Santiago’s deep appreciation for nature began in the Colombian jungles of his childhood, where he spent countless afternoons capturing snakes and exploring the wilderness. Years later, while observing seabirds and mammals on a California beach, memories of his childhood adventures stirred within him, sparking a newfound interest in birding.

In 1993, Santiago volunteered for the Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Beach Watch Program, where he encountered birds like the Spotted Towhee and the Black Phoebe, solidifying his passion for ornithology. Six years later, he obtained degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Environmental Studies with a focus on Environmental Education from Sonoma State University.

For the past 25 years, Santiago has been dedicated to providing outdoor environmental education to inner-city Los Angeles youth through the Mono Lake Committee in California’s Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. He leads birding tours for the committee’s annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua event and offers seminars on birding and photography.

Since late 2012, Santiago has been actively involved with the Eastern Sierra Audubon Society, serving as a Board Member and Presidente of the Chapter for the last five years. Additionally, he leads birding walks in the Mono Basin and Bishop areas for the group.

Santiago’s passion for birds and nature led him to establish Guadualito Birding Tours, where he provides birders and naturalists with the opportunity to explore the Colombian countryside that inspired his life’s work. He hopes to continue sharing his love for nature through these adventures indefinitely.

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