Santiago Birding Coordillera Occidental
Santiago’s love for nature was born in Colombian jungles. Many of his childhood afternoons were spent eyeballing souvenir snakes he caught in jars during morning adventures. One day, years later, in another country, Santiago would remember this infatuation when stalking seabirds and mammals on a California beach. It was when he incidentally turned his binoculars inland and saw colors floating through the sky his love for nature was stirred and his interest in birding peeked.
In 1993, Santiago volunteered for the Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Beach Watch Program when he discovered the Spotted Towhee and the Black Phoebe. These birds strengthened his love for birds off all kind and decided his life’s path. Six years later, Santiago earned his Cultural Anthropology and Environmental Studies degrees with a special Emphasis in Environmental Education from Sonoma State University. He now uses his accumulative experience to teach environmental education and lead nature tours throughout the United States and Colombia.
For the past 18 years, Santiago has provided an outdoor environmental education program for inner-city Los Angles Youth through the Mono Lake Committee in California’s Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. He also leads birding tours for the Mono Lake Committee’s annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua event, offers birding and photography seminars, and is an environmental studies liaison to area schools. Since late 2012, Santiago has been working with Eastern Sierra Audubon Society as a Board Member and also leading birding walk in the Mono Basin and Bishop areas for the group.
Santiago created Guadualito Birding Tours when he realized that he and many birders in his tours shared similar passions for birds and nature. Knowing that he could bring people to the Colombian countryside that turned him onto a life’s worth of work, he set out to provide birders and naturalists with the opportunity. He has realized this dream and hopes the adventures will never end.
“Janet and I wanted to thank you, again, for the expertise and organization that you put into our birding trip… Still can’t believe that we saw 152 species in less than a week. The expert ornithologist and local guides you enlisted to help added a lot, and they were amazing… We felt secure and very well taken care of during this Colombian adventure…”
-Dave and Janet Carle, 2009