Debbie Foster, B.A., M.Ed., CPBC
Parrot course instructor
Growing up as the oldest of six children, I was always surround by siblings and lots of pets. My father was an avid animal lover and we always had a variety of dogs, cats, parrots, sometimes squirrels and rabbits and snakes, and, on one occasion, a raccoon. I come by my love of animals honestly!
Fast forward quite a few years. I earned a BA in Public Speaking from Georgia State University, followed by a M.Ed. I worked in the country's fastest growing school system as a speech pathologist, while teaching communications classes at night at Georgia State University. Over the years I've taught elementary, middle, high school and college, and done internships in clinical and institutional settings. I've worked in both the regular and special education fields.
Fast forward more and I now work as a bird trainer and parrot behavior consultant. To me, it's all about communication - whether you're dealing with humans or animals.
I've been fortunate enough to train under quite a few wonderful, gifted trainers and educators:
- Cockatoo Downs: Chris Shanks, Pam Clark, Sid Price, Barbara Heidenreich
- Natural Encounters, Inc.: Steve Martin, Dr. Susan Friedman, and NEI's staff
- Living and Learning with Parrots: Dr. Susan Friedman
- Living and Learning with Animals: Dr. Susan Friedman
- Chicken Training Camp: Bob Bailey, Parvene Farhoody
One of my most valuable experiences was hands-on training at Companion Parrots Re-homed, a local rescue, where I worked with birds and people, and developed several classes for people interested in bird care (Positive Reinforcement, Problem-Solving, and Foods and Your Flock).
I have volunteered for the last two years with Phoenix Landing (Asheville, NC) and work on the team to present STEP-UP (Skills to Empower People to Understand Parrots), and the advanced STEP-UP class. These are three day workshops which are divided between classroom lectures and discussions, and hands-on activities with a variety of birds.
I'm a Teaching Assistant in Training for Dr. Friedman's Living and Learning with Animals webinar.
I am a Certified Professional Bird Trainer - Knowledge-Assessed through the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators, and a Certified Parrot Behavior Consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.
I have a small business called Parrot Ps and Qs. I work with people experiencing behavioral issues with their parrots, and people bringing a new bird into their home who want to help the bird acclimate to the new environment.