Meet Our Officers


Larry Zoller

Contact Larry

Larry was science and environmental educator for 40 years before retirement.  He likes to bird watch frequently at local birding hot spots. He believes that Wake Audubon Society has a positive impact on environmental advocacy and education in Wake County and North Carolina State.

Jeff Beane
Vice President
Contact Jeff
Jeff has served on Wake Audubon’s board since 1995, and as Vice-President since 1996. He is Herpetology Collections Manager at the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences, where he has been employed since 1985. A native of Asheboro, Jeff has had a life-long interest in all aspects of natural history, ecology, and conservation, and has published many popular and scientific articles on natural history in the Southeast. He is also active in several other organizations, including the North Carolina Herpetological Society, North Carolina Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, and the Sandhills Natural History Society.





Gerry Luginbuhl

Gerry is a past president of Wake Audubon. She continues to be active with many Audubon projects and enjoys birding and hiking.

John Gerwin
Contact John
John serves as Research Scientist and Curator of Birds at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, where he has worked for 25 years. He does research on several bird species in North Carolina, South Carolina and Nicaragua. He enjoys giving public programs to widely diverse audiences, from 2nd graders to senior citizens. He loves to garden for and photograph butterflies. He speaks fluent Spanish.

Kathy Lagana
Assistant Treasurer
Kathy is an Accountant and Legacy Analyst for the NC Office of State Controller. She began assisting John when he took over as Treasurer in 2008. She continues to assist John when he has questions about tax filings, proper documentations, or “Hey, what’s for dinner?”

Rick LaRose

Rick LaRose

Immediate Past President

 A longtime National Wildlife Federation-certified habitat steward, Rick brings his personal love and respect for nature and professional skill in brand strategy and experience design in service to Wake Audubon, with a current focus on our brand identity and web presence.

Meet The Board


Colleen Bockhahn
Colleen works for Wake County Parks, Recreation, and Open Space as the Assistant Park Manager of Programs at Lake Crabtree County Park.  Her work includes creating and presenting environmental education programs and events for all ages and managing invasive species and other natural resource issues.  Her two favorite things in life are travel and nature, and she enjoys hiking, birding, camping and nature exploration.

John Connors

John has served two terms as President and been an active Board member since 1976. He recently retired from a career as a nature educator, and continues to lead hikes and presentations, including his annual woodcock walk. John compiles the chapter’s Christmas and Spring Bird Counts, and serves as the chapter’s rep on the WakeNature Preserve steering committee. He’s married to Mary Beth Tobin, with 3 children and 3 grandchildren.


Jean Ells

Jean recently retired after 30 years as a Librarian.  She is thrilled to have plenty of time now for birding, wildflowers, reading and baking.


Michael Emberson

Michael is responsible for compiling the monthly e-newsletter. He loves books and the outdoors. His hobbies include exploring how cultural representations of avifauna in art, literature, folklore, etc. can be used as a gateway for attracting more people to birding and conservation.


Mary Frazer

Mary is a biologist for Three Oaks Engineering where she conducts surveys for endangered plants and flying critters, but they are the furry kind, not the feathered kind.  She likes to grow native plants and edible plants, both of which are enjoyed by the local deer a great deal.  She is co-chair of the NC Bat Working Group.


Ernie Hahn

Ernie is a stream mapper for the NC Department of Environmental Quality.  He loves being outdoors and participating in various citizen science projects including the Volunteer Stream Monitoring program for the City of Raleigh and the Neighborhood Box Turtle Watch and Nest Watch programs for the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.  On rare occasions, one can hear him play his violin.


Bob Oberfelder

Bob has been actively birding (off and on) for about 30 years and he joined the Board at the beginning of  2013. He enjoys the challenge of birding and nature photography, and he moderates our Photo Gallery.


Erik Thomas

Erik Thomas has been a member of the Wake Audubon board since 2008. He is a professor at North Carolina State University, where he teaches and conducts research in linguistics. He has been a birder since age 6 and birding remains his main hobby, though he also enjoys amateur botanizing and reading a variety of topics in natural science and history.

Paulette van de Zande

Paulette is an avid gardener, birdwatcher, and baker. She loves all wildlife.

Kari Wouk

Kari Wouk works at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and is a total bird nerd and nature lover. She has served on the board of Wake Audubon since 2006 and chairs the Membership committee.


Board meetings

Board meetings are open to all. The board meets the first Tuesday of every month at 7:00 pm at the Prairie Ridge Research Laboratory at 1671 Gold Star Dr, Raleigh. Check with one of the officers before coming to confirm the day and location as they occasionally have to be changed.


Other VIPs

Erla Beegle
Meetup Group Organizer

Sue Buechle
Newsletter Layout

Maura Egan
Volunteer Coordinator

Megan Demers-Schaefer

Sean Higgins
Young Naturalists

Jennifer Fenwick
Young Naturalists

Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat