Schedule & Speakers 

Ocelot Festival 2021


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Ocelots Part 1. Natural History

Hilary Swarts


Ocelots Part 2. Conservation Challenges 

Hilary Swarts

Ocelots Part 3. Techniques for Studying Ocelots in the Field

Hilary Swarts

Ask an Ocelot Biologist

Nicole Ekstrom and Hilary Swarts

Meet Sihil the Ocelot

Alicia Sampson and Colleen Nissen

Lancelot the Ocelot Reading

David Book

How Zoos are Helping to Conserve the Wild Texas Ocelot

Bill Swanson

A Day in the Life: Ocelot Research at Laguna Atascosa

Sharon Wilcox

Ocelot Face Painting

Wanda Baird

Ocelot Translocation

Mitch Sternberg

A Growing Refuge 

Yvette Truitt-Ortiz & Chris Quezada

How to Draw an Ocelot

Wendy Hauschildt


How to Draw an Ocelot, Step by Step

Cecilia Sierra 

Habitat for Ocelots

Chris Quezada

How You Can Help

Sharon Wilcox

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Hilary Swarts

Ocelot Biologist, USFWS

Dr. Hilary Swarts is the wildlife biologist at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife and has been working to conserve and study ocelots for the past 7 years.  

Mitch Sternberg

Zone Biologist, USFWS

Mitch Sternberg is the zone biologist for the South Texas Gulf Coast region of USFWS. Mitch's current projects include assisting in maintaining long-term ocelot population monitoring projects in South Texas and  Tamaulipas and Queretaro, Mexico.​

David Book

Historian, Educator and Laguna Atascosa Volunteer

David Book is the author of "Lancelot the Ocelot" and the newly released "Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge: A Place Like No Other." He and his partner in crime, Marianne, have been tour leaders and education volunteers at Laguna Atascosa since 2015.

Colleen Nissen

Senior Cat Ambassador Trainer, Cincinnati Zoo 

Coleen has spent the past 8 years at the Cincinnati Zoo’s Cat Ambassador Program as an Animal Trainer. She has spent her career cultivating experience with ambassador animals of all taxa, but fell in love with ocelots when she was the primary trainer for Jade at the Palm Beach Zoo, starting in 2010. She has had the privilege of working with 3 ambassador ocelots, traveling to the Texas Ocelot Festival for outreach a total of 4 years, and has cemented her love for the species with three different ocelot tattoos.
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Alicia Sampson

Cat Ambassador  Lead Keeper, Cincinnati Zoo

Alicia has worked at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden for 17 years in the Cat Ambassador Program. Through her time in the cat show, she has gained experience working with multiple different species of animals. Cheetahs are the main focus animal, however they have ocelots, fishing cats, red river hog, cape porcupine, warthog, etc. Her job involves sharing the animals she works with with the world and she couldn’t think of a better job to be able to share her knowledge and love for the animals.

Sharon Wilcox

Texas Representative, Defenders of Wildlife

Dr. Sharon Wilcox is the Texas Representative at Defenders of Wildlife, a national wildlife conservation organization. Sharon has also served as a member of the board of directors for FLANWR since 2014.

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Bill Swanson

Director of Animal Research, Cincinnati Zoo 

Over the past three decades, Dr. Swanson's research efforts have focused primarily on investigating the reproductive biology of domestic cats and endangered small-sized wild cat species to improve their breeding management and conservation.  
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Cecilia Sierra


Cecilia Sierra is an artist from Brownsville, Texas whose artwork is inspired by the native animals and habitats located in deep south Texas. Her artistic craft varies from the techniques of drawing, painting, and various printmaking forms with the use of bright colors and patterns. To see more of her artwork and current projects visit her Instagram @la_sierra_arte and or Etsy shop LaSierraArte.
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Wendy Hauschildt


Artist Wendy Hauschildt works out of her studio in Artsea Gallery & Goods in Port Isabel.

Nicole Ekstrom

President of Friends of Laguna Atascosa, Environmental Educator 

Nicole has been the President of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge for 5 years and runs her own Environmental Consulting Agency, Laguna Madre Environmental Consulting.  
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Yvette Truitt-Ortiz

Senior Realty Specialist, USFWS

Yvette works with refuges and partners to increase conservation areas throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Nevada, and New Mexico. Yvette is currently based in Albuquerque, NM. 
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Wanda Baird

Laguna Atascosa Volunteer

Wanda and her husband, Dave, are volunteers for USFWS across refuges in the country including Laguna Atascosa NWR. 
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Christopher Quezada

Park Ranger, USFWS

Chris manages Visitor Services at Laguna Atascosa and works with the public to create advocacy and awareness of the national wildlife refuge system. 
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Partners and Sponsoring Organizations

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