Gardening tools and watering can in a basket.

Arboretum & Audubon
A Day of Birding Walks and Workshops

Sunday, May 17, 2020
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska MN

Custom-select your perfect day filled with your choice of available presentations, workshops, nature walks & more!

This program is cancelled.

$99 member (Arboretum or Audubon)
$119 non-member
includes choice of sessions, morning coffee/snack, buffet lunch & Arboretum admission



MN Audubon

Since 1979, Audubon Minnesota has delivered conservation results by focusing on three program areas (urban, river, prairie/wetland) supported by science, education, and advocacy.

Birds are an important part of a healthy functioning ecosystem. That holds true not only in remote protected forests or restored prairies but in urban and suburban environments as well. Besides being essential, birds are also beautiful and accessible. For many urban residents, enjoying nature often means watching birds.
Minnesota is located on the Mississippi Flyway - a key migration flyway for millions of birds and hundreds of species. Our lands and waters are especially important to a number of species we refer to as Stewardship Bird. The Golden-winged Warbler is perhaps our premier example. Our state's northern forest region encompasses only 12% of the species' entire breeding range but 42% of its global population.

Mike Billington

Mike Billington

Mike Billington is the Education Program Manager at The Raptor Center (TRC). During his 11 year tenure at TRC he has presented over 1,300 live raptor programs, trained nearly 50 different raptors consisting of 13 different species, and he has taught the science of behavior, training and raptor care and management to numerous staff, volunteers, and visiting professionals. He is a former Board member for the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE) where he chaired the Education Committee and helped write questions for the certification exam to be a Certified Professional Bird Trainer. Before joining TRC, he trained as an interpretive naturalist at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in northern Minnesota and he taught environmental education for two years as a guest naturalist in Argentina.

Alan Branhagen

Alan Branhagen is Director of Operations at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and previously held the position of Director of Horticulture at Powell Gardens, Kansas City's botanical garden. Alan is a naturalist and plantsman specializing in botany, butterflies, and birds, utilizing his background in garden design and management. He is currently creating and restoring a 2.5 acre natural garden around his home overlooking the Minnesota River Valley in Chaska where he has observed 120 species of birds in less than 2 years.
He is author of:
  • Native Plants of the Midwest: A Comprehensive Guide to the Best 500 Species for the Garden
  • The Gardener's Butterfly Book

Julie Brophy

A passionate local birder, Julie currently supports MYBirdClub (Minnesota Youth Bird Club) as an instructor. When she leads walks for kids with MYBirdClub, Julie will uses engaging methods for anyone wanting to learn more about wild birds. With her experience as an assistant for Matt Schuth, you're sure to learn more about the plants, fungi, and other natural occurrences you see along the way.

Don Curle

Don is a local photographer specializing in wildlife photography. His photos are regularly used on the Arboretum's social media pages and posted in the lobby at the Arboretum. He studied photography and graphic design at M.C.A.D and recently retired from a 40+ year career in the printing industry. He is a longtime member and visitor to the Arboretum starting in the 1960s. He has great respect for the Arboretum and the wildlife on the property and will discuss some of that during his presentation of photos taken out here at the Arboretum.

Amy Simso Dean

Founder of MYBirdClub (Minnesota Youth Bird Club), Amy is a birder and parent passionate about connecting with kids’ natural curiosity about birds and nature. MYBirdClub is an after school club that engages elementary students in birding. When she leads walks for kids with MYBirdClub, you’re sure to learn tips and tricks for birding with kids.

  Emily Donovan

Emily Donovan uses natural pigments found in plant and animal materials to create unique artwork. A Minnesota native, Emily is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in Visual Art and Art History. Emily is a recipient of Minnesota State Arts Board, Artist Initiative Grants in 2015 and 2019 and she has studied natural dyes and pigments through workshops and residencies in Europe and Peru. Emily regularly volunteers in schools and where she loves to share her natural dye process with young minds. Her award winning work is shown nationally in galleries and art centers.

Dudley Edmonson

Dudley Edmondson is an author, public speaker and photographer specializing in nature and the outdoors. He is an avid outdoorsman and passionate about getting everyone outside- for birding, photography, hiking, or more! He is the author of "Black and Brown Faces in America's Wild Places". His wildlife photography career spans three decades, and his work has been featured in galleries and in nearly 100 publications around the world.

Carlyn Iverson

Carlyn Iverson

Data Visualizer for NOAA: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. Using data from scientists, satellite photography and other global imagery, Carlyn creates visual presentations including animations, video work, gifs, infographics, and processed photos. You can see the work at


Tammy Mercer

As an Interpretive Naturalist at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, Tammy is sure to introduce you to beautiful native plants as well as birds, and focuses especially on birding by ear. She started learning to bird by ear so she could enjoy looking for native plants at the same time, and has led birding walks for 16+ years.

  Dr. Sushma Reddy

Reddy is an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota, and the Breckenridge Chair of Ornithology. Her lab's research covers a broad range of topics in evolutionary biology including phylogenetics, biogeography, molecular evolution, and conservation. They focus on the evolution of birds using DNA, morphology, and geography, and strive to improve knowledge of biodiversity across the avian tree of life.

  Virginia Rose

Virginia Rose, a paraplegic based in Austin, Texas, has been an avid birdwatcher for over 15 years. She founded Birdability, an organization focused on increasing the accessibility and inclusion in birding, because she wanted to share the joy of birding with others. Rose is a part of Travis Audubon (TAS) and co-led the beginning bird walks for 7 years, and is now on the board of directors. She has identified many wheelchair accessible parks in central Austin over the years and is interested in helping mobility-challenged folks get outside and experience nature. So many people with disabilities do not realize how much they can do outside!

  Kim Russell

After working exclusively in wood for over 30 years as a professional artist, Kim Russell followed her heart and began creating stylized drawings of birds. Her ink and acrylic drawings were immediately well-received. "Birds' biology is endlessly fascinating, and they are one form of wildlife that everyone can experience. I'll never tire of learning about birds or hearing stories of the ways they have touched people's lives." Russell's work appears in botanical gardens, National Wildlife Refuges, the International Crane Foundation and a new installation of 34 life-sized flying birds in Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

Matt Schuth

Matt is an experienced naturalist with decades of familiarity with the Arboretum’s flora and fauna. His walks will take place at our newly acquired Lake Tamarack property; transportation (just a few blocks away) will be provided. This is the time of year for bluebells, Minnesota dwarf trout lily, and mayapple; the early time frame provides the best chance to catch the sights and sounds of yellow rumped warblers, kinglets, thrushes, waterfowl, and a variety of sparrows, and to learn about their nesting and mating habits.

Gregg Severson

Gregg Severson

Gregg is a birding guide based in Minneapolis. Most of his personal birding in Minnesota is done by bike and transit. If you are interested in birding but want to minimize your environmental footprints, bike birding is a great alternative to using a private car! On this walk, learn more about Gregg's "Big Green Year" in 2019, where the only birds that count are the ones seen by biking, walking, and canoeing from his home! He also helps to run a group called Minnesota Global Birders, which meets monthly to share and learn about international birding travel.

Stan Tekiela

Naturalist, wildlife photographer and writer Stan Tekiela is the originator of the popular state-specific field guides such as Birds of (state name) Field Guide, Wildflowers of (state name), and Trees of (state name). Over the past three decades Stan has authored more than 130 field guides, nature appreciation books and wildlife audio CDs for nearly every state in the nation, presenting many species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, trees, wildflowers and cacti.

 Dr. Elena West Dr. Elena West

Dr. Elena West, Post-Doctoral Researcher, University of Minnesota, is an avian ecologist and conservation biologist with broad research and teaching interests in animal foraging and movement behavior, and quantitative wildlife population ecology. Dr. West began work with the Red-headed Woodpecker Recovery Project (Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis) in 2017. In her current position she is conducting research on the annual cycle demography, habitat associations, and migration ecology of red-headed woodpeckers (RHWO) in Minnesota.

Steve Weston

Steve Weston

Steve Weston has been birding since his youth, and has led bird hikes and lectured on birds for over 20 years. Steve considers himself a naturalist and focuses on plants, insects, and animals as well. Steve has recently been surveying wetlands, frogs, Sandhill Cranes, and breeding birds, and is the Minnesota state coordinator of the Audubon Christmas Bird Counts.
On his walks, he specializes in tips and tricks for bringing the birds to you, so close that you don't even need binoculars. Learn how to make it happen as you explore and discover spring wild birds together.


Arboretum Education Office
Mon - Fri, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.*
*We are temporarily working from home during Covid-19, we may return phone messages from a home phone 

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