Meet Our Officers


Mary Abrams

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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 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

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

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

Susan Davis


Susan joined Wake Audubon in 2016 after retiring from twenty-seven years of working with hospitalized children. With more time and energy available, she followed her concern for the climate crisis and her lifelong love of birds to volunteer with Wake Audubon’s Lights Out initiative in downtown Raleigh. Since then she has continued to be active with Lights Out and through education and advocacy events on behalf of birds and Wake Audubon. She has also been one of the co-chairs of Wake Audubon’s Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee since its inception in 2020. She is constantly reminded that an environment filled with bird song is good for people too.   


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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.


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 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.

Dave Powell

Dave is a lifelong nature lover with fond childhood memories of trying to spy backyard birds with toy binoculars in hand and cataloging East African birds for a seventh grade science project while living in Tanzania. A former middle school science teacher, his career focuses on advocating for educational equity. He brings the experience in nonprofit management and government affairs he has gained through this work to his service on the board. Dave enjoys growing his birding skills through Wake Audubon along with its embracing community, environmental advocacy, and educational efforts.

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

Erla Beegle
Meetup Group Organizer

Colleen Bockhahn

Robin Ruback
Newsletter Editor
Gerry Luginbuhl
Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat