Dr. Jason Crean is a degreed biologist who teaches biological sciences at the high school and university levels.  Crean is a frequent lecturer at avicultural groups across the country and acts as consultant to zoos and other institutions, including the Wildlife Genetics lab at Loyola Medical Center and Chicago Nature Museum.  He specializes in taking actual scientific research, like that of the genetics lab, and incorporating it into classroom lessons to illustrate how science affects conservation.  As Education Chair for the AFA, he has begun incorporating this work so students around the world can view the importance of Aviculture in their classrooms.  Dr. Crean has been awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, the highest award a teacher can receive in the US, by President Obama in 2009, the 2010 High School Science Teacher of the Year by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as awards from the National Science Teachers Association, the National Association of Biology Teachers, the Illinois Science Teachers Association, the Golden Apple Foundation, among others.  He holds several offices in educational organizations, namely the Association of Presidential Awardees in Science Teaching and the College Board's National Science Advisory Panel.

Dr. Nathan D. Burkett-Cadena is Assistant Professor of Entomology at the University of Florida, Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory in Vero Beach, FL. His research focuses on the interactions between mosquitoes and their vertebrate hosts, particularly birds, and the influence that these interactions have on the transmission of mosquito-borne viruses. Dr. Burkett-Cadena received his PhD in entomology from Auburn University in 2011, working on mosquitoes that feed upon herons and bluebirds in natural and managed landscapes. Research projects of his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of South Florida (2011-2013) included investigations into whether male of female birds were fed upon more by mosquitoes, how mosquitoes shift their feeding between resident and migratory birds depending upon season, and how this relationship can affect the spread of viruses affecting human health. Currently, Dr. Burkett-Cadena is investigating how season (temperature and day length) can be used to predict whether mosquitoes will bite birds versus other animals in nature. Since many birds are susceptible to infection with mosquito-borne viruses, this research has important implications for the conservation of imperiled avian species.

Caroline Efstathion,  Executive Director and Co-Founder

Rob Horsburgh is an Apiary inspector for the Florida Department of Agriculture.  He has been keeping bees, for over 25 years.  In addition to inspecting bee hives in North Florida for diseases and unwanted races of bees he has also traveled to places such as South Africa, Haiti and Jamaica to consult with beekeepers.  In addition to beekeeper training in developing countries, Rob has a strong background in public education.  He has been an educator with several museums, schools and has been a lecturer for the University of Florida bee college.  He has also worked on parrot conservation projects in South Africa, Brazil and the island of Bonaire. He was a History Major at the Ohio State University with a minor in Natural resources.  He has worked for the Ohio State University Honey bee lab, the University of Florida’s Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants and has been on the board of directors for an organic farm.  He has a diverse background and knowledge of the natural world. 

Mark Stanback, Director

Dr. Caroline Efstathion received her B.S. and M.S. in biology from Florida Atlantic University and her Ph.D in entomology from The University of Florida. She worked as a zoo keeper, veterinarian technician and a licensed wildlife rehabilitator before and during attending college. Her graduate research focused on improving conservation of endangered parrots with the use of a push-pull method to reduce nest site competition with Africanized honey bees. Additionally, she evaluates the impact of other arthropods on nestling bird health and survival.  She has also studied antibiotic resistant bacteria in captive bird populations and she is interested in the emerging discipline of conservation physiology, which aims to answer conservation questions by physiological approaches and specifically those focused on stress. Her multidisciplinary background in veterinarian medicine, microbiology and entomology has allowed her to focus on understudied issues facing many endangered birds. Researching these issues allows her to contribute to ongoing conservation projects, assisting in areas that are typically understudied due to lack of time, resources and expertise.

Katy Secor has been a bird enthusiast and supporter of aviculture  for more than 20 years. She received her first bird, a Peach-faced lovebird, in 1991 and has been involved in all aspects of aviculture since that day.  Soon after she joined a club, Birds of a Feather in Manchester, NH.  That club held two National bird shows, in 1994 and 2001. It was a fantastic way to meet others with the same interests and to learn about aspects of aviculture that she wasn’t familiar with, including conservation. She has had the opportunity to work in almost every position at bird shows. Over the years she has traveled around the world attending many avicultural and conservation conferences and sometimes showing her birds.  She believes in all aspects of aviculture, showing, keeping and the breeding of birds.  She truly understands and agrees with the saying about only conserving what we love, as she would not have had any idea about the plight of birds in the wild if she hadn’t owned her first lovebird.  This bird opened her eyes to a wonderful aspect of this world. She hopes to make a contribution to keep this wonderful hobby going for a long time.  She is a long time member of many parrot organizations, including NBS, ALBS, NAPS, SPBE, ASA and she is a life member of AFA and the Loro Parque Foundation.  She was honored to receive the Service Award from the National Bird Show in 2007. Professionally, she is a self-employed accountant with over 35 years experience.

Our Mission

Jason Crean, Director

Nathan D. Burkett-Cadena, Research Associate

Rob Horsburgh, Director and Co-Founder

William H. Kern, Research Associate

Katy Secor, Director

Dr. Bill Kern is an Associate Professor in the Department of Entomology & Nematology at the Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center of the University of Florida.  Bill received his B.S. in Life Science and Chemistry and M.A. in Life Science from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, IN.  He earned his Ph.D. in Entomology and Zoology from the University of Florida in 1993.  He served as an Assistant Extension Scientist (Central Florida Wildlife Extension Specialist) with the Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, University of Florida from 1993 until 2000.  He served as an Assistant Professor (2000-2007), and Associate Professor (2007- present) in the Department of Entomology & Nematology at the Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center. His areas of expertise are Urban Entomology, Africanized Honey Bee Management, Vertebrate Pest Management, Nuisance Wildlife Management, and Medical / Veterinary Entomology.

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Avian Preservation and Education Conservancy

Dr. Mark Stanback received his B.S. in Biology from Davidson College (NC).  He went on to earn a Ph.D. in Zoology at the University of California at Berkeley, where his research focused on cooperative breeding in the Acorn Woodpecker.  He then conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Washington (Seattle) on the hormonal correlates of cooperative breeding in Acorn Woodpeckers.  Following this, he conducted two seasons of fieldwork in Namibia, studying hatching asynchrony, sperm storage, and paternity in hornbills.  In 1995, he accepted a position in the Biology Department of Davidson College, where he is still teaching today.  He offers courses in Animal Behavior, Vertebrate Zoology, Evolutionary Biology, and Introductory Biology, as well as a variety of seminars.  Stanback’s research focuses primarily on cavity-nesting birds.   He and his students study Eastern Bluebirds, Carolina Chickadees, Brown-headed Nuthatches, and Tree Swallows. 
Because of his background in Behavioral Ecology, Stanback’s research focused on nest-site selection, cooperative breeding, brood parasitism, ectoparasites, and the costs of reproduction.  He is currently researching the southeastwardly expansion of the breeding range of Tree Swallows into their wintering range in eastern North and South Carolina. Stanback’s interest in Conservation Biology in Africa actually started with a project on nest-site competition between Eastern Bluebirds and Brown-headed Nuthatches (the latter being a species of concern in NC).  He and his students found that when nest cavities were limited, bluebirds effectively monopolized them.  During a trip to South Africa at this time, Stanback realized that the loss of cavity-bearing trees in southern Africa (due to cutting for charcoal and fuel wood) negatively impacts less competitive cavity-nesters more dramatically than more competitive species.  He is now using nest boxes in Namibia and South Africa to gain a better understanding of how competition shapes this cavity-nesting guild.  He recently began a study of the role of honeyguides (a group of birds that consume old beeswax) in maintaining the availability of nest cavities in woodlands where honeybees are frequent cavity occupants.  Stanback is a Fellow of the American Ornithologists’ Union.

To preserve endangered avian species through problem-based research, community involvement and education

 Who we are