Biology Major, Birder, Paddler and More!
I was born and raised in Pennsylvania. I have always had a love for nature. Whether it was hiking in the woods, kayaking/canoeing, camping, or traveling to the beach; I enjoyed exploring the outdoors throughout my childhood. My love for animals led me to become a vegan in 1990 – the best decision I have ever made! In 1993, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Carnegie-Mellon University. In 1995, I made teaching martial arts my full-time profession which allowed me time during the day to hike, bird, herp, etc. While in PA, I participated in several bio-blitzes and was a member of PARS (Pennsylvania Amphibian and Reptile Survey).
Passion for wildlife & conservation
I moved to Florida in 2017 and soon joined the Venice Area Audubon Society (VAAS). That’s when my birding took off! Today, I lead birding tours for VAAS, Lemon Bay Conservancy, Peace River Audubon Society and the Venice Area Birding Association. My love for animals also led me to volunteer for Save Our Seabirds in Sarasota. There I spent most of my time in the baby bird room; raising them for release. When I moved from Venice to Englewood, I switched from SOS to the Venice Wildlife Center. First volunteering in their baby bird room and now going on wildlife rescues.
Mike's biggest love in life
The most important event in 2017 after moving to Florida was meeting and falling in love with Leslie Brown. She also shares a love of exploring the outdoors whether it’s kayaking/SUP, birding, butterflying, scuba diving, or camping. We completed the Coastal module of the Florida Master Naturalist Program together. FMNP was a great experience and I continue to volunteer as a guest lecturer for the bird portions of the program. We are both members of REEF, VAAS and the Peace River Butterfly Society. We enjoy planting natives in our yard and raising butterflies.
I fell in love with scuba diving in my early 40s. Diving opened up an entire new world of nature exploration. I tested up through to PADI’s Rescue Diver certification all the while doing underwater fish surveys for REEF.org. Hundreds of dives and surveys later, I achieved REEF’s highest certification level (Level 5 Fish Expert) for the tropical western Atlantic region.
It has been a real blessing joining the SUP Englewood team. It is incredibly rewarding sharing my love of nature with our guests. I hope my enthusiasm is entertaining and educational. See you on the water!