11 a.m. | Lecture
Walter Rybka, Author & Captain of the Flagship Niagara
Topic: “Writing a Seaman’s View of the Battle of Lake Erie.”
Born in Brooklyn, NY, frequent visits to the harbor seeded Walter Rybka’s maritime interest. His parents took their four children to museums of all kinds, as well as national parks and historic sites, which encouraged an interest in history. His career has been divided between preservation of historic ships for museums and experiential educational programs sailing historic vessel types.
In command of the reconstructed U.S. Brig Niagara since 1991, he has shared his passion and skill through the Niagara Sailing School Vessel Program so that others may experience the history and excitement of square rig sailing. Museum Administrator, Author and recipient of various awards, he resides in Erie, Pennsylvania with his wife and eleven year old daughter. He has a USCG license as master, auxiliary sail, 1,600 tons, oceans.
12:30 p.m. | Lecture
Jim Grazio, Great Lakes Biologist, Educator, Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection, The Tom Ridge Environmental Center
Topic: “Living Art: The Fantastic Fishes of Lake Erie”
Jim Grazio, Great Lakes Biologist,Educator/Pa. Dept of Environmental Protection/TREC
Jim is the Great Lakes Biologist for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. He brags that he has the best job in the agency. He is responsible for testing the water in Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay to be sure that it’s safe to drink and swim in. He also collects and tests the fish to determine if they’re safe to eat.
On a good day in the summer you’ll find him out on a boat in Lake Erie setting gill nets or collecting samples. On a great day, you’ll see him riding home on his motorcycle (he is also a motorcycle safety instructor). Jim holds advanced degrees in both biology and psychology and is currently working on his PhD in Biology at Penn State University. He is also an adjunct instructor at Gannon University, teaching evening courses in environmental science and biology.
2 p.m. | Lecture
Gary DeBlois, Graphic Designer, Photographer, Artist & Beach Glass Collector
Topic: “Around the World in 80 Nanoseconds: How the Internet Revolutionized Sea Glass Collecting”
Gary de Blois is a graphic designer, photographer, artisan and avid sea glass collector. He maintains an online magazine about collecting called "Sea Glass Journal" as well as an online storefront called "Just Beachy Keen" for selling his sea glass creations.
Gary also travels around the US and Caribbean to hunt for sea glass while gathering sea glass stories from others to share on his website.
3:30 p.m. | Lecture
Brian Gula, Environmental Education Specialist, Interpreter, Pa. Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources, The Tom Ridge Environmental Center
Topic: “Joe Root, The Myths and the Legends”
Born and raised in Erie, Gula graduated from Cathedral Prep in 1997. He attended Butler County Community College and graduated with an associate’s degree in Parks and Resource Management in 1999.
He was hired by DCNR Presque Isle State Park in 2001 as seasonal interpreter and is now a full-time Environmental Educator. His dad installed a passion in him for the outdoors by taking him fishing, hunting, and camping since he was two years old. When he started working at Presque Isle it wasn’t long before he became interested in learning about the History of the park and found the story of Joe Root fascinating.
11 a.m. | Lecture
Scott McKenzie, Geologist, Educator & Curator, Mercyhurst University
Topic: “Unusual Beach Finds”
Scott McKenzie teaches geology and oceanography at Mercyhurst University. He is interested in identifying odd fossils, bones and curiosities that appear on local beaches. Scott publishes articles in scientific journals on geological topics and does talks on dinosaurs and meteorites around the country.
12:30 p.m. | Lecture
Emily Hauser, Environmental Education Specialist, Pa. Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources, The Tom Ridge Environmental Center
Topic: “Beach Ecology”
During her college years at Slippery Rock University, Emilly Hauser gained valuable experience working for DCNR at Oil Creek State Park and Delaware State Park. She graduated with a B.S. in Park and Resource Management. Hauser started her professional career as an Interpretive Ranger for the National Park Service in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
Emily moved to Erie in 2007. She has held positions with the Erie County Conservation District and Environmental Erie. In 2011, Mrs. Hauser was thrilled to join the naturalists at the peninsula by accepting an Environmental Education Specialist at Presque Isle State Park.
Emily is passionate about our local environmental and takes pleasure in spending time out doors hiking, bird pecialist position for watching, and practicing nature photography. She has a soft spot for turtles, owls, and anything historical.
2:00 p.m. | Lecture
Mary Beth Beuke, Artist, Owner West Coast Sea Glass, Author and photographer
Topic: "To The Ends of The Earth"
President of the Sea Glass Association '05-'10 and published sea glass writer, photographer and speaker, Mary Beth Beuke is a Pacific Northwest native with one of the world's most elaborate sea glass collections. She is owner, artist and collector for West Coast Sea Glass and her work is now found in over 50 galleries all over the world.
She's journeyed the planet for sea glass for a lifetime and her story and collection have been published in National Geographic, Smithsonian, Coastal Living, Parade, Ocean Home, Seattle Times, Sunset and more. She exhibits her collection at museums and libraries often. MB lives and works from two studios along the shores in Washington state and has recently contracted with Ulysses Publishing and is authoring an art book.
MB is also the founder of the "Smarties, Smart Art Instruction" school for artist entrepreneurs. She has three children and enjoys kayaking and giving guitar lessons in her spare time.