The book, The Otter Spirit
The book, Weathered Wood
The book, Conversation with a Beaver
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About Judith K. Berg
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About the Author and Artist

Judith K. Berg

Emerging from a traumatic period in her childhood, Judith K. Berg vowed to invest her life in making a contribution. She didn’t know how that would manifest itself until a university professor invited Judy to conduct observations as part of a study on African elephant behavior in an atypical captive environment. She knew then that her contribution would be towards the preservation of endangered species of the world. Her graduate research on elephant vocalizations and associated behaviors quantified for the first time that elephants communicate with low-frequency sounds that are known to be below the range of human hearing and resulted in a landmark publication on the subject.

Armed with her graduate degree, Judy became a Research Associate at the San Diego Wild Animal Park (now renamed the San Diego Zoo Safari Park). After completing ten years’ research on African elephants, she directed her behavioral studies to endangered Japanese serow, Chinese goral, okapi, and barasingha deer. Concurrent with her research, she also participated actively in local and regional nature conservation issues.

When Judy relocated to Colorado, she was determined that she would conduct the final project of her career on an endangered species in the wild. With encouragement from a number of wildlife professionals, Judy chose the state-endangered North American River Otter on the Colorado River in Rocky Mountain National Park and surrounds. Joining the river otter in her research was the American Beaver. The many hours spent in this spectacular environment connected Judy with Native American spirituality and even closer to the wonders of Mother Nature and her children.

From every research project that Judy conducted emerged publications in the scientific and popular literature, as well as presentations to international professional and secular audiences. Although she fulfilled her life’s goal, her personal drive and commitment led her to write The Otter Spirit. This was followed later by the fact-filled journey Conversation with a Beaver.

Many ideas for the short stories contained in Weathered Wood materialized during the long hours spent performing her research alone with the natural world.


Following the publication of Conversation with a Beaver, Judy turned to oil painting. While she dabbled in watercolors through the years, oils became her passion. Judy's artworks always contain an element of the natural world, hopefully evoking an appreciation for Nature in their viewers. Judy's style is distinctly her own brand of impressionism, strongly influenced and inspired by Vincent van Gogh. Visit her art gallery - art to evoke an appreciation of Nature - to see for yourself.

Judy, her husband David, and their newest special companion Millie (following Rusty's passing in December, 2011 and Honeybun's in September, 2013) are currently enjoying their little sanctuary for wildlife and continuing to contribute to the world of Nature in Eugene, Oregon.

Also by Judith K. Berg:

"North American River Otter, Lontra Canadensis," in The Wetland Word, Willamette Resources and Education Network (WREN), Eugene OR (2011)


Final Report of the Mammal Survey on Willow Creek Preserve, The Nature Conservancy, Eugene OR (2010)


“River Clowns Entertain and Maintain Healthy Habitats,” in The Wetland Word, Willamette Resources and Education Network (WREN), Eugene OR (2006)


“Diet and Feeding Behavior of the North American River Otter”, in IUCN Otter Action Plan, IUCN Otter Special Interest Group, Hankensbüttel (2002)


"The Diet of Lutra Canadensis in the Upper Colorado River System” in Otter Conservation – An Example for a Sustainable Use of Wetlands, Dulfer, R., Conroy, J., Nel, J., Gutleb, A.C. (eds.), Trebon, Czech Republic (2002)


“North American River Otter Diet”, in River Otter Journal, Vol. IX No. 2, River Otter Alliance, Denver, CO (2000)


Final Report of River Otter Research on the Upper Colorado River Basin in and adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Lake, CO (1999)


“Otter Slides”, in River Otter Journal, Vol. VIII No. 2, River Otter Alliance, Denver, CO (1999)


“Research Summary”, in River Otter Journal, Vol. VII No. 2, River Otter Alliance, Denver, CO (1998)


“Tracking Otters”, in River Otter Journal, Vol. V No. 1, River Otter Alliance, Denver, CO (1996)


“River Otter Population in and Adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park ”, presented to The River Otter Symposium, The Wildlife Society, Albuquerque , N.M. (1995)


“Behavior and Space Utilization of Okapi in a Zoological Park”, in Zoological Garten, 62, pp. 1 - 22 (1992)

“Nose-up Display in the Goral (Nemorhaedus goral)”, in Zoological Garten, 60, pp. 1 - 8 (1990)


“Animal of Mystery: the Okapi”, in ZooNooZ, Vol. LXII, No. 9, pp. 4 - 10 (1989) (with Barbara Schwankl)


Behavior of the Japanese serow (Capricornis crispus) at the San Diego Wild Animal Park”, in The Biology and Management of Capricornis and Related Mountain Antelopes, H. Soma (ed.), Croom Helm, London, pp. 165 - 181 (1987)


“Developmental Behavior of Three African Elephant Calves (Loxodonta africana) in Captivity”, in Zoological Garten, 57, pp. 171 - 186 (1987) 2/3


"Report on the Behavioral Development of Three Captive Born African Elephant Calves" in Elephant, 2, 2, pp 39 - 43 (1986)


“Vocalizations and Associated Behaviors of the African Elephant in Captivity”, in Zeitschrift fur Tierpsychologie, 63, pp. 63 - 79 (1983)


Vocalizations and Associated Behaviors of the African Elephant in Captivity, Master's Thesis, California State University, Dominquez Hills, CA (1981)


“Behavior of Female African Elephants in Captivity”, in Applied Animal Ethology, 6, pp. 267-276 (1980) (with Jack Adams)


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