HWI Board of Trustees and Staff
Board of Trustees
Executive Director - Paul H. Parker
Paul joined HawkWatch International in December 2013 as Executive Director. Paul comes to HawkWatch with a broad and diverse background in corporate, government and nonprofit positions dealing with environmental policy development and stakeholder collaboration. As Executive Director/Executive Vice President at the Institute and at the Center for Resource Management, Paul organized a variety of stakeholder coalitions, conferences and educational projects to resolve conflicts and facilitate collaboration on issues such as offshore energy development, water conservation, pesticide use, climate change and wildlife management. He organized and facilitated environmental policy consensus agreements with the oil industry, the golf industry, the lawn care industry and the environmental community. Paul has worked with federal agencies, Indian tribes, universities, conservation organizations and others on joint research and education projects dealing with wildlife, water and energy issues. His experience includes organizing diverse partnerships among environmental stakeholders, fund raising, and project management.
In addition to his experience in nonprofit organizations, Paul has worked as an environmental consultant for energy efficiency and stakeholder engagement projects for the States of Utah and Missouri. Early in his career he served as Deputy State Planning Coordinator in the Utah Governor’s office where he prepared briefing reports for the Governor and helped coordinate policy development in natural resource decision making across state, federal and local government agencies.
Paul began his career in state government as a Utah State House Fellow following his graduation from the Harvard Graduate School of Design with a master’s degree in landscape architecture. He also has a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture and environmental planning from Utah State University.
Paul was drawn to a career in environmental affairs due to his love of the outdoors and interests in hiking, camping, fishing and gardening. Paul grew up on a small farm in Cache Valley, Utah where he learned to enjoy the mountains and canyons of the Wasatch Range while hunting camping and fishing with family. These days Paul enjoys hiking and camping with his grandchildren in the Wasatch Mountains, the high Uintahs and the canyon country of southern Utah.
Upon joining HawkWatch Paul commented on this new challenge and opportunity, “ I am thrilled to be able to contribute to the outstanding work of HawkWatch in the conservation of raptors and their environment and am looking forward to working with our Board, staff, donors, volunteers, partners and the public in this great and needed effort.”
(801) 484-6808 ext. 102
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.
(801) 484-6808 ext. 109
Research Biologist/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!
Conservation Biologist - Joseph G. Barnes, M.S.
Joe joined HWI as a conservation biologist in January 2014. He grew up in Ohio, where he received a B.S. in biology from Baldwin-Wallace University. After completing his undergraduate studies, he worked for several years as a high-seas fisheries biologist. He moved to southern Nevada in 2004, where he began a long-term monitoring project looking at migration trends of aquatic birds as well as a seven year field study of Peregrine Falcons breeding near Lake Mead. His work with peregrines led to a M.S. degree with an emphasis in ecology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2011. For his thesis, he studied a resident breeding population of peregrines while conducting prey and habitat-use analyses, and developed a new call-broadcast survey approach. After finishing his graduate studies, he worked on several targeted studies looking at Golden Eagle habitat-use in relation to renewable energy projects throughout the southwest U.S. and Mexico. Joe has assisted for several years on a long-term study of migrating Peregrine Falcons on Padre Island, Texas and also recently led a population assessment of peregrines on the Channel Islands, California. In addition to the above projects, he has several years of experience working with raptors in far-flung locations such as Gyrfalcons in northwest Alaska, Red-shouldered Hawks in Wisconsin, and Swainson’s Hawks in northern California. Joe’s primary raptor research interests involve population assessments, habitat use, interspecific dynamics, and the use of raptors as biomonitors of environmental health.
Fortunately, Joe’s personal interests have been tightly linked with his professional endeavors, which have taken him to an incredible number of truly unique places in the world. He can often be found climbing and exploring remote mountain ranges in his free time, is an avid reader, and greatly enjoys running, biking, and kayaking. He is often tempted by international travel with his intrepid wife.
(801) 484-6808 ext. 106
HWI 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