Leica Birding Team: Jennie Duberstein

Jennie hiking at Marshall Gulch in the Catalinas, Tucson, Arizona, 2011

Jennie hiking at Marshall Gulch in the Catalinas, Tucson, Arizona, 2011

Jennie Duberstein grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with a love for nature and animals although it wasn’t until college that she became interested in birds. Between her junior and senior year at Virginia Tech, she worked on an Osprey reintroduction project in western Pennsylvania and that was all it took: she was hooked. After Jennie received her B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Virginia Tech, she spent several field seasons working as a naturalist/interpreter at different locations, beginning to recognize the important connection between people and conservation. A seven-month stint as an education intern at Hawk Mountain led her on an unexpected path to teaching high school biology and hydrology for four months at George School in southeastern Pennsylvania before she moved to Colorado to coordinate youth programs for Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, eventually becoming education director. It was during her time in Colorado that Jennie really became involved with the world of young birders, directing RMBO’s “On The Wing” summer field ornithology camp, editing A Bird’s-Eye View, the student newsletter of the American Birding Association, and working with the ABA to develop and coordinate the first Young Birder Conferences in the early 2000s.

Jennie with a Flammulated Owl in southwestern Colorado during RMBO’s On The Wing young birder camp, late 1990s.

Jennie with a Flammulated Owl in southwestern Colorado during RMBO’s On The Wing young birder camp, late 1990s.

In Colorado Jennie began to learn Spanish and decided to leave RMBO to take a one-year fellowship with Prescott College at their field station on the central coast of Sonora, Mexico. She conducted seabird and wading bird research and did environmental education in the community schools during her time in Mexico, as well as became relatively fluent in Spanish.

Jennie Duberstein © Jeff Gordon

Jennie Duberstein © Jeff Gordon

Jennie has lived in southeastern Arizona since 2001, where she currently works as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Sonoran Joint Venture (SJV), a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service program that works to protect the unique birds and habitats of the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment (where she is currently adjunct faculty) studying the human dimensions of natural resource conservation. Jennie has developed community-based conservation projects in the U.S.-Mexico border region (check out the fruits of her multi-year labor here). Additionally, she has coordinated, developed, and taught courses and workshops on bird identification, ecotourism, and bird monitoring, and has studied species including Osprey, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Double-crested Cormorant, and wading birds. Through her job with the SJV, Jennie works in partnership with Black Swamp Bird Observatory on the Donate the GUIA program, helping to get copies of the Spanish language Guía de Campo a las Aves de Norteamérica into the hands of partners in Latin America and Spanish-speakers in the U.S.

Selfie with 2013 Camp Colorado participants, and Jeff Bouton playing the part of the Rufous-necked Wood-Rail

Selfie with 2013 Camp Colorado participants, and Jeff Bouton playing the part of the Rufous-necked Wood-Rail

When she isn’t working for the SJV, Jennie is the American Birding Association’s Young Birder Liaison, managing The Eyrie (the ABA’s Young Birder Blog) and the ABA Young Birders Facebook page and providing support to other young birder programs. She has worked with young birders through the ABA and other organizations since the late 1990s, directing summer camps, leading field courses, organizing conferences, and editing young birder publications. Jennie co-leads the ABA’s Camp Colorado and VENT’s Camp Chiricahua and serves on the board of directors of Tucson Audubon Society. In her free time Jennie runs marathons, cycles century rides, and completes triathlons as a member of Team In Training to help find a cure for blood cancers. She is also an avid musician and plays guitar and violin and sings.

Jennie in The Nation's Triathlon, Washington DC, September 11, 2011

Jennie in The Nation’s Triathlon, Washington DC, September 11, 2011