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Jean Iron

Jean is a retired school principal with a master's degree in education from the University of Toronto. She is a natural guide and gifted teacher. Ontario’s best known birdwatcher, Jean was President of the Ontario Field Ornithologists for nine years and edited its newsletter for 14 years.

Jean travels to many parts of the world studying and enjoying wildlife, human history and digital photography. Her photos are featured in many nature publications. When not leading trips, Jean is much sought as a speaker at nature clubs and festivals. She is an active member of the Brodie Club, one of Canada’s oldest and most prestigious natural history clubs.

Jean’s strong interest in conservation led her to serve as a board member on Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas Management Committee and as a board member and co-author of the Ontario Shorebird Conservation Plan. She supports the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s efforts to acquire globally rare habitats such as the Carden Alvar in Ontario. She is particularly interested in shorebirds and gulls, and authored Shorebirds of Southern Ontario, an informative and remarkably user-friendly field guide to a group of birds presenting very particular field identification challenges. For her many efforts and her assiduous study of bird life, Jean will be receiving the Ontario Field Ornithologists' Distinguished Ornithologist Award in 2016.

Jean has led land tours to Honduras, Peru, Cuba, Belize and Guatemala, Point Pelee and Iceland. As an experienced expedition cruise leader, she has taken Quest groups to Canada’s High Arctic, Svalbard Archipelago in Arctic Norway, Galapagos, Costa Rica and Panama, Iceland, Japan and French Polynesia.

Upcoming Tours

Current Projects

Volunteering for research projects in Polar Bear Provincial Park, Akimiski Island, and surveys of the endangered Red Knot on James Bay with the Royal Ontario Museum and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

Memorable Moment

Watching the sun set over the Great Plaza Mayan ruins at Tikal in the heart of the jungle while flocks of Keel-billed Toucans and other colourful tropical birds filled the trees as they flew to their night roost.