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Tennessee Wildlife Federation

Tennessee State Park

Partners in Flight

Memphis Chapter - TOS

Speakers and Presenters

Randy Hedgepath | Tara Dowdy | David Haggard
Bob Ford | Dustin Crowell | Tony Lance | Martha Lyle Ford
Larry Chitwood |

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.

Dustin Crowell

Dustin CrowellFrom an early age Dustin loved all things nature, growing up in rural west Tennessee. He spent countless hours in the Obion River bottoms or on Reelfoot Lake with his father or exploring the pond in his back yard.

In college he began turning his passion into a career, studying Natural Resources Management: Wildlife Biology at the University of Tennessee at Martin. It was here in Dr. David Pitts’ ornithology class he fell in love with birds after seeing a short eared owl on a field trip and learning about the loggerhead shrike.

The passion continued as he began summer work at Reelfoot Lake State Park in 2008, caring for and teaching visitors about the captive birds of prey there and leading eagle tours. After stints at Hiwassee/Ocoee State Park and Fall Creek Falls State Park, he became a park ranger at Radnor Lake State Natural Area in June 2013 and worked with staff on constructing, opening, and operating the Barbara J. Mapp Aviary Education Center. While at Radnor, he conducted over 600 educational and resource management programs.

In November 2017, he transferred to Natchez Trace State Park where he currently cares for the captive wildlife and leads educational programs including Basic Birding and Birds of Prey.

Tony LanceTony Lance

Tony Lance works for the Tennessee Wildlife Federation and manages their Certified Wildlife Habitat program. A lifelong birder and beekeeper, he practices what he preaches and has a yard full of wildlife.  

Martha Lyle Ford

Martha Lyle Ford serves as director of the Center for Faith and Imagination at Memphis Theological Seminary.  She is a commissioned EarthKeeper in the United Methodist Church, a GreenFaith Fellow, and a certified lay minister.  For 15 years she has been involved in creation care ministries, working to connect people of faith to Creator and creation.  She is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Land, Food, and Faith Formation.  She and husband Bob Ford spend as much time as possible enjoying nature hiking, boating, and birding.

Larry Chitwood

Larry Chitwood is an avid birder, grandfather, and Methodist Pastor. Larry and his wife Lisa live in Arlington, TN with their 2 Chihuahuas, Little Man and Buddy.
Larry often says, "What I love most about birding is that it can be done almost anywhere at almost any time. We know we have a playful Creator when we see the beauty, diversity, and magic in the many birds that share our world."


Sponsored by

Tennessee Wildlife Federation _Delta Heritage Center_Tennessee State Park

___Environments for the Americas_Partners in Flight_ _Nationwide Insurance
American Bird Conservancy _BirdWatchersDigest_Butlers Professional Landscaping


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