Catherine Hamilton began birding at age seven with her father, an avid birder, and started her first birding sketchbook at that time. Mysteriously, her parents encouraged this activity, and today she melds birding and art into a career. She leads birding and field sketching tours around the globe, works out of her studio in Los Angeles, and gives keynote speeches and workshops at birding festivals in the U.S. and abroad.
Catherine holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Master of Fine Arts from Bennington College, and has taught painting and drawing at the Rhode Island School of Design and other institutions throughout the 27 years she has been a professional artist. Catherine’s fine art can be found in private, corporate, and small museum collections in the US and abroad. Her illustrations and writing can be found in books like the Princeton University Press book “The Warbler Guide” and “Good Birders Still Don’t Wear White” from Houghton Mifflin, and in journals and magazines such as the journal “Nature,” “Living Bird,” “Bird Observer,” and “Orion Magazine.” Catherine is featured in the 2012 HBO documentary “Birders: the Central Park Effect,” and is the presenter for the 2018 short film “A Reason For Hope,” where in her role as ZEISS Sports Optics’ Ambassador for Birding, Catherine worked with partner organization Birdlife International to help promote conservation awareness through birding and art.
Dotty Holcomb Doherty is a writer and wildlife photographer who has made birding a way of life since she took ornithology as a freshman at Earlham College. Early internships banding birds at Manomet Bird Observatory in coastal Massachusetts, teaching at Tatnic Hill School for Environmental Studies in Wells, Maine, and working as an interpretive guide on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon all served her well when she found her calling teaching high school biology and environmental science. When health changes forced her out of the classroom, she found new direction in writing, photography, and world travel, and since 2014, has shared her wildlife photos in a daily email blog to hundreds of subscribers.
Her new book, Buoyant: What Held Us Up When Our Bodies Let Us Down chronicles not just her life but also her friend's as they both faced life-changing illnesses. Juxtaposing the rhythms of the Chesapeake Bay with the chaos of disease, Buoyant follows the healing friendship between these two women. Singing Carolina wrens, migrating tundra swans, undulating Chesapeake Bay ice, and a thriving New Hampshire bog add vibrancy and calm, as well as metaphors for living with chronic conditions.
After 22 years in Maryland, Dotty and her husband Jonathan recently moved to New Hampshire which renewed both their loves of hiking and snowshoeing in the mountains, and of Nordic skating on frozen lakes and rivers.
Bridget Butler, aka The Bird Diva, will share her path to creating Slow Birding, a mindful practice focused on deep observation beyond identification, connecting with the landscape, and connecting with self. Her practice came together over many years of feeling that traditional list-driven, even conservation-driven, birding was unfulfilling and did not reflect the way she was birding on her own. Now, Bridget facilitates online courses and workshops that celebrate finding joy and awe in whatever bird is present, creating a more inclusive opportunity for anyone to see themselves as a birder.
Bridget has been working in conservation and environmental education for more than 20 years throughout New England. Through her business Bird Diva Consulting, she delivers presentations, leads bird outings, and brings her signature program Slow Birding to a broader audience. Bridget has worked for the Audubon Society in Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts and helped create Audubon Vermont's Forest Bird Initiative. Bridget has been a guest on a number of podcasts talking about Slow Birding, including the American Birding Podcast, Talkin' Birds with Ray Brown, and the South African podcast This Birding Life. Currently, she serves on the Green Mountain Audubon Society Board and is a member of the Vermont Rare Bird Records Committee. She feels it's important that the birding community continues to strive to diversify what it means to be a birder and that this variety of perspectives will bring a richer set of strategies to bird conservation. Bridget lives in St. Albans with her husband and three young children.