Meet Cecelia Riley...Our Special Guest
for Wings 2016
In July, 2015 Cecilia Riley retired from the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory where she served as the
organization's Executive Director for almost 19 years and founded the organization's Tropical
Forest Forever Fund. With this fund, Cecilia and her conservation partners in Central and South
America were able to permanently protect 17,000 acres of tropical forest in 10 countries.
Immediately prior to her retirement, Cecilia completed construction of the GCBO’s permanent
Lake Jackson home: The Cecilia Riley Avian Conservation Science Center – a 10-year plan
A native Texan, biologist and avid bird watcher, Cecilia has spent her lifetime – both on the job
and in her personal life. conducting avian research and habitat conservation across the Americas.
Cecilia's educational background includes a B.S. in Ecology from the University of Texas at
Arlington and an M.S. in Zoology from the University of Arkansas. Prior to her directorship at the
GCBO, Cecilia spent 2 years at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in Austin, where she
served as the state coordinator for Texas Partners in Flight. Prior to that, she worked 8 years at
the University of Texas Marine Science Institute as a Research Associate where her work
focused on the conservation of coral reef fishes.
Cecilia’s conservation practices have earned her numerous prestigious awards including: the
Partners in Flight Leadership Award for Outstanding Contributions to Bird Conservation in
2005; the Steve Thompson Award for Special Achievement on behalf of Wildlife in 2007; and
the Partners in Flight Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions to Bird
Conservation in 2014.
Since her retirement, Cecilia, along with her photographer husband Mike Gray, has continued to
pursue tropical forest protection and bird conservation with a renewed focus on South America
where rapid loss of the world’s most extensive forests has had a devastating effect on our planet's climate.
"A celebration of natural flight saluting the unique winged wildlife
of the Texas Hill Country offering opportunities for
education and entertainment for the whole family."
The 6th Annual
Wings Over the Hills Nature Festival
April 29 - May 1, 2016
Join us at Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park
in Fredericksburg, TX for a
NATURALLY WONDERFUL WEEKEND!