Tour Leader and USA Office Manager
Jacob Roalef has spent his whole life living in the greater Dayton, Ohio, area. From a young age he has been fascinated with the outdoors and the creatures that inhabit it. First it was insects, and he spent a large amount of time in the backyard and at local parks “bug hunting”. He quickly grew to appreciate and love all animals, researching everything he could as he got older. This love of animals drove him to attend Kent State University in north-eastern Ohio, where he earned his B.S. in Zoology. It was during his time in college when Jacob discovered his love for birds and birding. As soon as he saw his first bird through binoculars he was hooked for life and hasn’t looked back since.
His passion for birds quickly escalated into an obsession as he was spending much more time studying field guides rather than textbooks. Every moment he wasn’t in class he was out in the field, hunting down his next new bird. Jacob is a quick learner, and after only five months he was leading folks around and explaining birds to them. During his first year of birding Jacob quickly zipped around the state of Ohio, recording 310 species. At the time he was the youngest person ever to see 300 species in Ohio. He didn’t slow down during his second year. Instead he turned his attention to the rest of the United States, where he saw over 600 species in the lower 48 states. He has birded extensively all over the USA, including Texas, Arizona, California, Maine, Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida. Since then he has done another Ohio big year, recording over 300 species again, one of only seven people to ever complete that feat more than once.
Jacob has an incredible drive to find all his targets but does it with a relaxed, stress-free vibe. He is always looking to have a fun time, and his great smile and goofy spirit are sure to make birding and traveling with Jacob a great time!
When he is not birding or studying he enjoys spending time watching sports (all sports, but especially tennis and basketball), relaxing with his family and girlfriend, and exploring other aspects of the natural world like plants and insects.