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Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory

Profile: Tom Wood & Sheri Williamson

SABO Naturalists/Directors Tom Wood and Sheri Williamson, a husband and wife team, came to Arizona from Texas in 1988 to manage The Nature Conservancy’s Ramsey Canyon Preserve. Tom was born and raised in Amarillo, Texas. He spent many summer vacations with his family flyfishing in the mountains of Colorado and worked as a summer employee for the concessionaire at Yellowstone National Park. Tom earned a degree in Wildlife Biology from Stephen F. Austin State University before moving to Fort Worth, where he served for 14 years as naturalist at the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge and was a prominent member of the North Texas conservation community.

Sheri grew up in Fort Worth, Texas with a passion for wildlife, chasing horned lizards from the time she could walk and taking up birding at age 10. Prior to moving to Arizona, she worked at jobs ranging from artist to zookeeper and volunteered at the Fort Worth Nature Center as a naturalist and wildlife rehabilitator. Sheri and Tom married in 1983 while she was working on a degree in Biology from the University of Texas at Arlington; a tropical biology field course in Belize doubled as their honeymoon. Both Sheri and Tom were active in the Fort Worth Audubon Society and North Texas Herpetological Society.

During their seven and a half years living and working in Ramsey Canyon, Tom and Sheri came to know and love the area's wildlife and became increasingly concerned for its future. Both independently and as representatives of TNC, they contributed to a variety of conservation projects, including rare species research and ecotourism development. Both have served as officers in local conservation organizations and were involved in establishing the Southwest Wings Birding Festival. Over time, the need for a grassroots conservation organization focused on science and education became apparent. Inspired by the work of the Cape May Bird Observatory, they left Ramsey Canyon Preserve in January 1996 to found the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory. Tom and Sheri now make their home in Bisbee, within sight of the Mexican border. Life there is quiet compared to the bustle of Ramsey Canyon, but they still take time to relax by playing folk music, reading, gardening and, of course, birding.


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