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About This Webinar

The release of Covid vaccines earlier this year heralded VENT’s return to tour operations. At the end of April, we ran our first tours since March 2020. Now, four months later, we are pleased to have operated a number of domestic tours, and, more recently, our first international departures. Underpinning our operations is our requirement that all travelers and tour leaders be vaccinated in order to join a VENT tour. Despite the summer surge resulting from the Delta variant, we are increasingly optimistic about our ability to safely operate tours in a variety of worldwide destinations. Yet we recognize that some of our customers are reluctant to travel in the foreseeable future. Throughout the summer we have received questions and comments from our travelers regarding our ability to operate tours—even the wisdom of doing so—in the time of Covid. For our next webinar, Traveling with VENT in the Time of Covid, we explain our approach to operating tours in these uncertain times, and address our customers’ concerns, especially concerns about traveling abroad. Hosted by Victor Emanuel and Barry Lyon, we describe the precautions and measures VENT is taking to ensure safe and incident-free travel as we continue ramping up our tour operations. Joining Victor and Barry are VENT tour leaders Steve Hilty, Paul Greenfield, Rick Wright, and Geoff Lockwod, all of whom will have guided international trips by the time of this presentation. Through their experiences, and in answering your questions, we hope this event provides the confidence you seek when considering your own return to travel, or perhaps will simply satisfy your curiosity about how VENT is managing travel in a time of great challenge.

When: Thu, Oct 7, 2021 · 1:00 PM · Central Time (US & Canada)
Duration: 1 hour
Language: English
Who can attend? Everyone
Dial-in available? (listen only): No
Featured Presenters
Webinar hosting presenter
Victor Emanuel started birding in Texas 72 years ago at the age of eight. His travels have taken him to all the continents, with his areas of concentration being Texas, Arizona, Mexico, Panama, and Peru. He is the founder and compiler for 50 years of the record-breaking Freeport Christmas Bird Count, and served a term as president of the Texas Ornithological Society. Birds and natural history have been a major focus throughout his life. He derives great pleasure from seeing and hearing birds, and sharing with others these avian sights and sounds, both the common ones and the more unusual ones. He initiated the first birding camps for young people, and considers that one of his greatest achievements.

Victor holds a B.A. in zoology and botany from the University of Texas and an M.A. in government from Harvard. In 1993, he was the recipient of the Roger Tory Peterson Excellence in Birding Award, given by the Houston Audubon Society in recognition of a lifetime of dedication to careful observation, education, and addition to the body of avian knowledge. In 2004, he received the Roger Tory Peterson Award from the American Birding Association, and the Arthur A. Allen Award from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

Victor is a past board member of the Nature Conservancy of Texas, the National Audubon Society, the American Bird Conservancy, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In May 2017, the University of Texas Press published his memoir, One More Warbler, A Life with Birds.
Webinar hosting presenter
Barry Lyon’s passion for the outdoors and birding has its roots in his childhood in southern California. During his teenage years, he attended several VENT/ABA youth birding camps, which ultimately led to his future involvement with Victor Emanuel Nature Tours. He holds a B.A. from the University of Arizona at Tucson where he studied history and political science, with an emphasis on environment and development politics. Barry joined the VENT team as a tour leader in 1995 and embarked on a travel-based career that has taken him to an array of worldwide destinations.

He has lived in Austin, Texas since 2004 when he joined our office staff as an assistant to company president Victor Emanuel. In 2014 he was named Chief Operating Officer (COO), reflecting his increased experience and responsibilities. These days, his work is geared primarily toward the company’s business side and management, although he continues to lead a few tours annually. Barry’s background and his knowledge of natural history have provided him with a strong interest in conservation. He is a former board member and past president of Travis Audubon Society, which emphasizes conservation through birding and outdoor education for children. Barry resides in South Austin with his wife, Brooke Smith.
Webinar hosting presenter
Steve Hilty is the senior author of A Guide to the Birds of Colombia, and author of Birds of Venezuela, both by Princeton University Press, as well as the popular Birds of Tropical America, A watcher’s introduction to behavior, breeding and diversity. He has also written a number of scientific papers on birds and plants, has described two species of birds new to science in Venezuela, and another, with a team of scientists, in Colombia. He also wrote the text and species accounts for the tanager family for the acclaimed Handbook of Birds of the World, published by Lynx Press in Barcelona. In a departure from ornithology, Steve also wrote Dirt, Sweat, and Diesel: A Family Farm in the 21st Century, a book focusing on a Midwestern farm family. However, he returned to birds with his recent (2021) Birds of Colombia, published by Lynx Editions of Barcelona, Spain.

Steve holds a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Arizona and has worked at the Arid Lands Department at the University of Arizona, and as a broker with Merrill Lynch. He is currently a research associate in ornithology at the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute. Since 1983 he has also worked for Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, guiding trips throughout North and South America, and co-leading trips to India, the Orient, and Australasian regions. With more than four decades of experience in South America and a wide range of natural history interests, he brings a unique breadth of expertise to his Neotropical tours. At night he often turns his binoculars towards the skies for stargazing. Steve lives in Kansas City with his wife, Beverly. They have two daughters.
Webinar hosting presenter
Paul Greenfield grew up near New York City and became interested in birds as a child. He received his B.F.A. from Temple University where he was an art major at the Tyler School of Art. Since 1972, he has lived in Ecuador where his fascination for birds and art has culminated with the completion of 20 years of work illustrating The Birds of Ecuador, which he co-authored with Robert Ridgely. He is also co-author of Birds of Western Ecuador, a Photographic Guide (Princeton University Press), and is presently working with Bob Ridgely on an App for The Birds of Ecuador, which hopefully will be available in 2018.

Paul is very involved in saving Ecuador’s avian diversity and important habitats through his involvement with various foundations, as well as working with local government and communities to encourage their involvement in the protection of “their” biodiversity and the promotion of birding tourism in Ecuador. He has been showing visitors the birds of this fascinating country for over two decades and has led many Ecuador bird tours. He and his wife, Martha, live in Quito.
Webinar hosting presenter
Geoff Lockwood's interest and involvement with birds dates back to his early years at school and forms part of a wider interest in the biodiversity of the Southern African sub-region. After leaving school, he began a career as a bird artist, illustrator, and author. In 1981, he published Garden Birds of Southern Africa and later also contributed half the illustrations to the 5th and 6th editions of Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. Geoff is currently based at the Delta Environmental Centre in Johannesburg where he acts as part-time manager and education officer, working to instill an environmental ethos in teachers and school groups that visit the Centre.

For the past 30 years he has been involved with local birding organizations and has served on the Council of the Southern African Ornithological Society—now BirdLife South Africa, for most of that time. He travels widely in the region, presenting lectures, talks, and courses on bird identification, ecology, and behavior, and is also involved in the training of local bird guides as part of a BLSA initiative to give communities a vested interest in the conservation of their local birds. With 870 species listed within southern Africa, Geoff is amongst the region's top birders. He has led tours to many destinations in Southern and Central Africa, as well as Kenya and Israel.
Webinar hosting presenter
Rick Wright is a widely published author and sought-after lecturer and field trip leader. A native of southeast Nebraska, Rick studied French, German, Philosophy, and Life Sciences at the University of Nebraska before making a detour to Harvard Law School. He took the Ph.D. in German Languages and Literatures at Princeton University in 1990, then spent a dozen years as an academic, holding successive appointments as Assistant Professor of German at the University of Illinois, Reader in Art and Archaeology at Princeton University, and Associate Professor of Medieval Studies at Fordham University.

His numerous scholarly publications include two books on the Latin animal literature of the later Middle Ages. Among Rick's recent books are the ABA Field Guide to Birds of New Jersey and the ABA Field Guide to Birds of Arizona; his Peterson Reference Guide to American Sparrows was published in 2019. He is also the co-author with Sanford Sorkin of Watching Birds in Montclair and Watching Birds in the New Jersey Meadowlands. Especially interested in the history and culture of birding, he is hard at work on a study of hummingbird collecting in France from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. In his spare time, he teaches Latin courses online for the Paideia Institute. Rick lives with his family, Alison Beringer and Avril Huang, and their black lab, Quetzal, in northern New Jersey, where he offers private birding tours to the marshes, woodlands, and ocean beaches.
Hosted By
Victor Emanuel Nature Tours webinar platform hosts Traveling with VENT in the Time of COVID
VENT offers an exciting array of tours and destinations. Webinars will feature an array of other tours and will grow to encompass a wealth of birding and natural history related topics, all from an educational, instructional, or informational standpoint.