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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

Rochelle Breitenbach

Rochelle Breitenbach

President

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.

Amy Greene

Amy Greene

Vice President

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).

 

Tom McKarns

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. 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.

Jill Noll

Jill Noll

Secretary

Jill is the acting secretary for Detroit Audubon and joined the board in April of 2019. Inspired by her her outdoorsmen father and a 7th grade science teacher who taught a unit on birds, she has had a lifelong passion for birds and the natural world. She has shared this passion with her son and together they lead a young birders club through Detroit Audubon. She works as a Certified Nurse-Midwife helping women and families in the metro Detroit suburbs.

 

Directors

James N. Bull

James N. Bull

Director, Fund Development and Environmental Policy Coordinator, Field Trip Co-Coordinator, Flyway Editor, and Environmental Education Advisor

I am Fund Development and Environmental Policy Coordinator, Co-Coordinator of Field Trips, Flyway editor, and Environmental Education Adviser. I hold a B.S. in Biology and Earth Science from Adrian College, a Master’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University, and Ph.D.in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan. I have 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. 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, geology, and nutrition at Wayne County Community College and Macomb Community College. I am a founding; member of the Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance Board. I have 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. I served three (nonconsecutive) terms as President of Detroit Audubon Society (7.5 years total). 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 co-facilitator of the Rockwood Christmas Bird Count and as a field trip leader. I would like to see Detroit Audubon more effectively engage its 6,000+ members, reconstitute and reinvigorate our committees, have a more diverse membership and leadership commensurate with serving Southeast Michigan and its anchor city, Detroit, with its majority minority population, and be more effective and influential in environmental advocacy. 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?

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

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/

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.

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 received an MS in Community Sustainability at Michigan State University. I now live in New York City and volunteer with New York City Audubon but remain committed to the Detroit Audubon board and volunteering with The Flyway. I am proud to be part of an organization at the forefront of environmental protection and stewardship in Southeast Michigan.

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.

Sara Srinivasan

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

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 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 (bigbendnature.com). 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.

Terra Weiland

Terra Weiland

Director

Terra, our former Program Coordinator, graduated from Middlebury College with a degree in Conservation Biology, a minor in Elementary Education, and holds two teaching certificates.  At New York City Audubon she conducted the “Be A Good Egg” outreach program at public beaches about protecting shorebird nests.  She also was lead summer counselor for a Massachusetts Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary. She researched the biomechanics of dragonfly flight at Harvard’s field station, conducted research on bird safe glass at the Bronx Zoo, and has bird banding experience. We are so grateful to Terra for all her hard work and determination taking Detroit Audubon’s social media presence and education and outreach efforts to the next level. Terra is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture at University of Michigan.