Faculty Profiles

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Academic Statement (Return to top)

Walt has been referred to as “the naturalist of old cast in modern times, the next generation of a proud and ancient lineage.”  His field experience spans the globe: East Africa, Madagascar, Brazil, Ecuador (including Galapagos), Argentina, Australia, Antarctica, Mexico, Alaska, American West, and beyond.  Walt teaches and advises on natural history, ecology, wildlife management, wetland ecology and management, interpreting nature through art & photography, ecotourism, and field biology. His passion for nature is contagious, and he loves to share his ecological knowledge through his teaching, guiding, photography, and art.  He also is an activist working to save and improve management of lands in Arizona, California, East Africa, and elsewhere.  Walt says that his ambition is "to balance a number of activities--art, photography, writing, lecturing, and guiding expeditions--toward the goals of nature interpretation and biodiversity conservation."



Background & Experience

Selected Publications (Return to top)


Factors influencing Kirtland's Warbler nesting success. 1976 (with Robert W Storer). The Jack-Pine Warbler 54(3):105-115.

Vocalizations of Scaled Quail. 1978. Condor 80:49-63.

The Sutter Buttes: A Naturalist's View. 1983. The Natural Selection, Chico CA. 326 pp.

A rapid biological and ecological inventory and assessment of the Cajon Bonito watershed, Sonora, Mexico.  Part 1: natural history.  2002. (with Rob Hunt). Desert Plants 18(2):3-20.

A rapid biological and ecological inventory and assessment of the Cajon Bonito watershed, Sonora, Mexico.  Part 2: Using the variable transect.  2004. (with Rob Hunt). Desert Plants 20(2):3-18.

Inland Island: The Sutter Buttes. 2004. The Natural Selection and Middle Mountain Foundation. 273 pp.

Deepening the time scale: A puzzle in Sycamore Canyon. 2004. Restoring Connections 7(2):9. Reprinted in Spring 2010.

Informed imagination: A naturalist’s way of seeing. 2006. Pp. 1-10 in R. Dean Johnson, ed. Teachable Moments: Essays on Experiential Education. University Press of America.

Natural Heritage of the Peloncillo Mountain Region: A Synthesis of Science. 2007. World Wildlife Fund and Sky Island Alliance.  Co-editor with G. Bodner, J. Montoya, and R. Hanson.

The megadiversity of moths. 2011. Restoring Connections 14(2):14-15.

Borderlands Musings. 2011. Restoring Connections 14(3):14:6-7,14.

Editor and Narrator: Songs and Calls of North American Birds: A Reference Library for recordist Jim Morgan.  12 CD’s.

Artist and Photographer: Paintings in many collections, gallery shows, book illustrations and other graphics work. Hundreds of photographs published in magazines, books, calendars, exhibits. Illustrator of The Elk in the Attic (2007) and of Co-existing with Urban Wildlife (1996).  Several major photo exhibitions for the Watershed We Want.

Presentations (Return to top)

“Plant Parenthood, or Do Violets Have Blue Genes?” at national meeting of Garden Club of America in San Francisco. 

"Connections: A Naturalist's Ways of Seeing" at national ecopsychology conference on "Sacred Earth/Sacred Self" in 1996. 

“Restoration of Ecological Consciousness” with Laura Sewall in 2000 at ecopsychology conference at Antioch-New England. 

Keynote Presenter for Southwest Wings Festival (2000), Fiesta de las Aves (2001), National Wildlife Refuge Centennial Celebration at Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge (2003), Arizona Wildlife Federation Annual Meeting (2004), Snow Goose Festival (2006), and others.

Slide-illustrated talks and speeches to many organizations, from local groups (e.g., Prescott Audubon, Rotary International, Highlands Center for Natural History) to large organizations (e.g., California Academy of Sciences, Oakland Museum).  "The Call of the Wild: Are We Listening" to Open Space Alliance Wildlife Symposium, Granite Dells Preservation Association, City of Prescott's Prescott Great Outdoors Outdoor Recreation Festival & Expo, etc. 

Other  presentations at professional conferences.

Research (Return to top)

Walt's first published research was on Scaled Quail, the species he studied in SE Arizona.  He published a vocal ethogram (catalog of sounds and their functions) on that species.  He became the acknowledged expert on the full range of natural history subjects in the Sutter Buttes of California, the only mountain range in the entire 400-mile-long Central Valley.  He continues to study wildlife and ecosystems in Arizona and on his extensive international travels.  His Wetland Ecology & Management class received a grant from The Nature Conservancy to study beavers on the Upper Verde River.

Awards, Grants, & Honors (Return to top)

National Science Foundation Fellow, Teaching Fellow (both UA & UM), Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Kappa, Hilltoppers (top WSU graduates), Phi Eta Sigma, Intercollegiate Knights.  Many scholarships and leadership positions.  Two S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation grants for work in the Sutter Buttes in California.  Arizona Chapter of The Nature Conservancy grant for studying beavers on the Upper Verde River.  Biophilia Foundation grant to study and interpret information about wildlife in the Arizona-Sonora borderlands.

Education (Return to top)

BS With Highest Honors, Wildlife Biology, Washington State University, 1968

MS, Wildlife Biology, University of Arizona, 1974

PhD Candidate, Resource Ecology, University of Michigan, 1976 (all but dissertation)

Expertise (Return to top)

Walt is an expert in field identification of plants and animals, in teaching ecological concepts and natural history, and in group dynamics. He has written manuals for tour guides and safari guides for clients.  He co-founded the West Butte Sanctuary Company and founded the Sutter Buttes Naturalists, which evolved into the Middle Mountain Foundation in the Sutter Buttes of California.  He was one of the pioneers of ecotourism in the US and internationally (led first US ecotourism trip to national parks of Brazil, first trip to Madagascar for major donors of the World Wildlife Fund, etc.).  He also has experience with publishing and is a compulsive and detail-oriented editor.  In addition, he is a wildlife painter and illustrator and has published hundreds of photographs in many places.  He loves using his images and words to interpret nature for audiences of any size.


Academic Involvement at Prescott College (Return to top)


Areas of Study


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May 25
12:00 PM – Memorial Day
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12:00 PM – Limited-Residency Programs Undergraduate Orientation
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