THE 2013 EBBA/IBBA MEETING
FRIDAY DINNER SPEAKER - Stuart Carroll, Wildlife Biologist
"The Cumberland Plateau"
With a B.S. degree in wildlife biology and an M.S. degree in education Stuart Carroll, Interpretive Specialist 3, heads up the resource management and programming section at Fall Creek Falls State Park. He is a 24-year veteran of Tennessee State Parks. Stuart was raised around a farm and loved working out of doors. His dad was also a park ranger for several years while he was growing up. In college he majored in Wildlife Biology and, immediately following college, became a seasonal Interpretive Ranger. When asked to describe a typical day at his job he replied "Very little is routine on a daily basis. My role requires me to act as law enforcement, an emergency medical technician (EMT), supervise several employees, deliver quite a few programs and produce large special events. Currently, I am trying to document and devise a management plan for several thousand new acres that have been added to our park."
SATURDAY BANQUET SPEAKER - Scott Somershoe
"The Eastern Golden Eagle Working Group: Eastern Golden Eagles wintering in the Appalachian Mountains and the southeast"
According to Van Harris a former president of the Memphis Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithology Society, a member of the Mississippi Ornithology Society and the Mississippi chapter of the National Audubon Society:
Scott Somershoe gets paid to do something many folks do just for fun. As the state ornithologist with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Somershoe does a lot of bird-watching. "My primary job is research that will benefit nongame wildlife species in Tennessee, particularly birds, and their conservation," Somershoe said.
"I became a birder my sophomore year in college at Millersville University in Pennsylvania. I was sitting on my parents' deck when I heard what I thought was a cat meowing. It turned out to be a bird -- gray, about the size of a robin, with a long tail and a black cap. I bought a field guide and found that it was a Gray Catbird. It had never occurred to me that a bird could sound like a cat. That's when I was hooked."
He said although his job is fun, there is a lot of serious research. "While the major problem facing birds in Tennessee is habitat loss, there are new challenges as well. For instance, we don't yet know all of the effects on birds of the giant turbines that produce energy from wind. While the new wind farm at Buffalo Mountain in East Tennessee seems to have caused little problem as yet for birds, it has adversely affected bats."
Research and conservation of bats and other nongame animals are also part of the responsibilities of the state ornithologist.
"I guess that the accomplishment I am proudest of is the establishment of the Tennessee Watchable Wildlife website tnwatchablewildlife.org. It has enormous amounts of information, not just about birds, but also about mammals, reptiles, amphibians and other classes of wildlife."
Somershoe has served as state ornithologist since 2006. He also serves as Important Bird Area Coordinator for Tennessee for the National Audubon Society.