Who We Are:
The Cape Romain Bird Observatory is a fledgling conservation organization. We are based in the South Carolina coastal plain, or "Lowcountry".
In addition to our current bird banding efforts, population studies and other projects, we eventually plan to hire leading ornithologists and other staff to study and protect southeastern US birds and the ecosystems they inhabit. Our long-term plan is to headquarter in McClellanville, South Carolina with field stations and banding locations throughout coastal SC.
Below are brief biographies of a few of our board members. Bios for the rest of the board will be added soon.
Robert heads the board's marketing/communications committee, plans public relations initiatives, and helps guide CRBO interaction with corporations and large organizations.
Robert resides and enjoys birds in Wilmington, Delaware, Honey Brook, Pennsylvania and Daniel Island, South Carolina. He recently retired as Director of Executive Communication from Verizon Telecommunications, Inc., a Fortune 10 corporation.
Robert is Principal of Stoneybrook Group, L.L.C., a communication, training and design firm. He is also board president and executive director of First State Ballet Theatre, a ballet company and school headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware's Grand Opera House.
Robert is also a landscape architect who has implemented projects in the mid-Atlantic states as well as coastal South Carolina.
Chuck is one of the "founding fathers" of North American birding. He is semi-retired from the banking / investment sector and resides in Hilton Head, SC. Chuck is one of the leading lights of the board's Finance Committee.
Chuck is also a former bird bander who has extensive fundraising experience and contacts within the U.S. bird/conservation arena, as well as accounting expertise. He personally knows a significant portion of the U.S. birding and ornithology communities.
Christopher Snook, PhD.
Chris is CRBO's Director of Bird Banding; we are extremely fortunate to have him aboard.
Dr. Snook is employed by the Medical University of South Carolina where he carries out research into protein structure for eventual drug design. Having pursued this area of research in Texas, Missouri, Virginia and his native Britain - his ornithological interests developed in parallel.
His bird banding started at the same time as his interest in molecular structure and has been pursued in parallel with his professional work. Chris was initially trained with the British Trust for Ornithology Ringing (Banding) Scheme in Britain where he learned to handle birds ranging in size from Mute Swan down to Goldcrest using techniques such as mist-netting, trapping and catching by hand. During this period he also participated in various BTO surveys, such as the Winter Bird Atlas, Nest Record Scheme, Birds of the Estuaries inquiry.
The birds of the estuaries inquiry engendered a strong interest in shorebirds. Just before migrating to this side of the Atlantic, Chris was a member of the Runneymeade Ringing Group and joined them on ringing trips to Portugal. He has also participated as a volunteer in a multi-year winter expedition to the Parc des Oiseaux de Nationales in northern Senegal (W. Africa) to study wintering trans-Saharan european migrants in a region that suffered severe droughts in the late '60's that caused a drastic decline in breeding migrants.
For the past two years, Chris has been working with Dr. Will Post of the Charleston Museum Bird Department; he has assisted Dr. Post with bird banding at long-established banding sites. Recently Chris received his master bird banding permit from the US Bird Banding Lab. This allows Chris to band birds independently and to begin training a cadre of assistants (sub-permitees).
Chris's current banding interests also involve shorebirds, egrets and herons, migrating songbirds and Lowcountry breeding bird populations. Chris was also recently very instrumental in helping a Smithsonian Institution team with field work on Rusty Blackbirds in coastal SC.
CRBO is Nathan's brainchild and he is the driving force behind the observatory. He serves in the capacity of Executive Director, Webmaster, Director of Field Operations and other roles. Besides his bird-related efforts with the observatory, Nathan is also on the South Carolina Bird Records Committee, the state editor for Cornell and Audubon's Project eBird, the compiler for the McClellanville Christmas Bird Count, and a regular leader on birding tours, field trips and festivals. He is one of south Carolina's top 'birders' - ranking number 2 in terms of most bird species observed in SC and also holding the SC 'big year' record for seeing the most bird species in a single year.
While Nathan's education and professional certifications lie in the realm of computer security, his true passion has always been studying and observing wildlife. His early obsessions with hunting and fishing were replaced in later life by a passion for all-encompassing wildlife conservation and study.
Nathan was born in Charleston, SC during the late 1960s. He spent his infancy on Ashley Avenue, across Colonial Lake from where Reverend John Bachman and John James Audubon spent such happy times at Bachman's home. Nathan's parents soon moved the family to the Fort Johnson area of James Island where they enjoyed Bobwhite Quail and other neighborhood wildlife. In 1973, the family moved to Jasper County's "Possum Corner Plantation", which was owned by Nathan's grandfather - William Way Fick. Here, amid tens of thousands of acres of woods along the Coosawhatchie River swamps, Nathan's nearest human neighbors were many miles away. His regular playmates consisted of birds, otters, Gopher Tortoises, rattlesnakes, snapping turtles and alligators.
At the end of summer 1978, Nathan's parents moved the family back to Charleston. The time had come for Nathan and his brother Aaron's rural education to be supplemented by Charleston schooling. Nathan attended in sequence: Miss Mason's School, College Preparatory Academy and the College of Charleston.
After graduating college, Nathan worked in the field of computer networks and security. He lived in places like Washington, DC, New York, NY and the San Francisco Bay area. But each time he visited home, he became more and more concerned with the state of Lowcountry wildlife and their habitat. In particular, Nathan became gravely concerned for Lowcountry birds - his area of greatest knowledge. It seemed there was far too much work to do for existing agencies and organizations to handle.
This concern lead to his return to the SC Lowcountry in January 2003 and to the genesis of the Cape Romain Bird Observatory.