Learn more about the 2021 Board Nominees by reading their bios below! Election will take place at the virtual May Member Meeting– more details for that meeting coming soon.
Karen is a native of Western Pennsylvania who migrated to Austin in 1971. A retired business lawyer, she has been active in the community and served in leadership positions on boards of a number of nonprofit organizations, including The SAFE Alliance, HAAM (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians), Trinity Episcopal School, and Trinity Center. Among other honors, she was selected Austin’s outstanding corporate and securities lawyer by the Austin Business Journal (2006), was named a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Central Texas (2008) and received the SAFE Alliance’s Guardian Award (2016). Karen became interested in birding in the 1980’s when she attended Fred Webster’s informal UT birding classes. Although her enthusiasm for birding vastly exceeds any talent for it, Karen is proud to have served on the Travis Audubon board for the past five years. Currently she serves as Board Vice President and as Chair of the Governance Committee. She has been nominated to serve an additional three-year term as director.
An avid birder ever since she took Travis Audubon’s Introduction to Birding course, Suzanne joined the TAS board in 2018. She is currently Executive Director of Keep Texas Beautiful, a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring and empowering Texans to keep their communities clean and beautiful. Suzanne has over 30 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and has held leadership positions at EarthShare of Texas, The Livestrong Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts and the University of Pennsylvania. She holds an AB from Vassar College and an MSEd from the University of Pennsylvania. In her spare time, Suzanne can be found birding in her local patch, the West Bouldin Creek Greenbelt.
Rich has a BS in Biology from the University of Kansas, MS in Zoology from North Dakota State University, and PhD in Wildlife Science from Texas Tech University. Over the last several decades, mostly employed with The Nature Conservancy, his work has focused on the conservation, ecology, and management of birds and their habitats in Texas, as well as land conservation in general. Rich has long been involved with recovery efforts for the Black-capped Vireo and Golden-cheeked Warbler and has also worked on grassland birds and on sky island bird communities in west Texas. Rich has been an avid (ok, occasionally obsessive) birder since 1995 (species: 540 TX, 697 US, 1,993 world) and is currently the eBird reviewer for Terrell and Williamson counties in Texas. Although birds are his foremost passion, Rich is interested in all biodiversity, is active on iNaturalist (moths and other insects are a new-found interest) and spends a fair bit of time and effort in propagating/landscaping with native plants in his NW Austin yard.
Virginia Rose began birding in 2003 after her sister, Cathryn Rose, a birder and former Tucson Audubon board member, encouraged her to try it. After hearing a lecture on the breeding success of the House Finch in Austin, sponsored by Travis Audubon, she was hooked! She took every TAS class and went on as many field trips as she could, working around her busy teaching career. Virginia remembers furiously grading in the back seat between birding stops on field trips!
As a child, Virginia was injured in a horseback riding accident and has continued her life as a paraplegic in a wheelchair. Still, the Travis Audubon teachers and field trip leaders took her everywhere the other walking birders went. When she could not join her fellow classmates in the field to get to the LeConte’s sparrow, the leader Byron Stone and classmates encircled the bird and moved it to within 6 feet of Virginia, who was sitting on a dirt road nearby. It was a lifer for her.
She joined the Travis Audubon Board of Directors in 2017 and founded Birdability in 2018. National Audubon found out about Virginia and Birdability soon after, and the rest is history! Travis Audubon supported her at every step and very recently became the Fiscal Sponsor and Founding Sponsor for Virginia’s new Texas Non-profit Corporation. Thank you, Travis Audubon!