Gene Blacklock  (lower left) was born in Austin, Texas in 1942.  He grew up in Corpus  Christi, attending local schools (Del Mar College, Texas A&M Corpus Christi,  and Texas A&M Kingsville where he got his BA Degree in Education and Art).  Skilled in bird identification, taxidermy, and many other tools of the curatorial trade, he volunteered as a student, and later served as a staff member for the Welder Wildlife Foundation , where he was Curator of Natural History and Education Coordinator for more than 20 years.   In 1973, he met John Rappole when Rappole  was a Graduate Fellow at the Welder Wildlife Foundation.  In subsequent years, they developed the collaboration that resulted in Birds of the Texas Coastal Bend (1985and Birds of Texas: A Field Guide (1994), both published by Texas A&M University Press.  After retiring from Welder, Gene led bird tours, undertook ecological consultancies with Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and Ecoservices, and worked for several years with the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program .  A recipient of five conservation and education awards, Gene has taught bird identification classes under the auspices of the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History and other institutions for more than 30 years, and has led birding tours in the Texas Coastal Bend, Big Thicket, and Big Bend, the American Southwest, Trinidad, Costa Rica, NE Canada, Great Smokey Mountains, Maine, Mexico, southern California, central and southern Florida, and Alaska.