Center for Conservation Biology, William & Mary
Topic and Title Osprey of the Chesapeake
History of Chesapeake Bay osprey population
Nesting ecology of Chesapeake Bay osprey
Recovery of Chesapeake Bay osprey
Concerns about menhaden overharvest and Osprey in Chesapeake Bay
Dr. Bryan D. Watts is the Mitchell A. Byrd Professor of Conservation Biology and Director of The Center for Conservation Biology at William & Mary. The author of more than 600 publications on avian ecology and conservation, Watts has studied birds since early childhood. He has conducted more than 1,000 research projects focused on solving conservation problems throughout the Western Hemisphere but primarily within the mid-Atlantic region of North America. He has worked with osprey in the Chesapeake Bay for more than 30 years. His research attempts to explore general ecological principles that have broad application.
Mike Callahan, Chief Ornithologist, Caledon State Park
Mike Callahan, Ospreys and Other Raptors Osprey Presentation and Guided Bird Walks has a love of birds, and shares that love throughout Southern MD and Virginia’s Northern Neck where he is a very popular nature guide and presenter. He 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.
Twice president of the Maryland Ornithological Society and Audubon Chapters, he is currently the Raptor Conservation Chair 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, famous for its eagle populations, where he conducts guided bird-walks and tours. Mike helped found the Colonial Beach Osprey Festival in 2019 and was one of its original co-chairs.
Greg Kearns, Park Naturalist, Patuxent River Park, Maryland
Organization: Maryland - National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Topic and Title: Ospreys on the Patuxent
Brief Description of Presentation/Brief Bio and Picture:
Join us to learn about Ospreys, the often-seen “fish hawk” of local rivers and the Chesapeake Bay, with. Kearns will discuss Osprey biology, his banding program with the public, re-introduction efforts, and how this once-imperiled bird became a conservation success story. Greg Kearns is a Senior Park Naturalist for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) at the Patuxent River Park in Prince George’s County, Md.
He has worked for MNCPPC on the Patuxent River for over 38 years and is an expert on wetland ecology of the Chesapeake Bay, a licensed bird bander and a renowned authority on Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) and the Sora rail (Porzana carolina).
During Greg’s career at Patuxent River Park, he has spearheaded an osprey nest platform and banding program that spans a good portion of the tidal Patuxent River. Greg and his interns have installed and maintained over 100 osprey nest platforms along 25 miles of river and banded over 5000 adult and juvenile Ospreys. Countless volunteers and staff from DNR and other organizations have experienced Ospreys up close during the summer banding schedule with the program being so popular space fills up well in advance. Greg not only does the technical monitoring work but makes it accessible to the public through unique educational opportunities. Greg was named Conservationist of the Year by the Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources in 2006 for his work on Soras and restoration of the wild rice marshes at Jug Bay, Md. and was awarded the National Wetlands Conservation award in 2017 from the Environmental Law Institute.
This work dovetails nicely with the wetland restoration, water quality improvement the rice provides for the fish and other organisms, and the Osprey’s role in this important ecosystem.
Pam Narney, Master Naturalist, Montross
Pam Narney is an educator, naturalist, and Osprey lover. Pam’s love of Ospreys was one of the inspirations for the Colonial Beach Osprey Festival. Through her presentations at festivals and blogs on The Colonial Beach Osprey Festival website, she has shared and spread that interest and love with many others.
Although not a trained scientist or ornithologist, she is an academic with a Ph.D., a teacher, and a certified Virginia Master Naturalist with a curious mind. She has been observing Osprey for over 20 years.
It was love at first sight 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 nesting platform right off their pier and have hosted an Osprey family ever since.
The two main sources Pam uses for her blogs and presentations are Alan F. Poole’s 1989 scientific study “Ospreys: A Natural and Unnatural History” and David Gessner’s lyrical and inspiring “Return of the Osprey.”
I am a life-long nature lover and feel passionately about animals and saving our planet's incredible environment. As an educator for 43 years, I always tried to share my love of the natural world and our responsibility to care for Mother Earth with all my students.
When I retired, I became involved with SanCap Audubon, taking birding walks with them every Saturday morning. I also studied birding with naturalists at the Ding Darling Wildlife refuge and became a wildlife roving interpreter at the refuge.
In 2019, I joined The International Osprey Foundation Board of Directors as Secretary based in Sanibel, Florida. Since then, I have worn many hats at TIOF including, Membership Chair, Newsletter Editor, Website designer, Public Relations Chair and Volunteer Coordinator and became President in December 2022. The Osprey is an iconic and special bird in SO many ways, and it is my honor and a privilege to be able to work for its preservation and to educate the public about its importance as a sentinel species with regard to the health of our waters. It is a labor of love for me.
Emily Franc-Vice President of Development/Philanthropy, Potomac Riverkeepers Network
Topic - Healthy Water = Healthy Osprey, Healthy Fish, and Healthy Humans
Emily Franc is a full-time resident of Colonial Beach and loves sailing, boating, fishing, and just hanging out on or near the water.
She works for Potomac Riverkeeper Network, whose mission is to protect the public’s right to clean water in the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers and their tributaries; stopping pollution to enhance the safety of our drinking water, protect healthy river habitats, and enhance public use and enjoyment.