Southern Sierra Research Station Board Members
Dan Burnett, President
Dan is an active volunteer with community and environmental groups. Born in the Los Angeles metropolis, he received a Bachelor's degree in Public Administration from Cal State University Long Beach and has done graduate studies in Business Administration and Public Administration there and at the University of Southern California. Upon retirement from working as a Human Resources Specialist with the Department of Navy at China Lake in 1994 he has pursued travel, sailing, birding, and volunteerism. Dan has participated in a variety of bird surveys and field studies as a "citizen scientist". He is an active docent with the Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest, Ca., and a member of the Board of Directors of the Kerncrest Audubon Society. Dan may be reached via email at imdanburnett at the verizon network.
Dave Kurdeka, Vice-President
Dave was born in Idaho and raised there and in Arizona. He received a bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Arizona, and is retired from a career as an engineer working for the Department of the Navy at China Lake, California. His introduction to the Kern Valley was as a volunteer for the Kern River Preserve tree planting projects of the 1990s. Dave has always had a passion for the natural world and spends as much time as possible outside in that world. Since retirement he enjoys photography, hiking and camping, 4 wheel drive trips, traveling (especially in the developing world), gardening, and volunteering. He can be reached on e-mail at davekurdekaATverizon.net.
Terri Middlemiss, Secretary
Terri has been a member of SSRS board since its inception. She has also been a member of the Kerncrest Audubon Society board since its inception in the 1980s. She is a longtime conservationist and member of many national and international organizations. Terri has lived on the same high desert acres for 31 years and treats it as a wildlife sanctuary; she even has a bird trail recognized in "A Birder's Guide to Southern California", which brings travelers from around the world to her wildlife sancturary. Terri and her husband, Ed, are owned by numerous cats (indoor with protected outdoor priviliges), dogs, chickens and resident and migratory wild birds. They love to travel, read, plant natives, spend time with family and friends and eat out.
Brenda Burnett, Treasurer
After attending the University of Redlands and the University of Maryland, Brenda received a Bachelor's degree in English from the U. of Maryland and has done graduate work in Public Administration at the University of Southern California. She is retired from a career in financial management and management analysis as a civilian for the US Navy. She served on the Ridgecrest City Council from 1980 to 1982. She has lived in Germany, France, and for awhile on a sailboat in Mexico.
Since retirement, she has concentrated on adding to her life bird list and is active as a volunteer, escorting trips to the China Lake petroglyphs, sponsoring a Junior Audubon Club at a local elementary school, and editing the newsletter for the Kerncrest Audubon Society and serving on their board of directors. Brenda may be reached via email at chatbird at the verizon network.
Bob is a Maturango Museum Docent as well as the president of the Ridgecrest Chapter of the California Turtle and Tortoise Club. He is also on the Kerncrest Audubon board of directors . He received his BS degree from Humboldt State University and did his graduate work there, with a stint in the U.S. army as a GCA air traffic controller in Viet Nam in between. He worked for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as a Wildlife Biologist in the Safford District in Southeast Arizona and the Ridgecrest Field Office, in the California desert, where he retired in 2009. In Arizona, riparian management was a priority where he did monitoring of areas like Bonita Creek, Arivaipa Creek, Bonita Creek, and the San Pedro, among others. He participated in fencing and tree planting in riparian areas in both Arizona and California. He has conducted surveys for the desert tortoise in Arizona and continued this work at Ridgecrest. He worked with the Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee in managing the Desert Tortoise Resource Natural Area. He assisted in fencing habitat for the federally listed Inyo California Towhee in the Argus Range.
Sean received his B.S. in Zoology from the University of South Florida in 1993. He has a background in avian ecology and conservation and has worked on numerous research projects involving a wide variety of species including Florida Scrub-Jays, Southwestern Willow Flycatchers and Yellow-billed Cuckoos. Sean first came to the Kern Valley in 1992 as a summer intern working on riparian bird communities and ended up staying for several years. During this time he co-founded a long-term Turkey Vulture migration study in the Kern Valley. Sean returned to the Kern Valley permanently in 2008. In the interim, he worked in central Florida on projects involving large scale wetland restoration and as an Environmental Engineer at Kennedy Space Center where he almost got to sit in the driver's seat of the Space Shuttle! Sean is currently employed as the Land Steward on Audubon's Kern River Preserve where he gets to enjoy the beauty of the Kern Valley and it's diversity of habitats and wildlife from his office window. In his spare time he enjoys exploring the remote regions of the Sierra Nevada and Mojave Desert.
Pat was born in Boise, Idaho and moved with her military family to many parts of the country, ending up at Edwards, CA. After High School, she attended Southern Oregon State College, majoring in Biology, but after 2 years, returned to Edwards and started working at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. She returned back to college and completed her BS in Aerospace Engineering from Cal Poly SLO. She has always been fascinated with flight: While at Cal Poly, she took an ornithology class and became hooked on birding (she has been participating in Kern County Christmas Bird Counts since 1995). She flew sailplanes for many years, and enjoyed downhill and cross-country skiing, bicycling, and backpacking in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. She retired from the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center as a Flight Controls Engineer (1995), and continued part time work as a private aerospace consultant/project manager (Perlan Stratospheric Sailplane project). Residing in Bodfish, she currently is a desert wildlife surveyor/monitor, specializing in desert tortoise. She continues to backpack, and trail run, and enjoys watercolor and oil painting. She is also a musician, and is a member of "Out of the Blue Acoustic", a four piece acoustic band. She joined the SSRS Board to contribute to the science and study of the Southern Sierra region.