HWI Board of Trustees and Staff
Board of Trustees
Conservation Science Director - Steven Slater, Ph.D.
Steve joined HawkWatch International (HWI) in June 2006 as the organization’s Conservation Scientist. His initial responsibilities included oversight, data analyses, and report writing for two major research projects investigating the potential impacts of oil and gas development on nesting raptors in Utah and Wyoming and the ability of perch-deterrent devices to exclude raptor power line perch use in Southwestern Wyoming. Steve has also participated in HWI’s Great Basin Raptor Nest Surveys in Utah and Nevada and recently co-authored a 10-year report summarizing the relationships between nesting raptors and vegetation, landscape, and climatic conditions in Northwestern Utah. He was promoted to Conservation Director in 2009 and his current work focus is on identifying current and emerging threats to raptors, information needs, potential future research projects, and translating HWI’s science into conservation action
Steve is originally from Michigan and received his bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University in 1999. Before joining the HWI staff, he spent 6 years in Wyoming, where he obtained his master’s and doctoral degrees in Zoology and Physiology from the University of Wyoming. His master’s thesis was on greater sage-grouse use of prescribed and wild burns and was completed in 2003. Steve obtained his doctoral degree in 2006 and wrote his dissertation on issues of scale and bird community responses to riparian cottonwood declines, Russian-olive invasion, and landscape alteration.
Steve has had a life-long interest in birds of all kinds and enjoys being outdoors with his wife and newborn son while engaging in such activities as hiking, backpacking, camping, bird watching, digital photography, snowshoeing, and snowboarding.
Education and Outreach Director - Nikki Wayment
Nikki received a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife from Utah State University. Her non-profit experience comes from her tenure at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, Ga, where she served as Curator of Science and Education. She is thrilled to be a part of HawkWatch International and the important work that they do.
In her free time, Nikki enjoys hiking, swimming, reading, and spending time with her family.
Development and Marketing Director - Joseph Dane
Joseph is a native Texan and graduate from Texas State University where he holds a BA in Mass Communication and Business Marketing. Joseph produced an award-winning public affairs radio program for CBS Radio in Austin, Texas for 5 years where he became active in non-profits and community engagement. Before joining HawkWatch, Joseph managed development and community outreach for Fourth Street Clinic. He has several years of non-profit experience and enjoys connecting people with their community.
Joseph moved to Utah in 2007 after visiting and falling in love with the mountains. An avid outdoors enthusiast, he spends most of his free time running, hiking, camping, and just about anything else outside. He tries to live each day remembering that “life is a journey, not a destination.”
Senior Scientist - Dave Oleyar, Ph.D.
Dave joined HWI as Senior Scientist in November 2013. His road to being a raptor/avian enthusiast and wildlife population ecologist began at an early age while exploring the post oak forests near his family’s home outside of Dallas, Texas. He earned a BS in Biology at Baylor University in Waco, where he worked with Eastern Screech Owls and Red-Tailed Hawks. After Baylor, he studied the impacts of the 2002 Winter Olympics ski area development at Snow Basin Resort on the breeding ecology of Flammulated Owls for his MS degree in Raptor Biology at Boise State University. Dave earned his doctorate at the University of Washington studying how landscape level changes associated with urbanization impact songbird population dynamics and community structure around the Seattle area. Dave has worked with a variety of taxa and systems ranging from zoo- and phyto-plankton communities in artificial cattle tanks to plant, bird, and bat communities in the Piney woods of southeastern Texas to songbird and raptors in the Great Basin and Pacific Northwest. Central to all Dave’s work is understanding how the patterns humans create in both wild and human dominated settings influence the animals we share these spaces with.
Dave comes to HWI after teaching upper level undergraduate courses in population ecology and conservation biology in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Science at the University of Idaho for the past 3 years. He loves sharing his passion for ecology and conservation with others whether it is in the classroom, at a public talk or seminar, on a walk in the field, or over a pint at the local watering hole. Spending time with friends (both two and four-legged varieties) is important to Dave, and he also enjoys hiking, camping, rafting, fishing, snowboarding, reading, playing old-school Atari 2600 games and disc golfing.
Research Biologist and Senior Monitoring Coordinator - Shawn Hawks, M.S.
Shawn received an M.S. in Zoology from North Dakota State University in Fargo. His thesis work investigated the use of stable hydrogen isotopes for tracing origins and movement patterns of Northern Goshawks passing through Hawk Ridge in Duluth, Minnesota during fall migration. Shawn has worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in both Alaska (at Alaska Penninsula/Becharof NWR) and Kansas.
In his free time, Shawn enjoys exploring, hiking, SCUBA diving, attending cultural events of most kinds but especially pertaining to live acoustic music, and having a good conversation about ecology, science, current events....you name it! Shawn truly likes an adventure and is looking forward to learning to downhill ski, exploring the mountains and deserts, learning the local flora and fauna, and meeting new people!
Educator - Janet A. Nelson
Janet’s love of the natural world began with her grandparents, who were both biologists. Her appreciation and fascination for nature deepened through family camping vacations and many outdoor experiences with the Girl Scouts.
Janet earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan in 1980, and a Master of Science degree in Secondary School Counseling from Villanova University in 1990. In between, she worked as a College Admissions Officer at for two universities in Philadelphia. For 20 years, Janet worked as a full-time mother for her two sons. She was very involved in their schools, starting with teaching science to each of their Kindergarten through Third Grade classes at a Cooperative Education elementary school, where she was introduced to HWI in 1997 through a field trip to the Goshutes migration site. Janet then started volunteering with our education birds in August 2007, and in September 2013 joined the HWI staff as the new Education Assistant. Janet loves caring for our raptor ambassadors, and looks forward to continuing to educate school students and the general public about raptors, HWI’s mission, and their scientific studies that effect conservation change.
(801) 484-6808 ext. 105
Membership and Communication Coordinator - Nelson Holmes
An avid birder and student of nature, Nelson joined HawkWatch International (HWI) in July of 2013. Nelson began his circuitous life adventure in Los Angeles working as the Education Assistant at the Arboretum of Los Angeles County and departing, 18 years later, as the Senior Naturalist and Guide. Seeking something completely different, Nelson made an attempt to raise Animals for exotic fleece on 70 remote acres between the Wet and Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Southern Colorado. To his dismay, the start-up capital was insufficient to cover survival costs so he took a position as a Tax Appraiser in Rural Huerfano County. Nelson also worked for the Huerfano World Journal as a reporter and a columnist which allowed him the opportunity to sport some pretty nifty press credentials at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
Nelson Studied literature and philosophy at Cal State Los Angeles and is well versed in subjects that bore his friends and loved ones to tears. After many years Nelson reconnected with his high School acquaintance and college friend, Teresa, and they’re now married and working on the “happy ever after” part in Bountiful along with two dogs, four cats and a couple of obnoxious parrots. When he’s not in the kitchen fostering post matrimonial weight gain for he and his wife, Nelson is seeking adventure on dirt roads to nowhere and overgrown trails.
New Mexico Office Administrator - Bobbie Posey
Bobbie Posey is the New Mexico Office Manager. She has worked for HWI in New Mexico since February of 1993 and enjoys working with the New Mexico education and field volunteers. Before HWI, she was a bookkeeper for a plumbing company, was in the printing business for seven years, and during the filming of a TV series filmed on location in Albuquerque, she worked in the production office of Columbia Television. She attended the College of William and Mary and is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley where she majored in physical education. Birding, of course, is high among her interests today, and she enjoys baking goodies for HWI events.
Office Manager - Christine Tolman
(801) 484-6808 ext. 100