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 snow bunting.
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 happy 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 in her current capacity, she served as the Outreach Coordinator at the University of Wyoming Biodiversity Institute, where she fell in love with pollinators, short-horned lizards, and open spaces, though no place feels like home like the Midwest. She enjoys gardening, hiking, cross-country skiing, and taking her toddler and baby on bike rides. Brenna's favorite bird is the kestrel, after spending a day in June banding kestrel chicks with Madison Audubon and the Central Wisconsin Kestrel Research program!
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.
MEET OUR SANCTUARY STAFF & VOLUNTEERS
Graham grew up wandering through Wisconsin's wild places from the northern hardwoods to southern cattail marshes. He graduated from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a degree in Forest Ecosystem Restoration, and was the Goose Pond intern during the summer of 2017. On the natural resources side, fire ecology, wetland soils, and amphibians are of particular interest to him. Graham values science communication and reconnecting the public with the natural places that they have become increasingly separated from. In his spare time, Graham likes to kayak, garden, read, and explore new countryside. Eastern fox snake, cup plant, burr oak, and common goldeneye are among his favorite species.
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.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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.
GALEN HASLER - VICE PRESIDENT
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.
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.
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.
PATRICK EAGAN - Board Member
Patrick is a grandfather, photographer and emeritus professor at UW-Madison, where he taught classes on both sustainability and engineering. His last two positions at UW were as an educational fellow in UW-Madison’s Office of Sustainability and as chair of the Environment and Resources degree program in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. His wife, Lloyd, is retired from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and is also active in environmental endeavors.
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.
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.
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.
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.
DAVID RIHN - Board Member
David is currently employed as the Safety Coordinator for the City of Madison and has been in occupational safety for 30 plus years. He has a BS in Education and a completed his course work for a Master's degree in Business. In his spare time, he is an avid year round outdoor person who loves hiking, birding and photography. He is a regular contributor of nature photography to the Wisconsin Birding and Naturalist websites. Dave has a passion for learning about the natural world, whether geology, astronomy, plants, birds or animals. His wife, Valerie, shares his enthusiasm for the outdoors and they are often found at Goose Pond looking for snowy owls in the winter and ducks in the spring and fall. They are known for their flying squirrels who nightly show up to raid their bird feeders.
JOHN SHILLINGLAW - Board Member
John Shillinglaw is a retired ophthalmologist and moved to Madison four years ago. He has been an Audubon member for 45 years and was active with the Fox River Valley Audubon Society. He is a restoration biologist with a special interest in dry prairies. Hobbies include birdwatching, paddling, biking, fly fishing and hiking. He is especially interested in Madison Audubon's education programs.
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.