Suzanne Blue is a self-described “river rat,” growing up on the Mississippi River in Red Wing. “Our family has always had boats and I was often in them,” she says. From that interest in the river, she became involved in river conservation issues, eventually serving for 10 years as a Commissioner to the Minnesota-Wisconsin Boundary Waters Commission. About a decade ago she attended a birding event in Lake City on Mothers Day and was amazed to notice for the first time the variety of birds present. She returned to her nearby cabin and discovered the same diversity of birds that she had never really seen before. The experience was an epiphany for her. Since then, she and her children have gone birding on Mother’s Day. Today Suzanne serves on the Boards of the National Eagle Center, the Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance, the State Historical Board and the Red Wing Area Fund, and is an annual participant in Red Wing’s Christmas Bird Count. She is President and Owner of Studiwheat, Inc. Favorite Bird: the common crow “because of their sense of humor, socializing, and hearing them ‘talk’ to each other,” she explains.
John Christian recently retired as the Assistant Regional Director for Migratory Birds and State Programs for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Minneapolis. He was responsible for migratory bird conservation activities in the Midwest region and managed the state fish and wildlife grant programs that provided over $250M to states in his region for restoration activities. In his 41 years with the Service, he worked in leadership positions in nearly every program. John was involved in a number of endangered species recovery efforts including the red wolf, Puerto Rican parrot, Florida panther, green pitcher plant, red cockated woodpecker and manatee. John worked with the State of Florida to initiate the Florida non-migratory whooping crane reintroduction. In 1999, the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership was formed under John’s leadership to reintroduce a migratory flock of whooping cranes to Eastern North America. John co-chaired that Partnership of federal, state and private NGOs and individuals.Favorite bird: Whooping crane
Joel Dunnette has been a leader of Zumbro Valley Audubon in Rochester since its formation 30 years ago. He is currently serving as president again, but has also been VP, newsletter editor, field trip chair, and prairie and outreach committees leader. Joel’s special interest is involving people with nature through interactions with birds, butterflies, and native plants, especially prairie plants. He leads the Project BirdSafe effort in Rochester, and is a leader in local prairie management and restoration. Joel retired in 2005 from IT analysis and middle management at a large institution, in part so that he could spend more time with nature-oriented activities. He has a BA in chemistry from Macalester College and a MS in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he first was exposed to prairie management. His goal in serving on the Audubon MN board is to continue to expand our connecting people with nature. Favorite bird: red-headed woodpecker
Paul Egeland became interested in birds at a young age while watching them at his bird feeder and in the prairies and ponds near his rural Cottonwood, MN home. The local Presbyterian minister wrote a column in the community newspaper each week about native birds and what he was seeing. He inspired Paul to look for the same birds. An Audubon bird book helped Paul with bird identification. Paul has been active in birding and environmental issues ever since. Receiving an MBA from the University of Minnesota, his career was in reinsurance, but he found time to serve on the Boards of the Sierra Club’s North Star Chapter, Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union, and the Minnesota Land Trust. He has also been active in The Nature Conservancy and remains an enthusiastic birder. Favorite birds: shorebirds and prairie birds
Rebecca Field is an active community volunteer, having served on the boards of directors of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, The Ripley Memorial Foundation (President), and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. She served for 18 years on the Institutional Review Board of Abbott-Northwestern Hospital (now Allina). Her greatest hobby interest is combining her love of nature with photography. In 2007 Rebecca had an exhibit of bird photography at The Minnetonka Center for the Arts featuring images of birds from Minnesota, Southern Africa, and St. Barthelemy in the French West Indies. She has been published in numerous publications, including “Birders World Magazine,” “Minnesota Monthly”, and “Photographer’s Forum.” Some of her photos are in Audubon Minnesota’s “Great River Birding Trail Guide.” Many of her photos appear on her web site. Favorite bird: wood thrush
William George has served as Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Honeywell and served in similar capacities with Simplex Time Recorder Company and Jostens, Inc. Bill is now in a private law practice. He has enjoyed birding since ninth grade when he became fascinated with Cape May warblers in the backyard of his New Brighton home. Since then he has seen 368 bird species in Minnesota and is President of the Minnesota Ornithologist Union. Favorite bird: Scarlet tanager
Jan Green has been involved with Audubon since 1960. She has served as chair of the Duluth Audubon chapter and was an Audubon National Board member in 1987-1990. Her conservation activities have focused on bird distribution, abundance and habitats with an emphasis on land use and northern forest policy. She has written several books including Minnesota Birds: When, Where, and How Many with R. B. Janssen; Birds of the Superior National Forest and Birds and Forests: A Management and Conservation Guide. Jan has served on many DNR advisory committees, especially for endangered species, forestry and Scientific and Natural Areas. For over 10 years she was a member of the Minnesota Forest Resources Council. Other board memberships include: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, MN chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union, Seventh American Forest Congress, and St. Louis County Planning Commission. Currently she is on the board of Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, which she helped establish in 1972 and the Town of Duluth Planning Commission. Favorite birds: wood warblers
Scott Lanyon (Board Chair) is Professor and Head of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, and was Director of the university’s James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History from 1995 to 2008. As the son of Wesley E. Lanyon (Curator of Birds at the American Museum of Natural History), Scott grew up watching and banding birds at AMNH’s Kalbfleisch Research Station where his father was director. Scott began his professional career at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History in 1985, beginning as Assistant Curator of Birds and assuming responsibilities as Curator of Birds from 1992 to 1995. Scott teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, and occasionally courses for K-12 teachers on evolution. His research focuses on behavioral and morphological evolution of blackbirds. Favorite bird: Yellow-headed blackbird
Gene Merriam is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and worked as a Certified Public Accountant. He was elected to the state senate in 1974 and served for 22 years until 1996. He served on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee all those years including six years as its chairman. He also served on the Legislative Committee for Minnesota’s Resources from 1980–1996. In 2003 Governor Pawlenty appointed Gene as Commissioner of the DNR, a position he held until he retired in 2007. Gene’s interest in birds was sparked by the white-throated sparrow’s song which he would hear on fishing trips up north. “Its song was so striking and alluring, so recognizable, it captivated me,” Gene remembers. He became curious as to what bird had such a melodious voice, so he purchased a bird recording tape, and began to study bird calls. From then on, his interest grew.
Cassandra (Cassy) Ordway has a degree in Wildlife Biology and minor in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont. She has worked with trumpeter swans at the Minnesota DNR and was a volunteer last year for the Wildlife Recovery Program. Her interest in education is reflected in her past work as Board Chair for the Minnesota Children’s Museum. She currently serves on the Board of the Minnesota Zoo and monitors a bluebird trail and its 31 nest boxes in Orono. One of her favorite bird memories is witnessing the sandhill crane spring migration around Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary in Nebraska. Favorite bird: Tree swallow
Ed Reilly is a Senior Field Application Engineer in the GPS business working for u-blox America Inc. for the past 10 years. He grew up in the Atlantic flyway and developed an interest in birds while exploring New York City's Central Park, Jamaica Bay and Prospect Park. Since moving to Minneapolis in 2007, Ed has recorded over 70 bird species in his urban backyard alone. Ed volunteers locally as an eastern bluebird monitor, recording data on 16 nest boxes. During the summer, Ed can be found on his sailboat enjoying the natural beauty – and eagles – of Lake Pepin. Favorite bird: American white pelican
Deborah Reynolds is President and CEO of DA Reynolds Group LLC, specializing in supply chain management. Before forming her own consulting group, Debbie was a Senior Vice President of Merchandise Planning for Marshall Fields. Debbie is a board member, and has been board chair, for Milkweed Editions, a literary non-profit press, and has served on the board of the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota. She is also a board member for the International Wolf Center. Favorite bird: Great horned owl
Michael Steffes is Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Minnesota and has numerous studies around the globe on juvenile diabetes. Mike became interested in birds when his daughter was an infant, holding her and looking out his back window at birds. Today he watches peregrine falcons that nest near his North Shore property on Lake Superior. Mike has made a study of black-throated blue warblers along the Lake Superior Trail, documenting larger than suspected numbers of the birds. Favorite bird: Black-throated blue warbler
Roby Thompson joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 1974. His current appointments include Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs, University of Minnesota Medical School and CEO, University of Minnesota Physicians, a multi-specialty group practice of over 650 physicians. He is a member of the Fairview Health Services Board of Directors and currently serves as chair of its finance committee and a member of the Minnesota Medical Foundation Board of Trustees and Chair of its Development Committee. Favorite bird: Baltimore oriole