Board of Directors

 

Detroit Audubon is supported by a dedicated Board of Directors who are responsible for strategically advancing the shared goals and visions of Detroit Audubon and its members. Our board members are a diverse group of experienced professionals and community organizers whose guidance drives Detroit Audubon forward. We are grateful for their experience and expertise related to conservation management, non-profit development, project management, business, law, community engagement, communications, and more. See below for our current members.

Officers

James N. Bull

James N. Bull

President & Chair of the Executive Committee and Co-Chair of the Annual Symposium and Field Trip Committees

I hold a B.S. in Biology and Earth Science, a Master’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife, and Ph.D.in Natural Resources. I have worked as a biologist or naturalist with several private nature centers, the U.S. Forest Service (Kirtland’s Warbler naturalist), and the National Park Service. I served as Assistant Director of the Glen Helen Outdoor Education Center (Antioch University), and Executive Director of the Clinton River Watershed Council. Currently, I teach environmental science, biology, and nutrition at Wayne County Community College and Macomb Community College. I have served as a board member of several organizations, including the North American Association of Environmental Education, Friends of the Detroit River, and the International Wildlife Refuge Alliance. I am serving my third (nonconsecutive) term as President of Detroit Audubon Society. I have chaired the Memorial Day Weekend Nature Getaway, Fundraising Committee, Annual Conservation Conference and Awards Committee, and Downriver Program Committee. I also work as facilitator of the Rockwood Christmas Bird Count and field trip leader. I would like to see Detroit Audubon more effectively engage its 6,000+ members, reconstitute and reinvigorate our committees, and be more effective and influential in environmental advocacy. We have hired a Program Coordinator and Research Coordinator/Office Administrator with the last two years. I can feel the momentum building and hope you will help us move Detroit Audubon forward. I think we are getting ready to soar, don’t you?

Rochelle Breitenbach

Rochelle Breitenbach

Vice President & Co-Chair of Annual Symposium Committee

Bio coming soon!

Connie Perrine

Connie Perrine

Treasurer

Connie has been the office manager/executive assistant/bookkeeper at Detroit United Methodist Union for 13 years. At South Rockwood United Methodist Church, she volunteers as co-leader and co-founder of People of Faith monthly mission group for community activities, Christian Education Committee Chair, Vacation Bible School Director, Sunday School teacher, and Building Committee member. She is a novice birder, loves opera, classical & jazz music, art, architecture, travel, and wine.

Joseph Rashid

Joseph Rashid

Secretary & Chair of Fundraising and Development Committee and Co-Chair of the Field Trip Committee

Joseph (Joe) is a lifelong Detroiter whose family has inspired him to stand up for the city’s neighborhoods and fight for its sustainability. A graduate of Marygrove College, Joe served in the AmeriCorps VISTA program to organize parents at Southwest Detroit Schools, empowering them to demand that abandoned homes be demolished and advocate for keeping neighborhood schools open. In his next position, Joe focused on workforce development recruiting Detroiters into the Detroit GreenWorks Solutions Program. Joe assisted Warm Training Center (now EcoWorks) in the creation of Reclaim Detroit and its pioneering of the deconstruction industry in Detroit; in 2012, taking houses apart and reusing the materials rather than bulldozing and taking all the refuse to landfills. Joe went on to be Outreach Director for the Brightmoor Alliance. In this position, Joe lead the CDAD Strategic Planning Process. Residents have coined “Restore the ‘Moor,” for this process that empowers residents to plan their community and develop ideas, from ecotourism to international development, while utilizing the local food system to make their neighborhood more self-sufficient.  Joe recently accepted a new position as Detroit Action Strategist with crowd-funder IOBY.  Joe also established and continues to facilitate the Detroit Parks Coalition, a conglomeration of different Detroit-based community and environmental groups that work together to advocate for resources lacking in the City of Detroit’s parks. Members also provide solutions and technical assistance to the parks in need. Working to stabilize the city is something Joe incorporates into all facets of his life. Joe sees his work more as a lifestyle than a career path. Since Joe was a child, he has always been an avid lover of nature. Bird watching has always been of particular interest. Pt. Pelee, Belle Isle, Eliza Howell, and Lake Erie Metro Park are among his favorite spots to go birding. Joe chairs our Field Trip Committee and would like to see field trips on bikes and kayaks to connect birding to those recreational communities. Here’s more about him:  http://www.uixdetroit.com/people/joerashid.aspx

Directors

Diane Cheklich

Diane Cheklich

Director & Chair of Conservation Committee

Diane is a film producer who lives in Detroit. She enjoys birding with Detroit Audubon and regularly goes birdwatching on Belle Isle. An ardent environmentalist, she believes it’s critical to protect flyways and habitat and is active in promoting solar energy in the Detroit area.  She chairs our Conservation Committee which has done great things in the few months she has been at the helm of this long dormant committee.  They are working in partnership with Urban Neighborhood Initiatives (UNI) to turn vacant lots into bird habitat including writing a section of a handbook of gardening devoted to bird habitat creation and native plants, as well as partnering on workshops.  Under her guidance, Detroit Aubudon has taken stand against car races on Belle Isle, and has spoken at public hearings on leaving grasslands unmowed on Belle Isle.  She spent a day filming Detroit Audubon research volunteer, Erin Rowan, doing her population surveys by boat and banding Black Tern chicks and adults. For more info see: cheklich.com, http://www.kresgeartsindetroit.org/portfolio-posts/diane-cheklich, http://www.artxdetroit.com/art-x-detroit-2015/artists/diane-cheklich/, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1282690/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVc-hc34HWA, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7uCm7BiTjg

Sara (Cole) Srinivasan

Sara (Cole) Srinivasan

Director & Chair of Education and Young Birders Committees

Detroit Audubon’s Program Coordinator from April through mid-December 2015, Sara stepped down from that position to be a full-time mother to her baby boy that was brought into the world in early January of 2016. She continues to help guide our education and outreach programs as Chair of our Education & Communication Committee and as a volunteer. Sara holds a master’s degree in Environmental Behavior, Education & Communication from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment, where she later served as a Communications Associate. She also holds a B.S. in Science Education from Wayne State University and is certified to teach several environmental education programs including Flying Wild, Project Wild, Project Wild Aquatic, Project Learning Tree, and Project WET. Sara has worked as a bird bander at Rouge River Bird Observatory and an environmental educator at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, and U of M Dearborn’s Environmental Interpretive Center. You can read about her many accomplishments as our Program Coordinator in the Flyway. She has been an effective networker and established several important partnerships that formed the foundation of many of our current programs. She is a strong proponent of citizen science and wants to find more ways to engage our members in that pursuit. More information can be found at http://saracole.weebly.com

Amy Greene

Amy Greene

Director

Amy is the Detroit Zoo Curator of Education and has overseen programming at the Belle Isle Nature Center since October, 2015. Previously she was a Metro-Detroit science teacher focused on gardening clubs, recycling clubs, STEM programs, and connecting city children with nature.  She has a B.S in Education (Wayne State) and a Master’s in Instructional Technology (Saginaw Valley State University).

 

Roshanda Jones

Director

Roshanda teaches at Ronald Brown Academy, a Detroit Public School which is an active partner with Detroit Audubon’s Education and Outings Committees. She is an enthusiastic birder who is passionate about introducing young people to birding and environmental education generally.  She has been one of the leaders of annual birding field trips for her school to Magee Marsh.  She writes: “I have been teaching with Detroit Public Schools Community District for 16 years in general education and special education classrooms. I would really like to become a part of the Detroit Audubon board to continue to broaden and spread my passion for birds.”

Rosann Kovalcik

Rosann Kovalcik

Director

Rosann Kovalcik, a Grosse Pointe Woods resident, has been the owner of Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in that same city for twenty-four years. During that time, Rosann has been “Bringing People and Nature Together” in a variety of ways, leading bird walks at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House and at Elmwood Cemetery and donating bird feeding supplies to local nature centers. She uses her knowledge as a Master Gardener to give educational presentations aimed at creating bird-friendly spaces through the use of native plants. Rosann also serves on the Board of Michigan Audubon. Aside from birding and gardening, Rosann enjoys camping, kayaking and spending time with her family. For more information: https://grossepointewoods.wbu.com/

Jamie Lanier

Jamie Lanier

Director

Jamie is an avid wildlife enthusiast and a passionate advocate for outdoor education. After receiving a B.S. in Wildlife Science from Purdue University, she began a career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as a Park Ranger specializing in environmental education and natural resource interpretation. She has worked at refuges in Kansas, Utah, Colorado, Georgia, and most recently, the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge here in southeast Michigan. A self-proclaimed city kid, Jamie is devoted to all aspects of diversity and inclusion. Her work as a member of the conservation community helped to kindle her enthusiasm for working to ensure youth from all cultural backgrounds receive opportunities to experience nature and connect with the great outdoors. She belongs to a number of social justice organizations and currently serves on the board of the Rainbow Alliance, Inc. working to provide families affected by HIV/AIDs with an annual camp retreat.  Today, Jamie works as a member of the Public Affairs team for the Veterans Health Administration in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She specializes in community relations, graphic design, web development, and event planning. Outside of the office, she enjoys spending her free time with her visually impaired Chiweenie and exploring nature on foot and by kayak.

Gisela Lendle-King

Gisela Lendle-King

Director

Gisela is a retired hospital lab technician and serves as Detroit Audubon’s representative on the Seven Ponds Nature Center Board of Directors, and previously represented Detroit Audubon on the Michigan Environmental Council Board of Directors.  In the past she served as Detroit Audubon’s Conservation Chairperson.  She is passionate about environmental policy and is very active in land preservation issues. She was given the volunteer of the year award by Oakland County Parks in 2015.

April McCray

April McCray

Director

April has worked in Higher Education for many years. While attending Central Michigan University she served as a Resident Advisor for the Division of Resident Life. After College, she continued working in Higher Education at Wayne County Community College District as a Student Services Specialist. In 2002 she then joined the Student Services Academic Advising Team immersing herself in the Wayne County Community. After several years working as an Academic Advisor, April then transitioned into the role of Executive Dean of Instructional Support for Educational Affairs working with Faculty. Through her work experience at Wayne County Community College District, April has developed a passion for advising students, assisting them in reaching their personal, career, and educational goals. She has welcomed the opportunity to continue her work with the community, faculty and students at WCCCD and was recently promoted to Eastern Campus Vice President of Student Services/ Enrollment Management at Wayne County Community College District.  April writes: “Because of these experiences and skills I believe that I can help Detroit Audubon connect with students and faculty in higher education. I look forward to continuing your mission to promote awareness and protection of the environment through education.”

Tom McKarns

Tom McKarns

Director & Chair of Finance Committee

Tom is the President of ECO PHYSICS, INC., US distributor for ECO PHYSICS AG, a Swiss manufacturer of gas measurement instruments for air pollution and atmospheric research, and pulmonary function research. He is a graduate of Miami University with a degree in zoology and chemistry. Tom is active in his local community and loves the outdoors and nature. His family has enjoyed the annual DAS Memorial Day “Bird Camp” weekend on Loon Lake for the past ten years. Tom is the Chair of Detroit Audubon’s Finance Committee. He has served on the Leslie Science Center board of directors, an Ann Arbor non-profit nature center that provides environmental education programming for youth and the general public. He also served three years on the board of the Ecumenical Campus and International Residence Center (ECIR) including one year as president. The Ecumenical Center & International Residence provides housing for 45 international students and scholars in Ann Arbor. He currently serves as a trustee (board member) of the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum, a very well run and successful organization. He resides in Ann Arbor with his wife and family.

Rebecca Minardi

Rebecca Minardi

Director

I’ve always loved spending time outside, but it wasn’t until 2012 that I became a birder. That morning I was running and saw what I learned later was a Barred Owl. I went home and looked through an old bird book I happened to have. Luckily the owl was easy to identify. The joy of spotting something in the wild and then being able to name it was electrifying, and I was hooked. Through my birding, I became more passionate about conservation. Because of this, I decided to go back to school and am now a PhD student in Community Sustainability at Michigan State University. I am currently researching the impact of dam construction on communities and the environment in Northeast Brazil.  Though school keeps me busy, I remain an avid birder and committed to the Detroit Audubon board and the Conservation Committee. I am proud to be part of an organization at the forefront of environmental protection and stewardship in Southeast Michigan.

Stephen Perrine

Stephen Perrine

Director

Stephen was born in Omer, Michigan and raised in Rose City and Coldwater, Michigan. “My father was a state dairy inspector, and many of my relatives are/were farmers, so I have a love of the land and the country. I have a B.S. degree from Houghton College (New York); an M. Div. from Wesley Theological Seminary; an MSW from Wayne State University; and I have taken a couple of Ph.D. classes in anthropology at Wayne State University. I am married to Connie Perrine; I have three daughters and one son (all adults); and two grandsons. I recently retired from St. John Macomb Hospital but continue to serve as the pastor of South Rockwood United Methodist Church. I consider myself a novice birder but enjoy the outdoors, photography and am trying to get more educated about bird identification.”

Joan Seymour

Director

Joan is a Southfield City Councilwoman and long-time activist on environmental issues, especially protecting natural areas from destruction.

Jack Smiley

Jack Smiley

Director & Chair of Sanctuary Committee

Jack has served on the Detroit Audubon Board for over 20 years—two as President—and is Chair of the Sanctuary Committee. He founded the Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy and has worked to protect over 4,000 acres in southeast Michigan. Jack has also been active in several other environmental organizations, including Holliday Nature Preserve Association and Friends of the Rouge. In the summer of 2015 a new Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy Preserve was named in his honor.

Eric Stempien

Eric Stempien

Director & Legal Counsel

Eric first became acquainted with Detroit Audubon through his daughter, Bridget who was the 2014 winner of Detroit Audubon’s Young Birder’s Scholarship.  He is a practicing attorney and is on the board of Schoolcraft College.

Heidi Trudell

Heidi Trudell

Director & Chair of Safe Passage Great Lakes Committee

Heidi says that she is a mild-mannered tech at an automotive startup who moonlights as a bird window collision monitor. She began birding in 1998 but her passion for preserving dead birds began in 2003. Since then, her freezer list has spanned three states and 500+ birds of over 130 species donated to UC Santa Cruz, Texas A&M University, and the University of Michigan. Heidi has been a librarian, zookeeper, rehabber, wind farm monitor, bird guide, and nature blogger in Texas (bigbendnature.com). She tends the Facebook groups “Dead Birds (for Science!)” and “The Auk-ward”. Heidi serves as a coordinator as well as monitor with Washtenaw Safe Passage and has recently agreed to chair Detroit Audubon’s Safe Passage Committee.  She resides in Ypsilanti, Michigan.