May 2018 Keystone Volunteer: Arlene Koziol

  Arlene Koziol is the keystone volunteer of May 2018.

Arlene Koziol is the keystone volunteer of May 2018.

If you follow Madison Audubon in any way, you've probably seen Arlene's name and ogled over her photographs. Arlene Koziol is a phenomenal self-taught bird and nature photographer, who generously donates her time, energy, and photographs to Madison Audubon. As you know, birds are beautiful, and access to an incredible library of professional-grade photographs to use in our education and outreach materials is invaluable.

"I became involved in MAS April 2011," says Arlene. "My husband Jeff and I were living in Chicago suburbs and were driving around Columbia County looking for birds to photograph. All the ponds were still frozen and there was not a bird in sight. Suddenly, two sandhill cranes flew in calling to a frozen pond at MAS Goose Pond Sanctuary. The sandhills danced and gave their unison call. The light and the background was perfect. The cranes ignored us. We came away with some of our best ever images of sandhill cranes." 

  Sandhill crane pair flying into Goose Pond, 2001. Photo by Arlene Koziol

Sandhill crane pair flying into Goose Pond, 2001. Photo by Arlene Koziol

  Sandhill crane landing at an icy Goose Pond, 2001. Photo by Arlene Koziol

Sandhill crane landing at an icy Goose Pond, 2001. Photo by Arlene Koziol

Many of Arlene's bird photographs were taken at Goose Pond Sanctuary, still one of Arlene's favorite sites, especially since moving to the Madison area. And not just for the birds, but also for the people. "Later I met Mark Martin and Sue-Foote Martin, the co-managers at Goose Pond," remembers Arlene. "They were so kind and included me in all the events at Goose Pond. Mark and Sue always took time out of their busy schedules to teach me."

Which worked well for Arlene, as she herself is a natural teacher. Just last week, Arlene taught a group of 10 naturalists the Beginning Bird and Wildlife Action Photography (part of the new Audubon Naturalists Series hosted by Madison Audubon). Her charisma, experience, and openness allowed students to soak up her knowledge about lighting, focus, and preparedness, among other lessons.

As a photographer, she's top notch. Her personality is also one of the best out there, and we are so grateful for all she contributes to Madison Audubon! To learn how you can volunteer with Madison Audubon, visit our volunteer page.

Written by Brenna Marsicek, Director of Communications