Since his graduation, he has worked mainly as a migratory bird biologist for several agencies, organizations and the forest products industry, integrating breeding bird conservation into forestry plans. 

Bob started with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2000, and served in the Washington Office as the United States staff for the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, where he helped forge conservation partnerships between Mexico, Canada and the United States.  In addition, he was the project leader for the first ever "State of the Birds" report for the United States in 2009.  Bob returned to the southeast region for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, serving as the agency's lead for understanding and adapting to climate change impacts to fish and wildlife populations and habitats.

Currently, Bob is back in the Washington DC office for the Service where he is the National Coordinator for the Partners in Flight bird conservation initiative, a hemispheric bird conservation whose mission is to stop bird population declines before those species become endangered and to “keep common birds common”.



Tara Dowdy

Tara DowdyTara Dowdy has worked for the West Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Complex since 2008, and is based at the Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge. Her title is Park Ranger/Education and Volunteer Coordinator, and her typical duties are to supervise resident volunteers that work for the refuge, coordinate refuge events, present environmental education programs to local schools, conduct refuge quota hunts, manage refuge websites, etc. 

Tara graduated from the University of Tennessee at Martin with a Bachelor of Science in National Resources Management.  She lives with her husband and two boys (1 & 3 yr. old) in a small, quiet community outside Martin, Tenn.  Her hobbies are spending time with her boys and teaching them about the outdoors, playing music and camping. 

David Haggard

David Haggard has worked for the Tennessee State Parks for 25 years as Ranger Naturalist. He developed the bird of prey rehab and environmental education program at Reelfoot Lake State Park utilizing injured birds of prey including our National symbol the Bald Eagle.

Randy Hedgepath

Randy HedgepathRandy Hedgepath is a native of West Tennessee where the family farm was just 15 miles from the Tennessee River. After graduating from UT Martin and working seasonally for several years for the National Park Service and Tennessee State Parks, he has spent the last 33 years with state parks.

Randy worked as a Ranger/Naturalist at South Cumberland State Park on the Cumberland Plateau and at Radnor Lake Natural Area in Nashville until 2007 when he was given the opportunity to be the statewide naturalist for the state park system.


Joe Guinn

Joe GuinnJoe Guinn is a noted photographer who has trained with Cornell University to record and indentify birds by their sounds. His recordings are a part of the Cornell University archives.




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