About Us

Eileen & John

Hi there! We have worked together on many projects including, for many years, conducting numerous nature tours and programs with Cornell Cooperative Extension on Long Island. We have started Alula Birding Tours in hopes of  sharing our love of the natural world with you! Please consider joining us  on one or many of the adventures we’re offering.

John points out a rare Kirtland’s Warbler to young birders during a trip to Mio, Michigan.

John Turner: For the past 40 years John has been an environmental educator and advocate. He has given hundreds of talks and programs, and led nature walks on a wide range of natural history and environmental topics for many organizations. John also likes to share his passion with the pen, having written articles that have appeared in numerous newsletters and magazines including Defenders, Birder’s World, Long Island Forum, Bird Watcher’s Digest, Networking Magazine, and The Conservationist. He is the author of a popular Long Island nature guide “Exploring the Other Island: A Seasonal Nature Guide to Long Island” (2nd Edition) and a children’s book “Waylon’s Wandering Waterdrop”.

Growing up in Smithtown, John developed his passion for birds and nature while exploring the many special parks situated in and near the Nissequogue River. “The river was as much my backyard as my backyard was. I loved exploring the streams, ponds, woodlands, fields and beaches that made up various parts of the river”.
“Forming this company with Eileen has become a dream come  true for me. We worked together extensively in the past when Eileen was an environmental educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension, putting together fun-filled nature adventures. It’s great we have the opportunity to join forces to do it again!”

Eileen Gerle birding the UP in Michigan.

Eileen Gerle: Eileen has been employed as a marine educator and naturalist for over twenty five years and has worked for various local organizations, including New York Sea Grant, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, Okeanos Ocean Research Foundation and the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation. In addition, Eileen was the Director of Education at Atlantis Marine World (now the Long Island Aquarium) before accepting the job of Environmental Educator/Ranger for the Town of Brookhaven at West Meadow Beach. She holds a master’s degree in marine environmental science from Stony Brook University. Eileen is now retired and living in Southwest Florida where the birding is phenomenal! 

Although Eileen has always been the “outdoorsy” type, she didn’t start birding until well into adulthood. While working for Cornell Extension, she was charged with conducting environmental programs for adults and with birding being such a popular pastime among adults, she found herself offering lots of bird walks. “I didn’t feel real comfortable leading bird programs at the time, so I would hire John to run them for me. You can’t spend too much time birding with John without getting caught up in his enthusiasm and catching the birding bug, so in no time I was hooked. The rest they say, is history. Now I am happiest when I’m birding, and I especially enjoy traveling to discover new birds. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with John and to help others experience that same joy.”

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