The Wildlife Speaker Series Is Back!

We are just tickled to announce that the Wildlife Speaker Series is Back IN PERSON for 2022


June 1, at 5:30, at the Woodson Ranch Waldie-Kanouse Visitor Center

Come learn about some of the songbirds of Southwest Montana and the issues these feathered friends face. We will have a meal at 5:30 (PitStop Barbecue) with a presentation at 7:00. Our speakers this year are Elise Zarri and Kevin Ellison, each of whom will educate you on the work they have been doing.

Elise Zarri is a PhD student at the University of Montana. She is originally from Oakland, California and attended UC Davis for her bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology. She has participated in a variety of research projects across the United States and abroad. She conducted a research project at Southern Illinois University, studying the impacts of human-driven forest change on insect abundance and diversity as a food base for insectivorous birds. In 2018, she started as a graduate student at the University of Montana, working with Dr. Tom Martin. She is studying the impacts of conifer encroachment on abundance and nest success of the sagebrush songbird community. After graduate school, she plans to work as a wildlife researcher and hopes to continue working on projects that have meaningful impact on wildlife conservation.

Kevin Ellison is the Northern Great Plains Program Manager with American Bird Conservancy, an entity dedicated to conserving wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, they take on the greatest problems facing birds today.

Kevin has 30 years of experience conducting research in avian ecology. Originally from northern Illinois, where intact Tallgrass prairie is exceedingly scarce. Kevin developed an interest in cowbirds as they do not build nests and trick other birds into caring for their eggs and young. This led to graduate degrees for work in s. California and s. Texas. In 2005, Kevin returned to the Great Plains to conduct post-doctoral research on the responses of grassland birds to the removal of tree rows and used mini-cameras at nests to identify predators. Since 2008, he has studied relationships between grassland birds and grazing management in Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Saskatchewan.


The Wildlife Speaker Series’ purpose is to provide free, fun, unbiased and fact-based presentations educating the public about wildlife of SW Montana and the issues facing these animals.  These events are organized and sponsored by a collaborative of local, conservation-oriented groups.

The groups organizing these events share a vision to educate and inspire people to care more about local wildlife and the ecosystems we share with them.

Your donations of financial support are very much appreciated and can be made by clicking here.


Numerous people and organizations deserve recognition for their efforts to keep this program alive. In addition to Ruby Habitat Foundation’s event focused on Songbirds, the following organizations have been involved this year and will be hosting events of their own at the following dates, times and locations:

Big Hole Watershed Committere Beavers, July 14, 6pm at the Divide Grange

Centennial Valley Association…Waterfowl with a focus on Lesser Scaup, June 8, 6pm

Jack Creek Preserve Foundation…Pika, July 9, 7pm at the Jack Creek Preserve

Madison Valley Ranchlands Group..Snake savvy, August 3, 6PM, at TK Ranch

Ruby Valley Watershed Council and Conservation District.…Stoats & mink, July 1, 5:30PM at Jackson’s Garden in Sheridan, MT

For questions about the above events, please contact the hosting entity. If you’d like to support these programs, each of those organizations has agreed that Ruby Habitat Foundation will be the recipient of donations of support. If we receive donations in excess of our costs, we have also agreed that we will “roll” those donations over to next year.