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.


Rochelle Breitenbach

Rochelle has been the vice-president for the last five years, and is a past president of Detroit Audubon. She has served as co-chair of the Annual Conservation Conference and Awards Committee, initiated and coordinated the annual Volunteer and Partners Appreciation Dinner, was the point person with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy partnership that produced the birding interpretive station at Gabriel Richard Park along the Riverwalk, and has been a major fundraiser for Detroit Audubon. She has also volunteered  with the Huron River Watershed Council and the Southeast Michigan  Land Conservancy.

Rebecca Minardi
Vice President

Rebecca Minardi is passionate about connecting young people with nature and fostering a love of birds at an early age. After receiving at MS in Community Sustainability from MSU, she and her family moved to New York City where she facilitated Free Forest School gatherings in Central Park. Since 2020, Rebecca has been a judge and mentor for the Young Birder of the Year program through the American Birding Association (ABA).  Rebecca contributes environmental articles and book reviews for ABA’s magazine, Birding, NYC Audubon’s Urban Audubon, and Detroit Audubon’s The Flyway (which she also helps edit) Rebecca is proud to be part of an organization at the forefront of environmental protection and stewardship in Southeast Michigan and has served on this board since 2015. She now resides in Peoria, Illinois and enjoys birding with her two children.

Tom McKarns
Treasurer & 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. Now rebranded as the International House of Ann Arbor, they provide housing for 45 international students and scholars in Ann Arbor. He also recently served six years as a trustee of the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum. He resides in Ann Arbor with his wife and family.

Sharon Crockett

Sharon Crockett is a Senior Business Development Consultant and Native American Project Manager with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Center – an extension of the US Department of Commerce located in Detroit and operated by the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council.  Prior to coming to Michigan, she served as the Director of Certification for the Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council. Ms. Crockett is also the owner of a small business, Designs by a Diva, and the previous host of the Date with a Diva Cooking show. Sharon divides her time between volunteering for Just Serve and organization committed to serving others and spending time with family.  Her hobbies include ballroom dancing, birdwatching, gardening and walking. Sharon’s education includes: University of Portland, BA; Portland State University Training and Development Master’s Program; State of Oregon Leadership Academy, University of Phoenix-MBA program; and the Ohio State University.


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 Audubonhas 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

James N. Bull
Director, Fund Development and Environmental Policy Coordinator, and Flyway Editor

Jim Bull holds a B.S. in Biology and Earth Science from Adrian College, a Master’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan. He has worked as a biologist or naturalist with several private nature and environmental education centers, the U.S. Forest Service (Kirtland’s Warbler naturalist), and the National Park Service. He served as Assistant Director of the Glen Helen Outdoor Education Center (Antioch University), and Executive Director of the Clinton River Watershed Council. Currently, he teaches environmental science, biology, geology, and nutrition at Wayne County Community College and Macomb Community College. He is a founding member of the Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance Board. He has served as a board member of several organizations, including the North American Association of Environmental Education, Association of Interpretive Naturalists (now N.I.A.), Friends of the Detroit River, Michigan Interfaith Power and Light, and the International Wildlife Refuge Alliance. He served three (nonconsecutive) terms as President of Detroit Audubon Society (7.5 years total). He has chaired the Memorial Day Weekend Nature Getaway, Fundraising Committee, Annual Conservation Conference and Awards Committee, and Downriver Program Committee. He also works as co-facilitator of the Rockwood Christmas Bird Count and as a field trip leader. 

Rosann Kovalcik

Rosann Kovalcik, a Grosse Pointe Woods resident, has been the owner of Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in that same city for thirty 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:

Gisela Lendle-King

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.

Amy Greene

Amy is the Nature Centers Director for the Detroit Zoological Society 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).

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.

Sara Srinivasan
Director & Chair of Education Committee

Sara Srinivasan has most recently worked as Manager of Conservation Planning at the Wildlife Habitat Council coordinating multiple-stakeholder habitat projects across the state of Michigan. She served as Detroit Audubon’s Program Coordinator from April through December 2016 and continues to help guide our education and outreach programs as a chair of our Education Committee and as a volunteer. Sara holds an M.S. in Environmental Behavior, Education & Communication from the University of Michigan School of Environment & Sustainability and a B.S. in Education from Wayne State University. She 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, an environmental educator at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, and interpreter at the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Environmental Interpretive Center. She is an effective networker and established several important partnerships that formed the foundation of many of our current programs. Follow her on Twitter here.

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
Director & Chair of Safe Passage Committee

Heidi is a researcher, consultant, and speaker on the topic of bird collisions and prevention. She began birding in 1998 but her passion for studying unnecessary causes of bird mortality began in 2003 with her first window collision monitoring/prevention project in Illinois. Since then, she has documented bird mortality of over 150 species, and donated specimens to research collections in 5 states. She currently holds salvage permits through the University of Michigan, and advises collision monitoring projects nationally as well as internationally. Prior to her time in Michigan, Heidi has served as a librarian, zookeeper, rehabber, wind farm monitor, bird guide, and nature blogger in Texas ( She tends the Facebook groups “Just Save Birds” and “Dead Birds (for Science!)”. Heidi serves as a coordinator as well as monitor with Washtenaw Safe Passage and resides in Ypsilanti, Michigan.