Madison Audubon is a proud community of passionate individuals actively working to improve Wisconsin's environment.
From youth and community education to habitat restoration, through the work of our staff, members, and volunteers, we are making a difference for Wisconsin's birds and beyond!
MEET OUR OFFICE STAFF
MATT REETZ - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
After diverse experience in academic, state agency, private and non-profit worlds, Matt feels he now has the perfect job. In his role as Executive Director, Matt is able to combine experience in program development and partnership-building, a deep enthusiasm for applied wildlife conservation, and a genuine interest in people. Matt earned a BS from the University of Illinois, and Master’s and PhD degrees in wildlife ecology from the University of Florida. Prior to returning to his Wisconsin roots, Matt was a field technician, researcher, and professor and knows he is fortunate to have conducted work on an amazing variety of birds in the Caribbean, Chile, Australia and the States. When not leading the world’s greatest team, Matt enjoys sharing the great outdoors with his wife, a super-smart wildlife epidemiologist, and his young son, a super-smart wildlife enthusiast. Matt's current favorite bird is the brainy American Crow.
CAROLYN BYERS - DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
Carolyn has spent many years studying avian behavior, and loves to share her bird knowledge with the Madison Audubon community. She is particularly interested in nesting ecology, chick development, and foraging behavior. Carolyn earned a BS in biology from the University of New Hampshire and a Master’s degree in wildlife ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Carolyn loves being a part of Madison Audubon education team which brings science to local youth and our communities. Carolyn enjoys spending time being active outside gardening, camping, fishing, and (of course) birding. Carolyn's (current) favorite birds are Henslow's sparrows and other LBJs (little brown jobs!)
BRENNA MARSICEK - DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
Brenna is thrilled to be part of the Madison Audubon team again, having spent a summer interning with MAS at Faville Grove Santuary in 2007. Brenna graduated from UW-Madison in 2008 with a BA in Geography, Environmental Studies, and International Studies. Prior to joining Madison Audubon again, she served as the Outreach Coordinator at the University of Wyoming Biodiversity Institute, where she fell in love with pollinators, short-horned lizards (pictured), and open spaces, though no place feels like home like the Midwest. She enjoys gardening, hiking, cross-country skiing, and watching her one-year-old son experience the world for the first time. Brenna's favorite bird is the common loon, which speaks to her Minnesotan heritage.
JOHN MINNICH - FINANCIAL MANAGER
Before joining Madison Audubon, John performed financial work for several local businesses and non-profits. At Madison Audubon, John does the books, assists the treasurer in reporting finances to the board and preparing the annual budget, and manages the membership database. He is the go-to guru on membership questions and organizational history, as he has worked at Madison Audubon for over ten years! John enjoys cooking, music, reading, and spending time with friends. John's favorite bird is the gray catbird.
MIKHAIL FERNANDES - COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH ASSISTANT Mikhail is a Goshen College graduate who holds an Interdisciplinary degree in Music, Sustainability and Communications. As a frequent flyer, Mikhail has traveled across India, South Africa and South-East Asia working for various environmental non-profits. Beyond his environmental initiatives, Mikhail is also known for his musical talent. He performs as a low-brass musician and produces electronic music. One of his goals is to produce a piece that utilizes natural sounds (birds chirping, waves crashing, wind etc.) to better understand melodies and harmonies in the natural world. During his time off, he enjoys climbing active volcanoes, paragliding, badminton, biking, caving and kayaking. Mikhail’s favorite bird is the Kingfisher which also happens to be his favorite brand of beer.
MEET OUR SANCTUARY STAFF & VOLUNTEERS
MADDIE DUMAS - GOOSE POND LAND STEWARD
Maddie is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds a Master of Science in Landscape Architecture. Her thesis work examined seeding times for early blooming prairie forbs such as pasqueflower, bird foot violet, prairie smoke, and others. Maddie has always enjoyed outdoor work and wide open spaces, beginning as a stable hand at a horse barn in her childhood home of Stillwater, Minnesota, then working as a horse wrangler at a dude ranch in Montana, and finally as a Prairie Partners Restoration intern for Goose Pond Sanctuary and other conservation parks in the Madison area. She loves making her own food, preserves and cider, and all the outdoor sports that require strapping a piece of equipment to your feet and going fast: road cycling, cross country skiing, and downhill skiing. Her favorite bird, thanks to her upbringing, is Minnesota’s state bird, a common loon.
MARK MARTIN & SUE FOOTE-MARTIN - GOOSE POND RESIDENT SANCTUARY MANAGERS
Mark and Sue have managed and expanded Madison Audubon's Goose Pond Sanctuary since 1979. Mark graduated from UW-Stevens Point where he majored in wildlife management. Mark has had a long tenure with the Wisconsin DNR, beginning work as a Wildlife Technician in 1971 and eventually working as a Conservation Biologist with the Bureau of Endangered Resource’s State Natural Areas program until December 2011. Mark is certified to conduct prescribed burns, apply herbicides, and is a Certified Wildlife Biologist.
Sue holds associate and bachelor degrees in Marketing and Business, and worked as the education coordinator at the Wisconsin DNR’s MacKenzie Environmental Education Center in Poynette. She went on to work for DNR’s Bureau of Endangered Resources as a Conservation Biologist where she developed the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail and assisted with the design and development of five new Endangered Resource license plates until her retirement in 2009. Sue returned to the DNR for a short time to assist with listing of Wisconsin’s cave bat species as “threatened” due to white-nose syndrome.
Mark and Sue are heavily involved with conservation groups in Wisconsin, and they enjoy restoring wetland, savanna, and prairie on their land in Columbia & Dane counties. Mark and Sue like to travel west to visit our National Parks and enjoy fishing the Boundary Waters. Mark’s favorite bird is the wood duck, while Sue’s favorite bird is the greater prairie chicken.
DREW HARRY - RESIDENT LAND STEWARD AT FAVILLE GROVE SANCTUARY
Drew graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014 with a degree in Environmental Studies and English. Working as an intern at Faville Grove in 2012 inspired his interest in the natural world, and he now returns to Prairie Lane as the land steward. In 2013 he worked with the UW Center for Limnology sampling fish populations in Vilas and Dane counties. In 2014, he worked with the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe to help conserve the piping plover on Lake Superior's Long Island. Drew enjoys hiking, camping, kayaking, basketball, and watching Melvin Gordon run. Northern harriers, river otters, longear sunfish, and the lesser-fringed gentian are among his favorite species.
DAVID MUSOLF - FAVILLE GROVE RESIDENT MANAGER
David is a founding manager of Faville Grove Sanctuary, having contributed his energy and resources toward its development since its inception in 1998. A life-long outdoor and environmental enthusiast, David organized and planted the first prairie restoration at Faville Grove in 1994, and others most every year since then. He is an avid vegetable gardener, eating year-round from his harvests, and lives at Faville Grove in the passive solar/wood-heated home he designed and constructed in 1977. He retired from UW-Madison administration in 2013 after more than 50 years of service to the institution. Among the many Faville Grove native species that David finds especially compelling are the brown thrasher, American badger, blue-spotted salamander, Blanding's turtle, Baltimore checkerspot and heath aster. At left, he's demonstrating the size of an opening for a badger den he found in Buddy's Prairie, at Faville Grove Sanctuary!
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Madison Audubon Board is expanding! Check out the six candidates' statements by clicking here.
Voting occurs in the spring - stay tuned!
ROGER PACKARD - PRESIDENT
Recently retired from a position in administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Roger spends as much time as possible outside restoring the ecological integrity of the land at Faville Grove, where he and his partner, David Musolf, have worked with Madison Audubon since 1998 to make the organization's second sanctuary the gem that it is today. As board president since 2012, Roger has helped to build Madison Audubon’s capacity and effectiveness in all aspects of its mission: environmental education, advocacy and habitat protection.
MARCIA MACKENZIE - VICE PRESIDENT
Marcia MacKenzie is currently the Dane County Corporation Counsel. She has been active with Madison Audubon since 2007, serving on the Education and Development committees and as vice president of the board of directors. Marcia comes from a “conservation family,” where she was raised to believe that individuals must each have a personal stake in conservation. She urges others to take a stake by volunteering with Madison Audubon.
TOPF WELLS - SECRETARY
Topf Wells lives in Madison. Currently retired, he has worked in a variety of roles, including as an aide to a Wisconsin state senator, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Conservation Corps, grant manager for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Chief of Staff to the Dane County Executive. He serves as a Board Member of the Southern Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and a member of two Madison local food committees. While he enjoys and appreciates all the many functions of the Madison Audubon Society, he is especially grateful for Madison Audubon's large sanctuaries and its new educational programs for children. Sally, his wife, is also retired; his Springer Spaniel, Philly, is not.
JOANNE JONES - TREASURER
Joanne is recently retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she spent the vast majority of her career after graduating from UW-Madison School of Business with degrees in Accounting and Information Systems and passing the CPA exam. Before retirement, she served as the chief financial officer for the Division of Information Technology at UW, overseeing a large budget with multiple technology enterprises. Joanne and Terry, her retired school teacher husband, live on 18 acres in Deerfield. They are proud parents to two grown and successful children and currently care for horses, cats and a yellow Labrador puppy named Miss Molly.
SUSAN KNAACK - PROGRAMS COMMITTEE CHAIR
Sue Knaack became active in Madison Audubon after going on a field trip in the fall of 1998 in Jefferson County. Sue volunteered to collect prairie seeds that following weekend, and even though she left that first day covered in tic trefoil seed, she kept coming back. Later that Fall, she participated in the first of many prairie plantings at Faville Grove Sanctuary. Sue continues to work as a Speech/Language Pathologist for the Madison Metropolitan School district. Madison Audubon brings together two of her life long interests: education and the environment. She is proud to be a part of the work Madison Audubon is doing to educate the next generation of bird watchers and land conservationists, as well as to restore and protect the land for future generations.
JIM SHURTS - SANCTUARIES COMMITTEE CHAIR
Jim Shurts has been birding since the time his mother pointed out a cardinal at the backyard feeder many, many years ago. That love of birds lead him to become an ardent conservationist, active with several non-profit conservation groups. After retiring from the University of Wisconsin he joined the Madison Audubon board. “Madison Audubon’s sanctuaries and educational efforts really do lift my spirits. It is a true pleasure to work with the Madison Audubon's staff and volunteers. And as I’ll tell anyone who listens, Goose Pond rocks!” Jim is the chair of the Sanctuaries Committee and loves to burn...er...manage prairies.
Mareda is a city-kid turned conservationist and environmentalist. She came to Madison from Chicago to attend UW-Madison. Following graduation, she started her career at UW as an administrator and began exploring Wisconsin's landscapes. With the help of friends she was introduced to hiking, camping, skiing, and birding - and she quickly developed a love for nature. Mareda enjoys travel and her itineraries always include time for birding and nature walks. Mareda has served on other national and non-profit boards.
Galen was introduced to field science by his father, a UW zoology professor, who helped him identify backyard birds, waterfowl on Lake Mendota, and pileated woodpecker in the northwoods. Galen's own birding adventures began with 17 spring warblers that he identified at the UW Arboretum. Since then he has traveled to six continents and five oceans to see birds! Galen practiced medical oncology in Maine and Missouri where he served the Missouri Prairie Foundation and privately converted a 250-acre Osage River watershed to the Wetland Reserve Program. Moving to his Madison home in 2007, Galen directed Hospice for five years and has since joined the boards of MAS and the Friends of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve.
ARLYNE JOHNSON - Board member
Arlyne’s interest in birds and the outdoors began as a child on her family’s farm in northern Minnesota. Her dream to work in wildlife conservation inspired her graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison followed by a 25-year career with the Wildlife Conservation Society directing conservation and research programs in the Ecuadorean Amazon, Papua New Guinea and Laos. Arlyne returned to Wisconsin in 2011 to establish a home along the beautiful Lower Wisconsin Riverway, teaching conservation planning at UW-Madison and facilitating strategic planning for conservation organizations in the United States, Asia, and Africa.
Volunteers are the heart of Madison Audubon's work. Our monthly Keystone Volunteer feature showcases the talent and dedication of Madison Audubon volunteers who make the organization thrive. View our archive of Keystone Volunteers on our blog.
ARLENE KOZIOL - Conservation Photographer
Arlene studied nursing and sociology at UW Madison in the 60’s. Later, her and her husband Jeff and worked and raised a family in the Chicago area for 37 years. Arlene owes her love of the outdoors to her father, who was an avid hunter and fisherman. She and her husband have now retired to Madison, where she is active with countless conservation groups and loves to spend time with her grandkids. Her favorite birds are the brown pelican, sandhill crane and osprey.
Nature is necessary in my life. It helps me focus, stimulates all my senses and makes me feel balanced within. Natural experiences are essential for my physical, emotional and mental health.
In the past, I did nature photography for my own enjoyment and education. Now Iam now inspired to use my images of nature,andpeople restoring or enjoying nature, forlocal conservation and education.
Multimedia journalist Morgan Heim states, “Conservation photography is as much about what a photographer does with the photo-what that photo is used for after it is taken-as it is about the subject or beauty of the image itself.” For example , the photographs of the great wilderness photographer Ansel Adams and others, brought about the establishment of Yosemite as a National Park.
I am also an advocate for nature photography. Photography is one of the best ways to connect people to the natural world.
I believe there is a critical role now for the arts to entice people of all ages to get outside and explore and discover nature.
With conservation photography I want to make a difference in a small way. I want to be relevant at this stage of my life."