Steve Chorvas

Steve describes himself as a self-taught naturalist with a special interest in the birds and butterflies of the Catskill Mountains and Mid-Hudson Valley region.

Steve is a field trip leader for several organizations, including the John Burroughs Natural History Society and the Esopus Creek Conservancy, and has conducted annual breeding bird surveys on the summits of several Catskill Mountain High Peaks for the Vermont Center for Ecostudies.


Peg DiBenedetto



An “accidental birder”, Peg fell in love with birds, birding, and birders a dozen years ago.  

Primarily a raptor enthusiast and an eagler working with both balds and goldens, she is a co-chair of the Research Committee of the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, and a member of the Eastern Golden Eagle Working Group.

Peg's is a Catskill Center Board Member and her main passions, besides eagles, are attending birding conferences and organizing them. Her favorite tee shirt says “Sorry - My Birds Eat Your Birds”.


Michael Drillinger

Michael is the Land Trust Manager for the Catskill Center. He has an MBA from LIU and an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from SUNY Purchase.  As a hiker and camper since childhood, Michael has spent countless days and nights on the trails and in the forests of the Catskills. He is a DEC licensed outdoor guide and has taught outdoor skills and camp craft.

With a deep love of the Catskills, its unique ecosystems, the wonderful people and its rich history, Michael intends for Taking Flight to not only introduce birders to the wonderful birding opportunities here, but also to the many other treasures of the Catskill Park and Catskill communities.


Greg Lawrence


Greg Lawrence works for Ecology & Environment, Inc., and has previously worked as a grassland bird technician with the NYS DEC, and on multiple research grants/projects at SUNY Brockport.

Greg also serves on the board of the New York State Ornithological Association and Bergen Swamp Preservation Society. He has been an active birder in the area and member of the Rochester Birding Association since 2005, starting as a young birder. He has led numerous field trips and given two previous talks for RBA. 


Andy Mason

Andy Mason is co-President of the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society and past President of the NY State Ornithological Association, and past chair of the Audubon Council of NY State. 

He has lead bird workshops for the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Zen Mountain Monastery.


Katie Palm

Katie Palm joined The Catskill Center in November 2010.

Prior to working at the Catskill Center, Katie was the Education Specialist at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, DC, where she created a volunteer program and planned all the educational programs for adults and children.

She has also worked at Longwood Gardens, the Watershed Agricultural Council and for Cornell Cooperative Extension as the Broome County Consumer/Community Horticulturist.

Katie holds a MAT in Museum Education from George Washington University in Washington D.C. and a BS in Horticulture from Cornell University.


Thomas Salo h

as been involved with the Franklin Mountain Hawk Watch since 1989. He is a former Regional Editor of the journal The Kingbird, and Regional Coordinator for the New York State Breeding Bird Atlas. Currently, he leads a research effort on wintering Golden Eagles conducted by the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, and is the NYS Coordinator the Appalachian Eagle Project. He spends some of his time growing Christmas Trees in Burlington, NY.


Tom Stephenson

Tom Stephenson's articles and photos have appeared in birding and bird watcher's digest, at and in the Handbook of the Birds of the World. He has guided groups across the United States and Asia. A musician, he has had several Grammy and Academy Award winners as clients and was Director of Technology at Roland Corporation.


John Thompson + Jamie Deppen



Jamie Deppen is the Environmental Monitoring and Management Alliance (EMMA)Coordinator based at Vassar College. She works with scientists, managers, and conservationists across the Hudson Valley to standardize monitoring protocols and increase environmental engagement. Jamie also enjoys watercolor painting and nature photography.

John Thompson is the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) Coordinator. He is also the current Secretary of the Natural History Section of the Ecological Society of America, Vice President of the John Burroughs Natural History Society Board of Directors and a Trustee of the John Burroughs Association Board of Directors. 


Chris Nadareski

Christopher Nadareski is a Research Scientist and Section Chief of the Wildlife Studies Program for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. 

As Section Chief of DEP’s Wildlife Studies, Christopher developed and implemented a comprehensive wildlife management program to assess and mitigate the effects waterbirds and mammals on water quality of the NYC water supply. 

In cooperation with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Christopher is also the regional manager of the world’s largest urban population of the endangered Peregrine Falcon in southeastern NYS including the Hudson River Valley, Shawangunk Mountains, New York City and Long Island. 


Drew Weber


Drew Weber is the Merlin Project Coordinator at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and has been birding nearly his entire life.

He enjoys combining his interests in technology and birds to teach people about birds, while also fueling some of his twitching tendencies.

His current obsession is working on his ‘day lists’, a life list for a particular date.


Scott Whittle


Scott Whittle lives in Cape May, NJ and has twenty years of experience as a professional photographer and educator. He holds an MFA in photography from The School of Visual Arts in New York, is a Fellow of The MacDowell Colony and is a onetime New York State Big Year Record Holder.



Tod Winston

A lifelong birder and gardener, Tod grew up on a small wooded farm in rural Pennsylvania—and still recalls his first warbler "fall-out" there (and the singing Prothonotary Warbler that showed up that day) with wonder. 

Todd managed  the property where he grew up for wildlife—focusing on native flowers, shrubs, and trees. This deepening interest in native plant ecology eventually led to his taking on the role of manager of National Audubon's Plants for Birds program.