About Mark Smith Nature Tours
Upcoming Nature Tours
About Mark Smith
Mark Smith's keen interest in nature as a boy led him to study biology at Oregon State University and build his own business as owner and tour operator of Mark Smith Nature Tours. For over 25 years, Mark has guided travelers to Central and South America, Asia, Africa, Madagascar, Australia and Europe. He has led many tours for the Nature Conservancy of Oregon, Portland Audubon Society, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and Elderhostel. He is co-author of Birds of Oregon and has conducted research for The National Science Foundation, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Marine Fisheries Service in Alaska. As owner, director and guide, Mark provides informed, personalized attention before and during each journey. His tours emphasize ecology, conservation, cultural and historical highlights, and usually enjoying birds! Most tours are led by fine naturalists from the host country, and each is researched personally, then designed to maximize natural, cultural and geographic diversity. His wide knowledge and contagious enthusiasm have kept travelers returning year after year.
Mark Smith's Co-leaders:
Santiago de la Vega is an Argentine naturalist and birdwatcher with special interests in Argentina's history and culture. Santiago has a degree in Marine Biology and has been guiding natural history groups in Argentina and Chile for 15 years. he lives in Buenos Aires, but when not guiding, Santiago is often exploring remote parts of Argentina researching and writing travel guidebooks. His great enthusiasm for the Southern Cone and his willingness to share his knowledge always makes him a favorite of travelers.
Marc Egger has led many Central and South American and African tours with Mark Smith. Marc grew up in Brazil and the U.S., speaks four languages fluently, and began his studies of tropical nature while living seven years in Costa Rica. Research experiences include tropical reforestation, ornithology, amphibian censusing, and butterfly migration. In Sao Paulo Brazil, where he lives with his wife and son, he has developed an outdoor school program for kids and is publishing educational and conservation materials. Special interests include botany, birds, photography, history, and music. In recent years he has developed conservation education courses and guidebooks for students in his native Brazil, where he lives with Cecelia and their son. He leads many of our trips to Brazil and Argentina and Chile.
Benito Hernandez has been guiding visitors to his native Oaxaca for 15 years. His areas of study include archaeology, history, and culture, while in recent years he has been enjoying natural history and birds. Benito went to university in the US and speaks excellent English. He lives with his American wife and two children in Oaxaca City, and guides fulltime in the region.
Lelis Navarrette is regarded as one of the finest bird and natural history guides in Ecuador, where his friends call him "El Hombre." He has a Masters in Zoology and has guided in Ecuador and neighboring countries for over 10 years. He is expert with bird songs and in 1997 co-discovered the Jocotoco Antpitta, which triggered the creation of the conservation group, the Jocotoco Foundation, for which Lelis is Vice President.
Fabiano Oliviera has been co-leading Brazil tours with Marc Egger for eight years. He is a native of the Pantanal region and has a degree in biology. He is an expert on birds, wildlife and flora, and enthusiasticly shares details of his culture and nature. Fabiano lives north of the Pantanal with his wife, Eli, and their beautiful baby girl, Clara.
Antonio Ortiz is a Guatemalan archaeologist who grew up at Tikal where his father, originally an organizer of chicle gum tappers, provided logistical support to hundreds of archaeologist-excavators that worked at Tikal in the 1950's and 60's. Tony worked in the digs beside famous scientists of the time. After university in Florida he returned to Tikal to study and guide. His great knowledge and affable nature make him a favorite leader.
Rivo Rarivosoa is fluent in four languages, including Japanese. He has been guiding nature, birdwatching and cultural tours in Madagascar for 17 years and is president of the National Guides Association. A fine musician and an accomplished photographer, Rivo's passion for sharing all aspects of Malagasy life has made him a favorite leader of travelers. He'll guide to Madagascar.
Jon Starks has co-led Australia tours with Mark Smith for over 15 years. A professional ornithologist, Jon does research for Birds Australia, Australia's Audubon Society counterpart, and for government agencies, having conducted dozens of projects on endangered birds. His detailed knowledge of Aussie economics, politics and history are remarkable and he is an excellent lecturer. Jon will co-lead Australia with Mark, and three other guides will guide in different regions.
Ann Sutton is one of Jamaica's foremost experts in ecology, conservation and natural history and is owner/manager of Marshall's Pen, a private nature reserve and cattle property. Her Ph.D. focused on seabird conservation in Jamaica. She has been leading bird tours in Jamaica for more than 20 years and is currently promoting her book, A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Jamaica, which was published in 2009.
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