The Birds of Vermont Museum’s collection of carved birds comes to us first from the efforts of Bob Spear, woodcarver, naturalist, and founder. Among others, he trained Ingrid Riga Rhind to carve; she also has contributed to our permanent collections. Vermont carvers Dick Allen and Jim Mitchell, and long-time carving teacher David Tuttle also contributed to the collection.
Bob Spear, Founder
Bob’s passion was to use biologically accurate wood carvings to teach children and adults about the importance of birds and their role in the earth’s ecosystems. The Birds of Vermont Museum is the only teaching facility in New England that uses woodcarvings as an educational tool. Learners observe and participate, some even learning to carve as well.
Ingrid Riga Rhind
Ingrid Riga Rhind worked for the Birds of Vermont Museum for a decade. Impressed by Bob Spear’s skill, she began studying wood carving with him.
Her work has contributed to the collection in numerous ways. Ingrid created the Raptors Above exhibit that is suspended over the Nesting Birds exhibit on the second floor. She carved several birds for the Wetlands exhibits, as well as an Indigo Bunting for our 2009 raffle. She has contributed illustrations of birds for our newsletter.
Dick Allen has always been fascinated by birds and started carving about 25 years ago. He is self-taught through books and carving magazines, with “lots of trial and error”. His carvings have been given to friends and family; some have been donated to charity.
Dick was a member of our Board of Directors until 2017.
Jim Mitchell started carving in 1977. His father had a wood working shop and he grew up working with wood. Jim’s first job was a Draftsman, so creating patterns is no problem.
He carves birds of all types.
Dave Tuttle began whittling wooden neckerchief slides as a member of the Boy Scouts of America. Each month when a new neckerchief carving pattern was published in Boys Life, Dave took out his Boy Scout pocketknife and went to work.
Among other things, Dave now teaches one-day carving classes at the Museum.