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David Tarver: Teacher and Birder

January 24, 2008

Spending his entire career in the mostly indoor world of higher education has given Dr. David Tarver a particular appreciation of the great outdoors, most noticeable in his hobby of bird watching.

After starting out as a public school biology teacher, Tarver’s migratory path took him into college administration and finally to Angelo State University, where he teaches in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.  But, his love of all things feathered often takes him into the field to photograph and help band the local avian populations.

“We band them for scientific purposes and the data goes to a national databank,” Tarver said.  “We track things like migration routes, age, sex and population densities of birds.  So, the scientist part of me is still in there.”

An avid bird watcher and photographer since 1970, Tarver also participates in the annual summer banding of hummingbirds at the Hummer House in Christoval.  His picture of a painted bunting was used for a San Angelo Chamber of Commerce ad in a recent issue of Texas Monthly magazine.

When he comes inside, Tarver aims to help his flock of students spread their wings and fly.

“To help them learn about managing their way through college and give them potential for success is just exciting,” Tarver said.  “All the students are great to work with, both at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels.  They are so appreciative of somebody showing interest in them.”

His work with students has earned Tarver a 2005 “Rammy” award from the Student Government Association and a 2006 Distinguished Faculty Award from the Alumni Association.  He will also be keeping an eagle-eye on the Faculty Senate as president for 2007-08.

“It’s an opportunity to be the voice of the faculty to the administration,” Tarver said.  “So, if there are positive and/or challenging things that we need to dialogue with the administration about, it gives me a direct opportunity to be influential and I like that.”

Tarver earned his bachelor’s degree from Tarleton State, his master’s from UT-Permian Basin and his Ed.D. from the former East Texas State.  He and his wife, Debbie, have four “children.” They are two Yorkshire terriers, Harley and Hannah, and two Eastern box turtles, Digger and Denise.