Meet the Team

A stellar team who truly care

JB Journeys is a Texas-based, woman-owned adventure travel agency

 

Photo:Volcanes National Park, El Salvador

Jean Kelly Warneke, CTC*

Jean suffers from wanderlust. Growing up her family moved all over the US with her dad's job.  She has visited all 50 states, and is now in the process of traveling to all the countries and territories in the world - current count is 66. She has worked in the travel industry since her college days and has done it all – retail travel agent, specialty tour manager, receptive operator, meeting planner, conventions, incentive programs - she even has been known to drive airport transfers!  Since working in nature tourism in the early 90's, she is dedicated to eco-tourism as a mutually beneficial business model.  Jean is an avid reader, loves to cook and entertain, practice yoga, hike, watch birds, and tries to do all of that when traveling!

Jean has a B.A. in German and Spanish and is a Certified Travel Counselor (CTC).  She has also earned the designation of Travel Specialist for Panama, Guatemala, and St. Lucia, and is a member of the National Geographic Travel Readers Panel.  Jean splits her year between Austin, Texas and Cape Cod.

 

Photo: on the Massai Mara, Kenya

Barbara Baggett, CTC*

At the age of 10, Barbara’s parents took her to South America. Another world filled with llamas, prop-planes, iguanas and native peoples, opened her senses and sparked a passion for new experiences. During the ensuing years she has hiked, scuba dived, birdwatched, safaried, and dined her way through more than 30 countries.  She finds great enjoyment in the diversity of the world's people and wild places.
Barbara has more than 20 years in the travel business, including work with specialty companies promoting diving, Mexico, Central America and bird watching.  She is a Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) as well as a Panama Travel Specialist and Africa Destination Specialist.  She has a BS in Forestry and Environmental Management and is a Licensed Massage Therapist.
Our planet's wealth of culture and unspoiled wild places are a siren's call to Barbara.  Her intention is to facilitate memorable vacations that will support and sustain the world's treasures, and to inspire people to enrich their lives by traveling with an open mind, a gentle heart, a light step and a curious nature.  Barbara is a native of Austin, and lives in Utopia, Texas. 

Photo:  Lamanai, Belize

Laurie Foss​

Laurie is our CBO (Chief BIrding Officer), having started birding in 1971 at the urging of her high school science teacher in Wisconsin.  Since moving to Austin in 2003 she has discovered the joys of Hill Country birds and birding.  A member of Travis Audubon and a board member of the Friends of Balcones Canyonlands NWR, as well as other local, state and national birding organizations, Laurie is active leading field trips both local and afar, teaching birding classes, traveling to see birds and working for habitat conservation. 

In addition to her guiding services for JB Journeys, Laurie works at Shield Ranch in the Texas Hill Country.  The ranch is under a conservation easement and hosts El Ranchito, a summer camp for economically disadvantaged youth in central Texas. JB Journeys makes a donation to conservation organizations from the proceeds of Laurie's trips.

What people say about Laurie: 

  • Can't say enough about what a wonderful leader Laurie is. She was so helpful, attentive to the group, even-keeled. 
  • Fantastic. Went out of her way to make each day fantastic.
  • She was great and towards the end like a hen worrying about her flock.
  • Laurie did a great job - very organized, patient, and pleasant.
  • Laurie was incredible in her knowledge of each bird 

 

Photo: along the ​Nevernais Canal in France

Steve Bartolomeo

Artist and web-designer and all around taskmaster 

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) Stephen Bartolomeo's life ought to be a model for us all. He has overcome numerous difficulties to arrive at his well-acclaimed status.  Born in the dusty and remote town of Lake Jackson, Texas, in 1957, he had a mediocre and uneventful childhood until the age of 6 when what can only be described as a bizarre and uneventful accident forever changed the course of his life.  One afternoon while walking his dog," Rocket”, he was grazed by a falling wheel from a DC-10 airliner.  He escaped unscathed and except for a small bump on his head and in severe aversion to burnt rubber. His dog Rocket, however, was not so lucky.... SunDogDesign.net

Steve is an amazing artist and has (obviously) a vivid imagination. 

 

Photo: at Isla Salamanca National Park, Colombia

Bob Warneke

Bob Warneke is a recovering lawyer and recently has taken on marketing efforts for JB Journeys.
Bob is the son of one of the few career military men who never took his family abroad.  It was only by the great fortune of marrying a travel agent that the world opened up for him.  When possible he accompanies Jean on her travels.  Hiking and birding are his favorites; indeed, the outdoors are where he wants to be. Bob considers himself a conservationist before all else.  He serves on the boards of the Latin American Committee of Travis Audubon Society, Texas Conservation Alliance, and of the Malcolm C. Damuth Foundation (which he also serves as president), a small but effective group who work to save habitat for endangered species.  He was also a long-term board member of the American Birding Association.  Bob has a B.A. and M.S. in biology, as well as a J.D. He splits his year between Austin, Texas and Cape Cod.

 

Photo: Magdalena Bay, Baja California, Mexico

Sandra Skrei

Sandra's love for learning about nature is surpassed only by her love for helping others learn, while working to conserve wildlife and habitat.  She fondly remembers her first time in Mexico (as a 3rd grader, on a trip to Nogales with her grandparents!), and has returned many times, including a college study abroad to Guadalajara, and while working for Zoo Conservation Outreach Group and National Audubon Society. She is a consultant to Grupo Ecologico Sierra Gorda in Queretaro, and is excited about working with JB Journeys to promote sea turtle and ocean conservation eco-tourism in Baja California. Sandra has led educational tours for teachers to Australia and Belize, and other trips to Costa Rica while working as the Curator of Education at the Gladys Porter Zoo.  She has also led trips to colonial Mexico and the Texas Coast for spring migration while running Naturally Curious, an on-line nature resource store.  She is in the process of developing an experiential tourism funding mechanism for independent environmental filmmakers, where you, the traveler, become a co-producer of a documentary. 

Sandra lives on High Hope Ranch in Glen Rose, TX.

On the Camino de Santiago Campistola in Spain

Pam Whitehair​​

Pam, like the others of JB Journeys, got into the travel business more than 25 years ago to satisfy her wanderlust.  She started in the eco-tourism field, then joined a travel company that specialized in Latin American tours, where she met Jean and Barbara.  During her travel career, she has worked in both the retail and corporate travel business, booking travel for high-tech executives throughout the world, including challenging assignments like booking oil crew rotations in and out of Mongolia.  Pam is a dedicated "walker", having completed 12 Avon breast cancer benefit walks, walked across Panama and in September of 2016, the 500 mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage through France and Spain.  She enjoys cooking, entertaining friends, yoga, photography and music. Pam lives in Austin, Texas. 

 

Eric grew up on the Upper Texas Coast where he was bitten by the birding bug in 1981 at the age of 13. Although detrimental to his teenage social life, his obsession with birds was spurred on by kind mentors and nourished by the excitement of growing up in one of North America’s top birding locations. While still in high school, Eric was leading field trips for the local bird club, compiling his local Christmas Bird Count, and operating the Texas Coast Rare Bird Alert (in the days of cassette tape answering machines).  Eric left the coast to attend the University of Texas and has lived in Austin ever since.  He has expanded his sights with birding trips in South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. In Austin, Eric leads field trips and teaches birding classes for Travis Audubon Society, and also serves on the board of directors. He works as a Senior Environmental Scientist for the City of Austin.

 

 

 

 

*What is a CTC?

A CTC is a Certified Travel Counselor, an individual who has completed a program of rigorous training and testing, and has at least five year’s professional travel experience.  CTCs must continue their professional education and remain current on industry trends in order to maintain their certification.  CTCs are the only group within the travel industry that meets such high standards…on average, they represent the industry’s highest degree of professionalism.