Meet the 2019 Board Nominees

Learn more about the 2019 Board Nominees by reading their bios below! Election will take place at the March Member Meeting– more details for that meeting coming soon.

Christy Esmahan, Ph.D.

Christy received a B.A. in Microbiology from Miami University, in Ohio, and then a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Universidad de León in Spain. She worked for 15 years as an educator at the high school and university level. Now she works as a biomedical/pharmaceutical translator (Spanish/English) and writes novels.  She has always been interested in birds, but has had more time to devote to birding since she became an empty nester.  She has birded in Thailand, Taiwan and Mexico. She volunteered with Amigos de las Americas in Houston for 7 years, and was a board member for 3 years.  Currently she is a board member of a non-profit press, Kallisto Gaia, here in Austin. She and her husband are avid birders and have been members of Travis Audubon since they moved to Austin a few years ago. Her involvement with TAS includes being a member of the Advocacy Committee for the last 2 years, taking several birding classes, including current enrollment in the Master Birder Class, and participating in the Ruffled Feathers book club, birdathons and numerous birding outings.  In 2017 she was selected by the National Audubon Society to participate in a 2-day advocacy workshop in Washington DC. She would love to become a board member of TAS.

Lino Mendiola III

Lino is an Austin attorney specializing in electric energy law and is a partner at Eversheds Sutherland. Lino graduated from Harvard Law School in 1994 and then clerked for the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. He has practiced law in a private law firm his entire career with the exception of a one-year sabbatical during which he served as the Reginald F. Lewis Fellow for Law Teaching at Harvard Law School. Lino is an experienced non-profit leader, having served on various boards. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the St. David’s Foundation and on the Board of Directors of Child, Inc., the Travis County Head Start provider. Lino’s term on the Child, Inc. Board will expire in May, 2019. Lino began birding in the spring of 2014 after participating in a Travis Audubon monthly bird walk at Hornsby Bend. Since then, Lino has birded around the country and has participated in a couple of international trips. Lino is a member of the TAS Field Trip Committee and is a graduate of the Master Birder program.

Julia Marsden

Julia Marsden grew up in West Texas (where she saw her first shore bird, an avocet, at the local sewage treatment facility). After lots of years away–in college in Missouri, and life in Maine, Puerto Rico, and Maryland–she returned to Texas in 1990.

Ms. Marsden spent eleven years on the state board of the League of Women Voters of Texas; nine of those were spent as Advocacy/Legislative Vice-President and State Water Chair. During this time she spent ten years as the public (citizen) member on the Lower Colorado River Regional Water Planning Group, appointed to the first state water planning group following the passage of SB1.

A biologist and retired secondary science teacher, she volunteers at the Blood and Tissue Center in Austin and serves as a docent/volunteer at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. She loves to travel and bird!

Dennis Palafox

Dennis has B.S. in Biology from the University of Texas and a M.S in Biology from Texas State University.  He has over 40 years of experience in the natural resources field. He worked for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and managed a statewide program for investigating fish kills and water pollution complaints.  He then worked for an environmental and engineering consulting firm specializing in wetland identification and delineations, Corps of Engineers permitting and ecological risk assessments.  He worked at LCRA performing environmental compliance work for electric transmission lines and siting and certifying electric transmission lines through the Public Utility Commission of Texas.  Currently, Dennis is an Environmental Specialist with the Texas Department of Transportation primarily involved with Section 7 consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Dennis developed his interest in birds as part of job duties.  But over time his interest in birds became more personal and evolved into a passionate hobby.  He has expanded his knowledge about birds by taking classes, attending workshops, and by participating in Breeding Bird Surveys and Christmas Bird Counts.  He completed the first TAS Master Birders program in 2016,  He has birded throughout Texas and the U.S. as well as Central America, South America, the Caribbean, and Europe.  Dennis has been leading field trips for TAS for about four years.  He’s currently the Chair of the Field Trip Committee.  For the past year Dennis has completed the final year of a previous board member’s term.  He looks forward to continue to learn the business aspects of non-governmental organization like TAS.

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