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Ticketed festival activities include presentations, golf cart tours of osprey nests on "The Point,"  trolley history and osprey nest tour around town, guided bird walks, and Souvenir Program Guide on the festival and birding on the Northern Neck.  The  exhibition area, Grand Ole O'spry Concert at Colonial Beach Brewing from 7 - 10 pm, and the "Find the Bird Scavenger Hunt" are open to everyone at no charge.  The Scavenger Hunt runs from April 9 through May 31st and has some great prizes.  Pick up  participation sheets at the Downtown Colonial Beach exhibit or participating businesses and other locations.

Alan Poole
2022, Dr. Alan Poole will present live by Zoom

Keynote Presenter:  Dr. Alan Poole is an Associate of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the recently retired editor of the Birds of North America (BNA) – the 18 volume, 18,000 page life history series now online at Cornell. In addition to editing, Alan has spent over 40 years in research on coastal birds, particularly Ospreys, and has recently completed his 2nd book on that species (Ospreys: the revival of a global raptor; Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019).


He is currently at work on a book about the Resplendent Quetzal, to be published by Cornell/Zona Tropical). Throughout his career Alan has been involved in education and the natural sciences, looking for creative ways to make biological stories come alive for a broad audience.

He lives along the coast of southeastern Massachusetts, and spends 2-3 months each winter at the Las Cruces Research Station (Organization for Tropical Studies) in the highlands of southern Costa Rica. 

Mike Callahan

Mike Callahan presents “Raptors Rule—Ospreys and other Raptors of Colonial Beach. Mike Callahan was a co-founder of the Colonial Beach Osprey Festival and one of the main reasons it took off in the first place.  He is well known throughout the region and his wry sense of humor, in-depth knowledge and charm have earned him a broad following for his ever-fascinating bird talks, demonstrations, and guided walks. Mike teaches environmental education for Charles County, MD Public Schools at the Nanjemoy Creek Environmental Education Center and works with the injured raptors housed there including owls, a red-tailed hawk and a bald eagle.  Mike has twice been president of Maryland Ornithological Societies and Audubon Chapters. He is currently the Raptor Conservation Chairman for the Southern Maryland Audubon Society with whom he helps monitor barn owl and kestrel nest boxes.  On the Virginia side of the Potomac, he is the chief Ornithologist at Caledon State Park near King George, VA, known for its eagle populations, where he does guided bird-walks.  Right after his presentation, Mike will lead a guided bird and osprey walk along the Colonial Beach riverfront. 

Pam Narney

Pam Narney presents “Three’s a Crowd:  Sibling Rivalry in Osprey Nests.  Pam’s love of ospreys was one of the inspirations for the Colonial Beach Osprey Festival.  Through her presentations at the first live festival and gripping blogs on our “Virtual Osprey Festival” website last year, she has shared and spread that interest and love with many others. In addition to this presentation, she will be accompanying trolley riders on a tour of osprey nests and answer all the questions you may have.  Although not a trained scientist or ornithologist, she is a certified VA Master Naturalist and has been observing ospreys for over 20 years. It was love at first sight for her when she and her husband John bought a weekend house in Colonial Beach from which they could observe all kinds of osprey activity.  Later when they settled permanently in nearby Placid Bay, they built an osprey platform right off their pier and have hosted an osprey family ever since.  The two main sources she uses for her reports are keynote speaker Alan F. Poole’s 1989 scientific study “Ospreys:  A Natural and Unnatural History” and David Gessner’s lyrical and inspiring “Return of the Osprey.”  Keep an eye out.  Pam may be writing her own book on ospreys sometime soon.

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Melissa Gross presents “Getting to Know the Rest of Our Feathered Friends: Birdwatching 10I”  Melissa graduated from Mary Washington in 1986 with a BS in Biology. She retired to the NNK in 2012 after 23 years as a firefighter/paramedic in Montgomery County, MD. As happens with a lot of people who move here, Melissa (re)discovered her passion for birds, especially ospreys.


She shared that passion with others as President of the Northern Neck Chapter of the National Audubon Society.  During her tenure, she helped Downtown Colonial Beach inaugurate the first Colonial Beach Osprey Festival in 2019.  Melissa relishes the outdoor lifestyle one can find on the Northern Neck; walking, biking, and backpacking whenever she gets a chance.


Lisa Benoit presents, “For Love of Hummingbirds.”  Lisa is Owner of Wren and Sparrow in downtown Fredericksburg.  She has had a passion for birding for over 40 years. Her father was an outdoorsman who encouraged her to become one as well. As they ventured into fields and woods, her interest in birds grew.  She enjoys feeding birds year-round and getting to know their habits and characteristics through observing and photographing them. She believes in offering various types of seeds, nuts and fruit, as well as water, to encourage many varieties of birds to visit her feeders, but is also lucky in owning 25 acres of open fields and wooded areas with her husband Dave which provides natural food and plenty of space for birds’ nesting and raising young. With her business partner, Amy Gardner, she founded Wren & Sparrow in Fredericksburg, Va in 2021  located at 807 Caroline St. Through carefully selected feeders, houses, accessories and the freshest seed available, their goal is to assist with bringing nature up close and personal to people’s backyards. She looks forward to meeting Osprey Festival visitors and chatting about what else—birds, of course! 


Shannon Carlin presents “Nurturing Each Other: Monarchs & Native Plants.”  Shannon is a Westmoreland State Park Education Specialist.  She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2016 and has volunteered with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) since 2010. Through her internships with USFWS she developed her passion for the environment, natural resources, conservation, and sustainability.  These included stints at the Chicoteague National Wildlife Refuge, the Eastern Virginia Rivers Wildlife Complex, the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge, the False Cape State Park all in Virginia, and the Chugach National Forest, Cordova Ranger District in Alaska. 


She also interned with the United States Forest Service and Virginia State Parks.  Coursework in anthropology, environmental studies and gerontology at Mary Washington University, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, contributed to her B.S. degree from Maryland in Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies.


Cable Risdon, presents Birdwatching Technology, Photography & Apps.  Cable is a photographer born and raised in Alexandria.  Cable and his wife, Pam, moved to Colonial Beach in June of 2020. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1980 and started working at a Washington DC photography studio in 1986.


Since 1994 he and Pam have been free-lance commercial photographers working for a variety of corporate, association and non-profit clients. Cable has always had a fascination and love for the natural world. He became interested in birding in the early 1980s and has continued to hunt for new birds to this day.

Video on the Ospreys by Master Naturalist Susan Bossie
After raising three children, Susan and her husband moved to the Northern Neck two years ago from the Fredericksburg and Stafford areas. Following an interest in the natural resources along the Potomac she signed up for basic training as a Virginia Master Naturalist through the Northern Neck Chapter. The first project she chose to work on was “Osprey Watch.” “What an adventure it's been,” she says.

Birding the Miocene
Jon M. Bachman B.S., M.Ed.
Manager of Education and Public Outreach
Stratford Hall
Westmoreland County, Virginia