Leadership

Meet Our Officers

 

Mary Abrams

President
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Mary is a retired Soldier and lifelong backyard birder. She joined the Wake Audubon Society to learn more about birds and to help protect them and the environment. Mary spends as much time as possible outdoors volunteering and learning with groups like Wake Audubon, the Native Plant Society, and Triangle Land Conservancy. Mary currently serves on the Audubon North Carolina Advisory Board as the Chapter Liaison.


Jeff
Jeff Beane
Vice President
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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.


Louise Belk
Secretary

Louise is retired from a career in the corporate world. Now her passions are volunteering with the Society of St Andrew, photographing nature, gardening, and nurturing a young longleaf pine farm. She enjoys backyard birding and learning to identity birds by their songs.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Michi Vojta
Treasurer

Michi says she is not a particularly good birder, despite copious amounts of time outdoors. Having migrated to the Triangle for a forestry degree, she then found birding FAR easier in her days as a Peace Corps Volunteer and then traveler in Africa. The birds there seem brighter and more dramatic in their plumage! When in Raleigh, Michi is often volunteering at a school or for the City or checking bird boxes. When not in Raleigh, she and her family enjoy camping, kayaking, hiking, and traveling.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Erik Thomas
Immediate Past President

Erik Thomas has been a member of the Wake Audubon Society board since 2007. He has been involved in numerous Wake Audubon efforts over the years and leads our monitoring activities in the Lumber River Important Bird Area. He was president of the Wake Audubon Society in 2020 and 2021. He works as a linguistics professor at North Carolina State University.


Meet The Board

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Phillip Doerr

Phillip is a retired NCSU Fisheries/Wildlife/Conservation Biology faculty member and for 34 years was an undergrad advisor, graduate student mentor, and faculty advisor to the Leopold Wildlife Club and Wildlife Society Student Chapter. He taught numerous grad and undergrad wildlife courses over the years and conducted wildlife populations research with grad students, and post docs on critters including bluebirds, alligators, spotted skunks, black bears, white-tailed deer, gray fox, northern bobwhite, American woodcock, osprey, northern goshawks, ruffed grouse and red-cockaded woodpeckers (whew!). He is an avid birder, hunter, and fisher and spends as much time outdoors as possible often in remote corners of the planet (esp since retiring). As a teacher his greatest pleasure was always sharing his wonder about wild things, and about how living natural systems work, and that desire continues, particularly with informing people of the conservation challenges facing us today.


Laurel Drobits

Laurel is a soon to be retired psychologist who has spent 32 years working in the public sector. She enjoys knitting, reading, baking, puttering in a rather scrubby garden (not helped by the dogs), and walking. Her love of birds grew from accompanying her father on birding trips when she was a child. She has been birding on and off since then, as life has allowed.


John

John Gerwin

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.


Rick LaRose

Rick LaRose

As a long-time certified habitat steward with the National Wildlife Federation, Rick has a passion for Audubon’s Plants for Birds program and cultivating native habitat that sustains our local biodiversity. Rick’s career spans research, facilitation, branding and marketing, the combination of which he applies in his role on the board. He champions environmental education among grade school students through National Audubon’s Audubon Adventures. As past president of our chapter, Rick currently serves on our Communications and Governance committees and as co-chair of Wake Audubon’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee.


Anne Miller

After retiring as a teacher and school counselor, Anne now is a licensed mental health therapist with a small private practice in the community. As an avid birder, Anne enjoys exploring the many wild areas of North Carolina and beyond as part of her own self care. Her passion is to help others to have the opportunity to experience the natural world as an extension of their own humanity. Anne currently serves on the Conservation Committee.


Bob

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Anne Wilkinson

Anne grew up in Maryland, but came to North Carolina for law school and has pretty much lived in the Triangle ever since. She is a novice birder, even though she always has been fascinated by nature. She is the Chair of the Advocacy Committee and a member of the WAS Board.


 

 

Board meetings

Board meetings are open to all. The board meets the first Tuesday of every month at 6:30 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

Anne Wilkenson
Advocacy

Erla Beegle
Meetup Group Organizer

Colleen Bockhahn
Governance

Laurel Drobits
Volunteer Coordinator

Susan Davis
Co-chair, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee
Phillip Doerr
Conservation and Awards
Cameron Dyer
Newsletter Editor
Rick LaRose
Co-chair, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee
Gerry Luginbuhl
Website
Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat