Hi. Tours and classes are led by me, Jeff Babson. My interest in natural history started at an early age. My grandfather gave me a copy of Golden Press’ Birds of North America, by Robbins, Bruun, and Zim. I would leaf through that book for hours, astounded by the avian diversity of North America. I quickly realized that the forests, marshes, coasts, and lakes of my native New England were home to many of the birds in my book. That started my journey down a wonderfully amazing trail that grew to include all of nature. My thirst for knowledge quickly spread to insects, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, spiders, plants- basically, I was into everything!
I attended college to study marine biology (I wanted to study sharks). However, after a couple of years, I decided that someone interested in natural history did not need to know organic chemistry and physics to fulfill their passion for real knowledge and I left school. I ended up on Andros Island, in the Bahamas, working on computers for a government contractor. While on Andros, I conducted work in the field of community ecology. Specifically, I was interested in the changes in avian communities within and between habitats over time. This work introduced me to many familiar birds of my youth, who wintered on Andros, as well as Caribbean specialties, such as Great Lizard Cuckoo, Bahama Woodstar, and Antillean Bullfinch, to name a few.
While working on Andros I took an extended vacation to do an internship at the Southwestern Research Station in the Chiricahuas. There I was introduced to another natural paradise. While there I met the acquaintance of Painted Redstarts, Mexican Jays, Blue-throated Hummingbirds, Javelinas, Black-tailed Rattlesnakes, and many other species. I realized I had to move to southern Arizona as soon as possible. Fortunately, a few years later the opportunity to move presented itself and my wife and I leapt at it.
I worked at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (ASDM) in the Department of Mammalogy and Ornithology. That enabled me to teach courses at the University of Arizona (U of A) and Pima Community College. I have led field trips for ASDM, the U of A, the Tucson Audubon Society, Tucson Botanical Gardens, and others. I have conducted fieldwork in Arizona on the importance of the saguaro cactus to the avian community. In Mexico, I assisted on hummingbird migration studies, concentrating on the Rufous Hummingbird.
I have met many other fantastic animals since then. I feel as though I am living in the Holy Land of U.S. natural history. Madera Canyon, the Huachucas, the Chiricahuas, the San Pedro River, the list goes on. I feel extremely fortunate to live near places that I had read about for decades. Places renown for the biological wealth that they harbor. I look forward to sharing these places, and the treasures they contain, with you.
Now that you know a bit about me, I look forward to meeting you!