Meet the Board
Rick Van Buskirk, Ph.D., President, Forest Grove, Oregon
As a professor at Pacific University in Oregon, I conduct research on birds of prey in the
Willamette Valley, with particular focus on the American Kestrel. I was introduced to Dan and learned
about Coastal Raptors during a meeting of the Raptor Research Foundation in 2010. That meeting was
the beginning of a professional friendship through which I've come to know Dan as a generous colleague
quick to share his extensive experience and as a passionate advocate for the conservation of raptors.
It didn't take long for me to join the crew at Long Beach and lend a hand to the work of Coastal Raptors.
Working closely with these magnificent birds is a thrill every time. It's equally rewarding to spend
time on the beach with Dan's crew of dedicated volunteers and to watch him preach to the passersby about
the importance of raptors and the need to understand them better through field research.
Dan Varland, Ph.D., Executive Director, Hoquiam, Washington
By nature, I am a people person. And I also have a passion for raptors.
With that combination, it is not by accident that I am Executive Director of Coastal
Raptors. Since 1995, I've led an all-volunteer effort to monitor raptor activity
on the coastal beaches of western Washington. Until March 2009, funding support
came largely from Rayonier, Inc., a forest products company and my employer from
1993 until then. Rayonier funding for the project ended when my wildlife biologist
position was eliminated due to the severe economic downturn. In 2009, in order to
continue the work and to provide a framework for future funding, I established the
non-profit Coastal Raptors. As the board formed, I became Executive Director. The
ultimate goal of Coastal Raptors is conservation of coastal raptors. This we accomplish
through our research and education programs. Research leads to informed decisions on
conservation issues. Education leads to understanding of and respect for our magnificent
coastal raptors and their habitats. Over the years, more than 500 people have participated
in the field. While many live close by, many others travel from Seattle, Portland and beyond
to help and to learn. Our field adventures are chronicled on the website from present time
back to 2006 in Notes from the Field.
Dan's Curriculum Vitae (70kb Word)
Curriculum Vitae: a brief biographical resume of one's career and training.
John Marzluff, Ph.D.,Vice President, Seattle, Washington
I am a professor of wildlife science at the University of Washington with deep interest and
connection to raptors. My students and I have been privileged to study a variety of raptors: golden
eagles and prairie falcons in Idaho, Hawaiian hawks on the Big Island, Goshawks on the Olympic Peninsula,
and Cooper's hawks in suburban Seattle. It was on the Olympic Peninsula where I first met Dan Varland.
Dan facilitated and helped fund our research on goshawks as well as a variety of purported nest predators
on the marbled murrelet during the years he served as wildlife biologist for Rayonier, a timber company
with large land holdings in the Northwest. For a decade we worked with a wide variety of organizations
to understand these birds, and we came to know each other well. Since that time, I have continued to work
with Dan as an affiliate professor at the UW. In that role, I've enjoyed hosting Dan as he helps advise
our students and lectures in our classes. It is a real pleasure to continue our relationship by serving
on the board of Coastal Raptors. I'm a believer in what Costal Raptors does, which I see as providing
important scientific knowledge about our western raptors and top scavengers. Even more importantly is
our role in engaging people of the west coast with the fascinating and important ecological role that
raptors play in our lives. By showing us all how particular birds of prey utilize our Pacific coast,
and increasing our understanding of how our actions affect these marvelous animals, Coastal Raptors
informs our Northwestern life.
Pam McCauley, Secretary; Aberdeen, Washington
For more than 20 years, I've lived and raised my children in Aberdeen, Washington. My first
exposure to Coastal Raptors was in 2014 when I attended a raptor educational program at the Aberdeen
History Museum. The program featured Jane Veltkamp, Executive Director of the Idaho-based non-profit
Birds of Prey Northwest. Jane showed two rescued and specially trained, live raptors: a Golden Eagle
and a Peregrine Falcon.
A few weeks after the program, I worked with Dan and other volunteers in
capturing a Bald Eagle for research monitoring the health of Bald Eagles, Turkey Vultures and Common
I've had many opportunities to participate in Coastal Raptors field work since then. My family has
always questioned whether my eyes more frequently scan tree tops for eagles or focus on the road
ahead while driving since it has always been a natural tendency for me to spot and admire these
beautiful birds. Prior to these field research experiences, I didn't know that holding one in my
arms and releasing it into the sky was even a bucket-list possibility! I am thankful for the
opportunity to assist in Coastal Raptors research and conservation efforts.
Dale Larson, Board Member; Hoquiam, Washington
Twenty years ago when I birded just in the bush and on foot, Dan Varland put a new twist on an old cliché, "A bird in the hand is worth two on the beach." Here you see the result. I have not looked back.
A retired academic, I came to birding some fifty years ago with the help of my college roommate, David Pearson. Now a global ecologist and bird book author at Arizona State University, David introduced me to California condors in the sixties. I never thought that I'd be helping Dan Varland judge prospects of reintroducing them on the Northwest Coast. That's a key research goal of Coastal Raptors.
My own volunteering has long been practical. Since 2009 I've been sawing, painting, wiring, and wrenching our equipment. Today in serving on the Coastal Raptors board, I understand our mission--advancing raptor research, conservation, and education--as serving a broader community of birders and birds alike. It's getting that thought in the heads, hands, and hearts of others that counts.