BOARD OF ADVISORS
UTKU PERKTAS, B.S., M.S., Ph.D., FLS, FINHA
Ornithologist and Evolutionary Biologist
Department of Biology (Zoology Section)
Faculty of Science
Hacettepe University -Turkey
Department of Ornithology
Division of Vertebrate Zoology
American Museum of Natural History
Utku Perktaş is an ornithologist and evolutionary biologist with practical and theoretical experience ranging from museum-based studies and fieldwork to molecular-based laboratory and analytical techniques. He finished his PhD in 2008 at Hacettepe University. He then conducted postdoctoral studies in the Department of Ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York as a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow. Much of his recent research involves using DNA sequences to reconstruct phylogeographic scenarios of vertebrate species, particularly birds. He is becoming increasingly interested in evaluating how past responses to climate changes may affect the history of vertebrate species, and how this knowledge can be used for conservation. He is now a faculty member in the Faculty of Science at the Hacettepe University, where he runs his lab (Biogeography Research Lab.), and he is also a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History.
LOUIS N. SORKIN, BA, MS, BCE, FINHA
Entomologist, Arachnologist, Myriapodologist
Insect Cuisine & Entomophagy Research
Division of Invertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History, (Retired)
President and Forensic Entomologist
Entsult Associates, Inc.
The New York Entomological Society, Inc.
Treasurer & Monthly Meeting Organizer
Louis Sorkin is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, with a Master of Science – MS Entomology and Bachelor of Arts – BA Biological Sciences, Entomology. He has spent 42 years in the Invertebrate Zoology Department at the American Museum of Natural History. While at the museum, Lou worked primarily with the spider collection, maintaining, and organizing this vast collection and assisting many arachnologists from all over the world with their research. Besides his scientific career, Lou has been a longstanding educator for the museum, promoting insects and other arthropods to school groups, and the public. He was often seen walking around the museum wearing tobacco hornworms in hope that kids and parents will look up from their phones and ask questions about these blue caterpillars! Lou has been active in entomophagy (eating insects), organizing several bug-eating events as well as forensic entomology, with some investigations he has been involved with having aired on television. He has been an active member of the New York Entomological Society for 40 years and is their treasurer and monthly meeting organizer. Lou's true passions is the common bed bug, and over the past 30 years, Lou has been studying the life cycle and natural history of these notorious insects by examining infestations in homes, businesses, hotels and raising his own bed bug colony for research and education.
WALTER E. MESHAKA, JR. BA, MS, PhD, FINHA
Senior Curator of Zoology and Botany
State Museum of Pennsylvania
Dr. Walter E. Meshaka, Jr. is a herpetologist and natural historian. His primary focus is on North American and exotic amphibians and reptiles. He was the supervisory curator for the four National Parks in southern Florida from 1995 to 2000. In 2000 he became the Senior Curator of Zoology and Botany at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His research has been covered by Lawrence Journal-World, among other news outlets. Dr. Meshaka earned a B.S. in biology from the University of South Florida, a M.S. in Biology from Arkansas State University, and his Ph.D. from the Florida International University.
Dr. Meshaka is an accomplished author and Whitfield Gibbons noted, "Meshaka’s thoughtful afterword on exotic species introductions to Florida offers some achievable solutions for controlling the influx of more herpetofauna.". He published four pocket field guides with Joseph T. Collins largely "intended to raise public awareness". Their "Pocket Guide to Lizards and Turtles" is said to be "useful for all naturalists to carry with them in eastern Canada. It is especially ideal for junior naturalists as a “starter” guide."
Meshaka has collaborated with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's Powdermill Nature Reserve on field herpetology research. A long-term mark-recapture study of the ten species of snakes occurring at the preserve has ensued since 2002. He has resurrected and continued a long-term study on Eastern Box Turtles and Wood Turtles that was established by Graham Netting in 1958 and continued until Netting's death in 1996.
GEORGE A. DANTE, JR. B.A., FLS, FINHA
President and Founder
Wildlife Preservations, LLC
George Dante Studios, LLC
The Institute for Natural History Arts
George Dante is an acclaimed taxidermist, sculptor, model maker, and fine artist. With a devoted love for art and nature from an early age, it wasn’t long before his lifelong career path had been set. He began practicing taxidermy at the age of seven, and founded Wildlife Preservations, LLC while in high school. George continued to develop his company while obtaining a Bachelor of Arts from the School of Visual Arts and soon earned the reputation as a world-renowned provider of natural history exhibit services. George Dante Studios, LLC continues to provide these highly specialized skills including the restoration and conservation of historic specimens and dioramas. George has been entrusted with the care of some of the rarest specimens and collections in the world and his clients include the American Museum of Natural History, The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Harvard University, National Geographic, Oxford University, and the Field Museum.
STEPHEN C. QUINN, SAA, AFC, FINHA
Senior Project Manager & Exhibit Artist (Retired)
American Museum of Natural History
Artist, naturalist, and author Stephen C. Quinn has spent a lifetime exploring the natural world and working in a career at the intersection of art and science. Quinn joined the staff of the American Museum of Natural History in 1974, after graduating from the Ridgewood School of Art and Design, where he apprenticed under such diorama-art masters as Raymond deLucia, Robert Kane, and David J. Schwendeman. His assignments spanned from foreground artist to Senior Project Manager for Exhibitions at the museum, where he oversaw all aspects of new diorama creation including field expeditions, exhibit fabrication, and installation, as well as diorama conservation and restoration. He was a project leader for the 1995 field expedition to the Central African Republic, which resulted in the rain forest diorama in the museum’s Hall of Biodiversity and was a project manager for the 2003 renovation of the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. Mr. Quinn is a published illustrator, and author of Windows on Nature: The Great Habitat Dioramas of the American Museum of Natural History (2006), the most definitive book ever published on the museum’s world-renowned dioramas. He is a member of the Society of Animal Artists and Artists for Conservation.
DARRIN LUNDE, B.S., M.A., FINHA
Mammalogist, Field Biologist, Author
Mammal Collection Manager
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Darrin Lunde is a Mammalogist and field biologist with more than thirty years of experience as the Mammal Collection Manager for both the American Museum of Natural History (1991-2010) and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (2010-present). As part of his work, he has joined museum specimen collecting expeditions throughout South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia where he has logged several years of experience living and working in remote habitats. He has collected thousands of museum specimens and has discovered and described a dozen new mammals. A prolific writer, Darrin is the author of an award-winning biography of Theodore Roosevelt and his life as a museum naturalist (The Naturalist, Crown Publishing, 2016). He is also the author of ten children's books about mammals. Darrin has always been enamored with the golden era of natural history museums and expeditions (1890-1940), and believes the people working in natural history museums today have much to gain from an understanding of the museums and museum makers of that time.
Senior Museum Specialist III
Division of Vertebrate Zoology-Ornithology
American Museum of Natural History
People and Wildlife Research Group
School of Biological Sciences
University of Reading
Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6AS, United Kingdom
Peter Capainolo has had an interest in Natural History, particularly ornithology, since boyhood. At age eighteen, he was granted one of the first falconry licenses issued by New York State. He studied zoology and practiced falconry under renowned ornithologist Heinz Meng at the State University of New York, College at New Paltz, and subsequently earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in biology. A strong proponent of field and specimen-based research and education, he is currently Senior Museum Specialist in the Department of Ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and adjunct professor of biology at the City College of the City University of New York.
He serves on the New York State Falconry Advisory Board, and on the advisory board and as Curator of Birds of the Institute for Natural History Arts. He is author and co-author of books and scientific papers on zoology, ornithology, ecology, and medicine.
MICHAEL ANDERSON, FINHA
Preparator, Artist, Author, and Diorama Historian (Retired)
Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University
Michael Anderson began his career as an intern artist for the exhibition department at the American Museum of Natural History. With an educational background in medical illustration, he was doubly interested in how dioramas merge science and art. Michael considers himself fortunate to have worked with taxidermists including David J. Schwendeman and museum artists including Ralph Morrill and Raymond deLucia. He joined the staff at the Peabody Museum in New Haven, CT, where he worked for over 30 years. There, his projects ranged from renovating dioramas, producing new taxidermy mounts, fabricating insect models, to sculpting both a bronze dinosaur as well as a ten-panel bas relief facsimile for the Egyptian tomb. Michael published museum artist James Perry Wilson’s biography, Painting Actuality, The Diorama Art of James Perry Wilson in 2019.
SEAN MURTHA, FINHA
Preparator, Artist, Diorama Historian
The son of artistically inclined parents, Sean Murtha was encouraged at a young age to draw and paint. He studied painting at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, graduating with a BFA in 1990. In 1996, he joined the staff of the American Museum of Natural History, where he worked in the exhibition department. There he gained experience painting murals and background paintings for dioramas. In 2007, Sean began working at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, and he continues to create dioramas there and for other museums on a freelance basis to this day. Sean is a member of the Society of Animals Artists and frequent exhibitor at many galleries across the country. In 2013, Sean was named “Artist of the Year” by the Connecticut Audubon Society.
THOMAS GNOSKE, FINHA
Chief Preparator /Assistant Collections Manager/Taxidermy Historian
Department of Ornithology
The Field Museum
Thomas Gnoske is Chief Preparator and Assistant Collection Manager in the Collections Center at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. His work on taxidermy over the years has inspired his interest in understanding and reconstructing historic methods and materials in taxidermy, and the modifications that took place between the mid-19th and 20th centuries. Over the past 26 years he has helped to build the zoological and geological research collections at the 'Field' and has participated on over 30 research and collecting expeditions around the world. His research interests include canid evolution and morphological variation and behavior in African Lions (Panthera leo).
BETHANY PALUMBO, ACR, B.A., M.A., FINHA
Conservator specializing in Natural History Collections
Head of Conservation Unit at the Natural History Museum of Denmark
Accredited by the UK Institute for Conservation
Conservator of Life Collections at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (2012-2019)
Trustee for the Natural Science Collections Association (NatSCA)
Bethany Palumbo ACR is Head of Conservation Unit at the Natural History Museum of Denmark and is highly specialized in the conservation of Natural History collection types, foremost bone material and taxidermy. Previous to this, she was the Conservator of Life Collections at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (OUMNH) from 2012-2019. She is accredited by the UK Institute for Conservation and has over a decade of conservation experience in the international museum field. Bethany has a BA (2010) and MA (2013) in conservation studies from the University of Lincoln, UK and is a Trustee for the Natural Science Collections Association (NatSCA).
STEPHEN P. ROGERS, FINHA
Collection Manager & Exhibit Historian (Retired)
Section of Birds
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Stephen P. Rogers has worked for over 40 years at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the capacity of first a Scientific Preparator and then as a Collection Manager, in both the Section of Amphibians and Reptiles and the Section of Birds. He earned a Master’s degree in Mammalogy. Stephen began practicing preparation when he was about 12 years old and received education at the J. W. Elwood Northwest School of Taxidermy. He collects taxidermy books and ephemera and has amassed a large library on preparation, taxidermy and taxidermists, museums, journals, and magazines dealing with taxidermy, older catalogs, miscellaneous photo and post cards, and the occasional dissertations along these lines.
JOYCE CLOUGHLY, B.S., FINHA
Exhibit Artist (Retired)
American Museum of Natural History
Exploring her grandparents’ dairy farm in New Jersey every weekend as a “free-range” child growing up in the fifties and sixties, Joyce Cloughly became fascinated by the natural world at a young age. After graduating with a BS in biology from Beloit College in Wisconsin, she became staff artist/naturalist at the Somerset County Environmental Education Center in the Great Swamp in NJ. Her interest in art and nature led to a career in the Exhibition Department at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Museum expeditions have taken her to the Florida Everglades, Costa Rica and the Central African Republic, collecting plants and making molds and models for dioramas and exhibitions. Always interested in archaeology, Joyce Cloughly has more recently participated as a volunteer at numerous “digs” in the UK, working at sites dating from Neolithic to Roman times.