Liz Smith-Oettinger, Founder/President
Liz is a Wildlife Rehabilitator, General Falconer and Bird of Prey educator. In 1988 her passion for nature and self understanding led her into the first of many four day wilderness solo fasting times. These times of deep immersion into nature brought forth the knowing of the importance of helping others to do the same, and in 2000 she completed her training as a Wilderness Vision Quest guide through The School of Lost Borders. She is also trained in Circle Leadership, is a Council Facilitator, and Council Guide Trainer. Liz holds a BA in Liberal Arts from California Institute of Integral Studies with an emphasis in Deep Ecology and Eco Psychology. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors and participates in outreach, fundraising and education for the California Foundation for Birds of Prey, 501c3. She is an active member and served on the education committee for the California Hawking Club, 501c3. Liz is passionate about nature, animals and helping to reverse Nature Deficit Disorder in children, teens and adults.
Marten Benatar – Master Falconer, Naturalist and Mentor
Marten, brings his expertise to CRWN with his deep love and innate ability to communicate with birds of prey. He worked closely on training techniques with the original founder Jim Tigan of West Coast Falconry Academy and Tactical Avian Predators. A dedicated instructor and sponsor for apprentice falconers, Marten is passionate about passing on falconry as an art and hunting sport. Marten was awarded the coveted Apprentice of the Year Award in 2005 by The California Hawking Club (CHC) for his outstanding ability of training and successful hunting and taking of game with his Redtailed Hawk. He has been on the Board Directors for the CHC since 2005 with active roles as chairperson for two CHC field meets, editor and publisher of the CHC newsletter, annual journal and raptor education committee and CHC website administrator. Marten enjoyed 25 years as a professional musician and entertainer traveling the world. His family are longtime successful walnut and peach farmers and hunters in Rio Oso California. Marten spent most of his youth outdoors camping, hunting, fishing and enjoying the wonders of nature and abundant wildlife of Northern California.
Steven Wood is a dynamic, skilled outdoorsman, educator, naturalist, and scientist
Steven served as an onsite Naturalist at Butte Meadows Outdoor School for several years, and directed the school for two years, sharing nature and his perspective and providing unique immersion into the natural world for thousands of school children in the Butte County area. He has extensive raptor-handling experience as a scientist, and as a licensed master falconer. Steven carries a long history of special-status species surveys inclusive of birds (willow flycatcher; American peregrine falcon; northern goshawk; Swainson’s hawk; spotted owl, great gray owl, and burrowing owls), terrestrial mollusks, amphibians (foothill yellow-legged frog, tailed frog, mountain red-legged frog, giant garter snake, western pond turtle), mammals, and fish. Additionally, he participates in vegetation, restoration, construction, and river revetment monitoring projects, and has served as project monitor responsible for environmental compliance issues at many large scale river revetment sites. Steven aspires to share his perspective and wealth of experience as a wildlife biologist with others. He considers people and the natural world our most precious resources. His goal is to cut through illusory barriers that have been culturally, mechanically, and legally placed between people and their environment, to restore wellness and wholeness via fostering an appreciation and connection with nature as a cherished legacy. His primary conviction is that that people and nature are interdependent, that the future of nature is in direct proximity to humankind, just as the future of humankind is in direct proximity to nature. His mantra: humankind arose as a product of nature, and as such, should not, in fact cannot be separated from it. Steven is a long-time north state resident, living with his wife Ann in Oroville, California. In his spare time he enjoys gardening, hiking, fishing, and poetry writing. He particularly enjoys practicing falconry with short-winged hawks (Accipiters).