Carl and Dori Helms are both natives of Pennsylvania, but their footprints are everywhere. Carl’s birding experience started as a teenager in Boy Scouts and summer camps. His degrees from Colorado and Harvard are in Zoology and Biology and much of his academic research was in ornithology. Carl is a professional birder. He knows birds from neb (beak) to tail and amazed me with his ear for bird calls when we first started birding together numerous years ago. He has banded birds in New England, Pennsylvania and Georgia as well as having observed and photographed them on several continents. His professorial career includes professor positions at Bucknell, University of Georgia and Clemson. He retired in 1998.
Dori’s interest in bird’s was fostered by a father who was determined that his daughter would be knowledgeable about nature and the wildlife around her. Her academic studies began at Bucknell and, after graduating, she taught high school biology. She earned her subsequent doctorate in Zoology at the University of Georgia. Her teaching career at Clemson included becoming Chair of the Biology Program, followed by being designated as Associate Dean of the College of Sciences. In 2001 she was appointed Provost, a position from which she retired in 2013. Dori and Carl were married in 1970, have two children and one grandchild.
Their Seabrook Island experience began in 1994 with the purchase of a Creek Watch Villa. The view across Cap’n Sams Creek, with an expansive marsh, the crab dock, and out to the ocean beyond, was perfect for these birders. Carl has a long association with elements of the Island’s Environmental Committee and initiated the Birds of Seabrook portion of the SIPOA website. When carrying his scope for his walks on North Beach became burdensome, Carl reconfigured a simple golf pull cart, with a tube of PVC pipe in which to slide the scope and tripod. Since moving from Lake Hartwell and becoming local residents (Creek Watch and Bishop Gadsden), both Carl and Dori have become members of the Seabrook Island Birders. Dori currently serves as Program Chair. Carl’s physical condition now restricts his opportunity to bird in the field to using a scooter or golf cart, but this has not affected his enthusiasm for watching birds from his deck or helping others to better enjoy our feathered friends. Dori’s retirement includes being on several Boards, including the Board of Trustees at South Carolina State University.