Sawtooth Association

Sawtooth Forum and Lecture Series

Brian Jackson July 7 “How to Prepare for the 2017 Solar Eclipse”
Brian Jackson is currently an assistant professor at Boise State University teaching astronomy in the Physics Department. Before coming to Boise State, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, he was at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Brian earned his Bachelors of Science in physics from Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia. Following that, he earned his PhD in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tuscan, Arizona. His current research is focused primarily on orbital dynamics and transit observations of planets outside our solar system. He has also completed planetary science field work notably on Death Valley’s Racetrack Playa and on terrestrial and Martian dust devils.

Dr. Jack Connelly July 14 Sage-Grouse Conservation: Facts, Alternate Facts, and Voodoo Science”
Jack Connelly received his BS degree from the University of Idaho and his MS and PhD degrees from Washington State University. He is a certified wildlife biologist and works on grouse conservation issues at national and international scales. Jack has been involved with research on sage-grouse populations and habitats for the last 40 years. He has served on the Western Sage and Columbian sharp-tailed Grouse Technical Committee and as U.S. representative to the IUCN Grouse Specialist Group. Jack has published well over 100 scientific papers on sage-grouse and other wildlife species. Notably, he is the senior author of the 2000 paper “Guidelines to manage sage grouse populations and their habitats” and the 2004 Conservation Assessment of greater sage-grouse. Jack has received numerous awards recognizing his contributions to grouse conservation and management, including The Wildlife Society’s Einarson Award and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Outstanding Contributor Award. Jack is also the recipient of the prestigious Hamerstrom and Patterson awards for his work on grouse research and conservation. He recently retired after spending over 30 years with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and lives in Blackfoot with his wife, Cheryl, and an unruly mob of bird dogs.

Jim and Holy Akenson “7003 Days: 21 Years in the Frank Church River of No Return” July 21
Deep in the Idaho wilderness the last vestiges of Old Idaho linger.  An eager young couple seeking adventure and challenge, Jim and Holly Akenson moved to their log cabin in the wilderness to manage Taylor Ranch, University of Idaho’s wilderness research station.  They spent their careers merging two worlds, embracing the simple living conditions and backcountry culture, while meeting the demands of university research and education.  In 7003 Day, Jim describes the unique backcountry culture and its characters and the many adventures and encounters with wildlife and nature, as Jim and Holly track wolves and cougars, use mules for transportation and ranch work, and connect university students with nature.

Bill Doering and Rita Dixon “Bats of Idaho” July 28
Bill Doering is a wildlife and bat biologist conducting ecological research and supporting wildlife management and conservation programs at the Idaho National Laboratory in southeastern Idaho. His adventures in bat research began in 1989 with investigating seasonal variation in the climate of lava tube caves and aspects of thermal ecology of hibernating Townsend’s big-eared bats. Over his career, his professional interests have included resource requirements of mammals, emerging threats to bats, thermal biology, habitat fragmentation, and searching for the rare spotted bat. His current research focus includes investigating winter flight behavior of hibernating cave bats, tracking long term trends in bat populations in eastern Idaho, and describing seasonal movements and stopover habitats used by migrating forest bats as they cross the sagebrush desert. Bill provides on-going technical support to state and federal resource agencies for bat issues and helped found an eastern Idaho bat monitoring collaborative (also known as “the Fellowship of the Wing.”) He believes one of the greatest conservation benefits to bats may be obtained through countering negative attitudes about bats by educating the public about the unique biology and ecological benefits of these fascinating and valuable mammals. Bill lives in Star, Idaho with his herpetologist wife and three boys.

Rita Dixon completed her PhD in Natural Resources and her MS in Wildlife Resources at the University of Idaho, and her BS in Biology at the University of California, Riverside. Rita is currently the State Wildlife Action Plan Coordinator for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, where she oversees the ongoing development and implementation of Idaho’s State Wildlife Action Plan. Although her formal training and graduate work were in ornithology, Rita has spent over 17 years working with bats, including the rehabilitation of sick and injured bats. She serves on the steering committee for the North American Bat Conservation Alliance, cochairs the Idaho Bat Working Group, is Past President of the Western Bat Working Group, and serves on various national white-nose syndrome working groups. Rita also serves as colead for Idaho’s statewide white-nose syndrome response effort and was awarded a Research Partnership Award by the USDA Forest Service, International Programs, for her efforts to pilot the North American Bat Monitoring Program in Idaho. In addition to bat ecology, Rita’s other primary interests include landscape-scale conservation planning, prioritizing conservation, and wildlife disease.

Ray Vizgirdas August 4 Getting Intimate With the Sawtooth’s Butterflies and Other Insect Pollinators”
Ray Vizgirdas has lived in Idaho for more than 25 years and has explored almost every nook and cranny of Idaho’s south-central mountains as a wildlife biologist and botanist. In a previous life he worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in California and Idaho. Currently, he teaches courses in ethnobotany, ecology, and environmental studies at Boise State and Northwest Nazarene Universities. He is the author of 10 books and field guides on butterflies, plants, ecology, and wilderness survival. His peer reviewed and award winning works include Wild Plants of the Sierra Nevada, A Guide to Plants of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and Wild Edible and Useful Plants of Idaho. As a forest service botanist, Ray developed and taught a Pollinator Ecology course, instructing forest ecologists and botanists in the identification of native bees and butterflies, and how to incorporate native bee and butterfly conservation needs into forest planning efforts including grazing, timber harvest, and restoration efforts.

Steve Pauley “Small potatoes.  How we fit in the Cosmos” August 11
Steve Pauley was born in Los Angeles. He received a BA degree from Pomona College in 1962, majoring in biology. After an MD degree in 1966 from Columbia University of Physicians and Surgeons, he interned in surgery at UCLA Harbor General Hospital. After a year of surgery residency at UC San Diego Hospital, he entered the US Navy as a submarine medical officer. Astronomy interest: “In 1979, we made a sailing trip with my wife Marylyn and our two sons. The trip from Newport Beach to Honolulu took 17 days. It sparked my interest in astronomy.” In 1991, after private practice in Irvine, CA, Steve and Marylyn moved from Laguna Beach to the Wood River Valley.  Steve wrote a monthly astronomy column for the Mountain Express. He was overwhelmed by the beauty of the night sky, and saw the need to protect it for future generations.  He helped establish dark sky ordinances in Ketchum, Sun Valley, Hailey, Blaine County, and Ada County.  He gave winter astronomy talks at Galena Lodge where the stars impress all who look up.  “I’ve always had a need to understand how we humans fit into the whole of things, and my science and amateur astronomy background have helped me to see that.  I hope to share with you my journey linking evolution on earth to the evolution of the universe, our Milky Way, and our home planet.”

Eric Edelman August 18 “Starlight and Darkness: Idaho’s 21st Century Total Solar Eclipse”
Slooh Astronomer, Eric Edelman, used Hubble data to obtain measurements for the stellar wind strengths of solar like stars while obtaining his Master’s degree in Astronomy from Weslyan University.  Shortly after graduation, Eric joined Slooh as a show producer and quickly moved to show presenter combining his passion for astronomy and storytelling to create compelling, unimposing, and digestible content for a general audience.  In addition to his involvement with Slooh, Eric is also a show presenter at Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, CA.  Eric is excited to be a part of a movement to provide access to the night sky in all its brilliant and myriad forms to anyone with the passion and interest to seek it out.

Dave Cannamela “Native Fishes of Idaho” August 25
Dave received his BA in Biology/Chemistry from the University of Connecticut, and continued his education at Idaho State University, graduating from Murray State University, with a MS in Fisheries. Dave spent 28 years with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, first as a temporary in fisheries, then as a fisheries biologist and most recently as the superintendent of the MK Nature Center. He retired in May of 2016. Dave had the ideal childhood. He grew up in Southeastern Connecticut where he spent most of his time with his brothers and cousins playing ball, riding bikes and running around in the woods and the neighborhood: Seven boys can always find something to do. He began fishing at an early age with his father’s side of family.  At the age of 16 Dave’s eldest brother discovered fly fishing and soon turned them both into fly fishing nuts. Dave spends his time enjoying family and friends, fishing, hunting, watching baseball, riding and messing with bicycles, gardening, cooking and advocating for salmon and native plants among other things.