- Established 1982 -

HOME: www.hiltonpond.org

Educator-Naturalist, Writer,
Scientist & Environmentalist

(Page updated 05/08/19)

-- Founder & Executive Director, Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History, York SC (1982-present)
-- Principal Investigator,
Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project (1996-present)
-- Consulting Director, New River Birding & Nature Center, Fayetteville WV (2008-present)
-- President, Newberry College Alumni Association (2004-2006); member, Newberry College Board of Trustees (2004-2006)
-- Chair, John Bachman Symposium, Newberry College (2002-2006)
-- Organizational Consultant for Allison Woods Foundation, Statesville NC (1999-2002) and RibbonWalk-Charlotte's Botanical Forest, Charlotte NC (1999-2000)
-- Director of Education & Research, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, Belmont NC (1997-99)
-- Director of Education, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Kempton PA (1995-97)
-- Director, Office of Program Research, and Chief Grant-writer, National Youth Science Foundation®, Charleston WV (1990-94)
-- Consultant for Ecology Assessments; Flora & Fauna Checklist Design; Trail & Nature Center Development (1982-present)
-- Researcher in Piedmont Ecology & Ornithology (1964-present)
-- Free-lance Nature Writer, Photographer & Lecturer (1970-present)

-- Administration & Staff Development
-- Environmental & Crossdisciplinary Teaching
-- Grant Writing, Fundraising & Public Relations
-- Curriculum Development & Implementation
-- Natural History Research, Writing & Photography
-- Public Speaking
-- Teacher Training (inservice & preservice)
-- Desktop Publishing & Web site Design (Macintosh)

-- Prepared and submitted successful education grants for York (South Carolina) School District One
-- Cooperated with the National Research Council in developing national standards in science education
-- Active with the National Education Commission on Time & Learning to define alternative ways to structure the school day and year
-- Involved with education initiatives of several organizations and federal agencies, including U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation, National Academies of Science, NASA, U.S. Geological Survey (Bird Banding Laboratory), U.S. Department of Agriculture, and North American Pollinator Protection Campaign
--Taught at the 2005 Family Summit of the National Wildlife Federation, St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada

-- University of Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul MN
M.S. Ecology & Behavioral Biology (1982); Thesis: "Behavioral Ecology of the Blue Jay, Cyanocitta cristata"
-- Winthrop College, Rock Hill SC (Undergraduate work
1969-70; graduate work 1971-77)
M.A.T. (Master of Arts in Teaching) Biology (1977); Thesis: "Ferns & Fern Allies of York County, SC"
-- Newberry College, Newberry, SC
A.B. Philosophy; Biology & Chemistry minors (1970)

-- Indiana University American Wilderness Leadership School, Jackson WY (1985)
-- Clemson University/Advanced Placement Biology Institute, Clemson SC (1985)
-- University of Minnesota/Lake Itasca Biological Station, Lake Itasca MN (1979)
-- University of Virginia/Mountain Lake Biological Station, Pembroke VA (1977);
Research Topic: "Territoriality in Eastern Wood-Pewees, Contopus virens"

-- Science Education Consultant & Grant Writer, York School District One, York SC (1999)
-- Grant Review Panelist, Graduate Traineeships in Environmental Biology (1993-95) and NSF-NATO Post-doctoral Fellowships (1995), National Science Foundation, Washington DC
-- Academic Consultant, Green River Preserve Teacher Education Program, Cedar Mountain NC (1990-91)
-- Participant & Presenter, Partners In Flight state and regional meetings & workshops (1991-95)
-- Program Director, Natural Sciences Coordinator, Unit Leader, Director of Public Relations, National Youth Science Camp®, Bartow WV (summers 1968-76, '87, '90); Grant-writing Consultant (1989-94)
-- Charter Year Biology Instructor & Coordinator of Student Research, South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematics (1988-89); Consultant (1989-90)
-- Instructor, Advanced Placement Biology (college level honors) and Biology I, Northwestern High School, Rock Hill SC (1982-88); Science Department Chair (1985-87)
-- Nature Columnist, The Herald, The York Observer, Rock Hill SC, and The Hartsville (SC) Messenger (1986-89)
-- Resident Director, South Carolina Junior Scholars Camp, Winthrop College (1986)
-- Liaison, Winthrop College/Northwestern High School Teaching-Learning Center (1982-84)
-- Instructor, Biology Department, Winthrop College (1983); courses taught: Human Biology
-- Coordinator, Adult Education Programs, Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota (1981-82)
-- Instructor, Extension Division, University of Minnesota (1980-83); courses taught: Winter Ecology, Introductory Ornithology, Advanced Ornithology, Ornithology for Teachers, & Birds of the Carolinas
-- Science Education Consultant, School of Education, University of Minnesota (1981-82)
-- Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Ecology & Behavioral Biology, University of Minnesota (1979-81); courses taught: Mammalogy (3 times), Comparative Ethology, Ornithology (3), & Herpetology
-- Instructor, Biology Department, St. Olaf College, Northfield MN (1979); courses taught: Ecology
-- Pre-major Advisor (Pre-Med, Pre-Dental), College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota (1978-79)
-- Science Department Chairman, Instructor in Biology & Physical Science, Fort Mill SC High School (1971-78)
-- General Assignment Reporter & Photographer, Evening Herald daily paper, Rock Hill SC (1970-71)

-- Gave the spring commencement address at Newberry College and was awarded an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Science) for trend-setting work in environmental education, research, and conservation, and for life-long service to the College (2013)
-- Honored as one of four charter members of Newberry College's "Hall of Master Teachers" (2012)

-- Appointed a Fellow with the international Citizen Scientists League (2012)
-- Recognized by Discover magazine as one of the top ten amateur scientists in America, and one of the country's "50 Best Brains in Science" (2008)
-- Received the Sesquicentennial (150th Anniversary) Medal of Honor, Newberry College (2007)
-- Awarded International Prize of Excellence by Yamagata University in Japan for project involving "Nature and Human Symbiosis" (2006)
Received the Luceo Mea Luce Award ("By my light I enlighten"), the highest honor given by Newberry College faculty (2006)
-- Received Outstanding Alumnus Award, Newberry College (2006)

-- Received Alumni Ring Award, Newberry College (2006)
-- Received a 42-month $180,000 grant from The National Science Foundation in support of "Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project" (2002)
-- Named an honorary member of the National Vocational-Technical Honor Society (2006)
-- Honored as a Carolinas "Guardian of the Environment" by The Charlotte Observer (1998)

-- Elected Board Member, Catawba Lands Conservancy, Charlotte NC (1998-2000); Chair, Education Committee (1999-2000)
-- Appointed to national education committee of the Raptor Research Foundation (1996)
-- Awarded Cooperative Fellowship through U.S. Dept. of Agriculture to conduct educational research for the National Youth Science Foundation (1991-92)
-- Awarded National Teacher Fellowship by Earthwatch Expeditions Inc. to assist in field research on pollination ecology of honeyeater birds (Family Meliphagidae), Flinders Chase National Park & University of Adelaide Research Station, Kangaroo Island, South Australia (1988)
-- Selected to receive Distinguished Teaching Award for 1987-88, South Carolina Academy of Science
-- Awarded Dissemination Grant to write for statewide distribution of booklet about EIA bird-banding project (see next entry), Education Improvement Act (EIA), S.C. Dept. of Education (1986)
-- Awarded Competitive Grant to Improve Teaching Practices & Procedures ("Bird-Banding: Experiencing the Scientific Method"), Education Improvement Act, South Carolina Department of Education (1985)
-- Named runner-up for 1986-87 Award for Excellence in Secondary School Science Teaching, S. C. Academy of Science
-- Awarded full scholarship & travel stipend as the Carolinas delegate, National Teacher's Workshop in Wildlife Ecology & Conservation; sponsored in Jackson, Wyoming, at American Wilderness Leadership School by Carolinas Chapter, Safari Club International (1985)
-- Selected to receive Distinguished Teaching Award for 1984-85, S. C. Academy of Science
-- Named South Carolina Science Teacher of the Year for 1983-84, Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, Clemson University
-- Named South Carolina Outstanding Biology Teacher for 1983-84, S. C. Association of Biology Teachers

-- Selected as one of two teachers spotlighted in 1984 on "The Magic of Learning," a half-hour television program produced for statewide ETV
-- Awarded Honorable Mention for 1983-84 South Carolina Science Teacher of the Year competition, S. C. Academy of Science
-- Selected South Carolina Teacher Delegate to national meeting of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Denver, Colorado (1977)
-- Named South Carolina Science Teacher of the Year for 1976-77, S. C. Academy of Science
-- Elected President, South Carolina Association of Biology Teachers (1975-76 & 1988-89)
-- Appointed Regional Director, South Carolina Junior Academy of Science (1975-78; 1984-89)

Since 1982, I have banded more than 69,000 birds from 127 species at the Hilton Pond study site near York SC, including 6,193 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. During a 15-year span I led 30 expeditions of citizen scientists from the U.S. and Canada to Central America: 12 to Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica; ten to Ujarrás in eastern CR; seven to Crooked Tree Sanctuary in Belize; one to Los Tarrales Reserve in Guatemala; and two to Montibelli Private Nature Reserve in Nicaragua. I am the only scientist conducting systematic long-term research on ruby-throats on their Neotropical wintering grounds. During near three dozen group and solo expeditions I have banded 1,329 ruby-throats in Costa Rica, plus 62 in Guatemala, 149 in Belize, 18 in Nicaragua, and two in El Salvador. These 1,540 RTHU are far more than the 46 that had been banded in Central America and Mexico prior to the beginning of my research in 2004.

Research on the following specific topics has resulted in publications for scientific and education journals and popular media, plus countless presentations across the U.S., Canada, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Japan:
-- Innovative science teaching techniques in lab & field
-- Using bird banding as a tool for teaching the scientific method
-- Longevity, sex ratios, site fidelity, and migration patterns in South Carolina populations of
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Archilochus colubris
-- Movements of winter vagrant hummingbirds in the eastern U.S.
-- Intraspecific and foraging behavior of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds on Costa Rican wintering grounds
-- Trends in eastern populations of House Finches, Carpodacus mexicanus
-- Winter site-fidelity in Purple Finches, Carpoducus purpureus
-- Behavioral ecology of Blue Jays, Cyanocitta cristata (including more than 1,500 birds color-banded in Minnesota)

-- Carolina Bird Club (Life Member)
-- Eastern Bird Banding Association (Life Member)
-- Environmental Education Association of South Carolina
-- National Association for Interpretation (natural history)
-- National Association of Biology Teachers
-- North American Association for Environmental Education
-- North American Bluebird Society
-- National Science Teachers Association
-- Sierra Club, Henry's Knob Chapter (Past Conservation Chair)
-- Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society (Clemson University chapter)
-- South Carolina Academy of Science
-- South Carolina Association of Biology Teachers (twice President and Editor)
-- South Carolina Science Council

Complete lists of professional references are available on request. Click here for a list of Scientific and Education Publications.

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Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History is a non-profit research & education organization in York, South Carolina USA; phone (803) 684-5852. Directed by Dr. Bill Hilton Jr., aka The Piedmont Naturalist, it is the parent organization for Operation RubyThroat. Contents of this website--including articles and photos--may NOT be duplicated, modified, or used in any way except with the express written permission of Hilton Pond Center. All rights reserved worldwide. To obtain permission for use or for further assistance on accessing this Web site, contact the Webmaster.