Mark is a wildlife biologist who has studied birds for more than 35 years. He fell in love with wild birds in June of 1983 when he spent 6 weeks in a camp setting studying wildlife management techniques at NC State University. He graduated from North Carolina State University in May of 1984 with a B.S. in Fish and Wildlife Science. He began work as a field biologist at Fort Bragg, N.C., then for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. In 1989 Mark went to work for the N.C. Museum of Life & Science as a staff biologist and community educator where he developed, taught and trained other staff members to teach programs about native N.C. wildlife. This career move led Mark and Melanie to Missouri where he worked as the Assistant Nature Center Manager at the Missouri Department of Conservation's Burr Oak Woods Nature Center in Blue Springs. In April of 1994 he accepted the Executive Director position at the Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary in Liberty where he led a Capital Campaign and expansion of the building and trails. The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania "lured" him away in March of 1998 to be their Executive Director of Western Pennsylvania. Luckily, Melanie's company wanted her back here in Kansas City so they moved back to the area after only 16 short months. Mark accepted a position with Missouri's chapter of The Nature Conservancy where he primarily did fundraising. His heart was in education, so he and Melanie purchased the Backyard Bird Center in 2002 where they adopted the theory to run their retail business like a nature center. Mark really meant it when he adopted the slogan "Come by and let's talk birds".