2018-2019 Madison Audubon Board Elections


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On this ballot

Madison Audubon’s board of directors has nominated a slate of six candidates to run for election for board next spring, including two current members whose terms are expiring and four individuals new to the board. With three current members stepping down (Marcia MacKenzie, Jim Shurts, and Arlyne Johnson — big thanks to all three for their service!), the slate will increase board membership from 12 to 13 beginning in 2019.

RENEWALS: Two current directors' terms are up for renewal. Madison Audubon is fortunate and grateful that each are willing to serve another term, upon member approval. Those candidates include Sue Knaack and Topf Wells.

NEW CANDIDATES: Four new board candidates have been nominated, and include Pat Clark, Matt Fortney, Lisa Lepeak, and Olivia Pietrantoni.

Voting will open in February.

Candidate Statements

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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.

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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.

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Pat has been a financial advisor for 30 years, and active in ecological restoration for about as long. Starting in 1990, he began restoring a prairie on his family’s farm. It became Wisconsin’s first Glacial Habitat Restoration Project, insuring it would never be developed. He finished a book in 2003, Observation from a Wisconsin Prairie, describing the restoration and the culture that surrounds it. He is actively restoring and preserving the Lewiston Bog in Columbia County, a 605-acre wild area with rare orchids, wild rice, uncommon songbirds, and grey wolves. He is an advocate for wetland and prairie restoration, dam removal, and our native flora and fauna. He lives on his prairie, between Randolph and Beaver Dam with his wife Angel, and their two children Ben & Livi.

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Matt works as an attorney specializing in commercial real estate law. He currently is the General Counsel for the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA). Prior to WHEDA, Matt was an associate at Quarles & Brady, LLP for almost eight years, where he practiced in the firm’s commercial real estate group. He has broad experience in multiple facets of real estate law, including purchase and sales, financing, zoning and land use, and construction law. Prior to his career in law, he was an Environmental Engineer, working on brownfield issues in Chicago. Matt is married and has two young daughters. The family happily ran a monarch nursery this past summer, successfully releasing seven butterflies into the wild. He enjoys hiking, climbing (in younger days), and running.

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Lisa grew up an outdoor enthusiast spending summers with her family on the beach on Lake Superior in Northern Michigan.  She developed a love for nature, wildlife, conservation and habitat preservation.  She moved to Madison in 2006, where she was first introduced to bird watching.  After her first experience with spring migration, she was hooked!  The experience grew into a passion for bird conservation, sharing the experience of bird watching and promote practices to preserve the experience for future generations.  Lisa practices Medical Oncology in Wisconsin and recently obtained a Volunteer Master Naturalist Certification in 2018.

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Olivia is an attorney at Stafford Rosenbaum LLP where she practices in the areas of business and real estate law. In particular, Olivia has worked on a wide variety of real estate matters including drafting and reviewing purchase documents, handling land use issues, and the preparation of easements including conservation easements.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, including hiking with her dog Violet, biking, and cross-country skiing. Olivia is proud to be a part of the Madison Audubon Society as its mission aligns with her passion for animals, habitat preservation and the outdoors.