Our Staff and Board of Directors
We owe the success of our chapter to our small staff, volunteers, and Board of Directors. Our large group of talented volunteers allow us to accomplish many of our goals with a small budget, putting more of our hard-earned donations to good use. Read about our current honorees in the volunteer spotlight.
Ralph Schardt, Executive Director, has been an Audubon member for nearly 20 years. He led bird watching trips for a variety of local businesses and nonprofits. As the only photographer covering the relocation of the California condor at Pinnacles National Monument, Ralph's work was widely published. He brings over 15 years of leadership and development in nonprofit business to SCVAS, including running a small private nonprofit foundation supporting environmental education for youth over the last nine years. He is passionate about nature, birds, and the outdoors. Contact Ralph at 408-252-3748 or
Toby Goldberg, Education and Outreach Director, is responsible for SCVAS' Education and Volunteer Programs. She sits on the Education Committee and works closely with volunteers, educators, community organizations, and other individuals interested in receiving our various services. Toby has a B.S. in Biology from Stanford University and an M.A. in Ecology from UCSB. She has worked in conservation research in several countries and has been involved with education programs in a wide variety of settings. Ella habla Español. If you would like to learn more about SCVAS' Education Programs and Volunteer opportunities, contact Toby at (408) 252-3740 or .
Shani Kleinhaus, Environmental Advocate, works to protect and promote wildlife habitats and to include avian conservation in local development plans. She represents the Chapter before local governments and decision makers addressing issues of land use, birds, wildlife habitat, and environmental impacts. Shani (pronounced shaa-knee) works closely with our Environmental Action Committee and volunteers on a plethora of conservation issues throughout Santa Clara County and its Cities. Shani earned her Ph.D. in Ecology from UC Davis and has contributed to conservation research, advocacy and planning in a variety of ecosystems in the US and overseas. To join our group of advocates, or to alert us to ecological concerns and opportunities in your community, contact Shani at (650) 868-2114 or
Joshua McCluskey, Burrowing Owl Conservation Project Manager, has a B.Sc. in Environmental Studies with a focus on restoration and resource management with a minor in Urban Studies from San Jose State University, in addition to Associates degrees in Environmental Stewardship and Biodiversity Specialist from De Anza College. He has worked locally to protect Coyote Valley and contributed to wildlife connectivity research in the South Bay Area. If you are interested in working with Josh on the Western Burrowing Owl issues, contact him at (408) 252-3747 or
Kymberly Sugano, Educational Programs Coordinator, graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. in Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology. During college, she was a supervisor for the Putah Creek Nestbox Highway, and a technician in the Meyer Hall Avian Research Facility working with cockatiels, parrots, chicken and quail. She has field work experience with Northern Spotted Owls, and Black and Virginia Rails. If she's not birding, she is creating either knitted or crocheted creations. Contact her at (408) 252-3740 or
Ricardo Fernandez, Burrowing Owl Conservation Intern, is currently attending San Jose State University to obtain a B.Sc. in Environmental Studies with a restoration focus. He is currently working to help monitor and protect the western burrowing owl populations in Santa Clara County. During his free time, Ricardo loves to hike and mountain bike where he gets a chance to admire California's wildlife and native vegetation. At home Ricardo enjoys maintaining a sustainable vegetable garden as well as restoring his yard to a native garden.
Katherine Ackerman, Education and Outreach Intern, is a recent graduate of Colby College in Maine where she received her B.A. in Biology and Creative Writing. Her background as a program manager for an outdoor adventure organization, and her natural passion for the environment, make her a perfect fit with the SCVAS Education team.
The SCVAS Board of Directors is always open to new ideas and suggestions from members. We work hard to uphold our bylaws, maintain fiscal responsibility, ensure that our programs support our mission, promote local conservation, and provide fun and exciting learning experiences for both children and adults.
The Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society is seeking Board members and welcomes expressions of interest from anyone who supports our mission. While your enthusiastic contribution of time and energy is the major qualification, the Board particularly needs expertise and experience in fund-raising, environmental education, and social media. Contact us if you are interested in joining our Board.
The Board of Directors includes:
Bob Hirt (President),
Diane Hart (Vice President),
Joan Leighton (Secretary),
Marlene Macek (Treasurer),
Vivek Khanzode, and
Updated April 2016
Burrowing Owl © Tom Grey
What's New at SCVAS
AVOCET CORRECTION: The delightful picture of the Orchard Oriole from our March/April 2016 newsletter issue was unfortunately mis-credited. That picture came from Will Brooks. We appreciate his allowing us to use that picture, and we apologize for the error.
New CD Set of Bird Songs available: The Environmental Action Committee of West Marin (EAC) has produced a boxed set of 2 CDs which include more than 100 Bay Area bird songs. Each song can be repeated. The songs are arranged by habitat type. The CDs are narrated by EAC's Carolyn Longstreth. You can order the CDs online (link above), or call 415-663-9312 to order your set. All proceeds go to EAC's bird conservation program.
Changing Hours in Nature Shop: The SCVAS main office and Nature Shop will have limited hours through the months of April and May. We recommend giving us a call (408-252-3747) if you're planning to stop by to make sure we're open. We apologize for any inconvenience, and look forward to seeing you soon!
Help Us Make a Better Newsletter!: The SCVAS Staff and Newsletter Team would like to hear from you! Please take moment to fill out our SCVAS Newsletter and Chapter Survey. It should only take a few minutes, but your responses will help us continue to improve our newsletter.
Donating Benefits our Communities
Your tax-deductible donation allows SCVAS to increase the number of youngsters, many from low income families, that we reach with our local science education programs. Your donation dollars also support our many conservation efforts that make us one of the most effective conservation organizations in the Bay Area. We have many different ways that you can volunteer and donate.
How to Volunteer for SCVAS
Fill out our Volunteer Sign-up form or contact our Education and Outreach Director at (408) 252-3740 or at email@example.com.
Check out our most pressing needs, plus our list of individual and committee opportunities.
Become a volunteer for conservation.
View our volunteer calendar.
Upcoming Events at SCVAS
Saturday April 30, 8:30 AM (Full Day)
Mines Rd., Del Puerte Canyon, and vicinity
We'll start this trip in Del Puerto Canyon, working our way west to San Antonio Valley.
Saturday April 30, 8:00 AM-10:00 AM (arrive at 7:50AM)
Young Audubon Adventure: Spring Bird Banding with SFBBO
Join the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory (SFBBO) at the peak of the spring migration season to see a live bird banding demonstration and experience conservation science in action.
Sunday May 1, All Day
Spring Birdathon Closes.
Last day to officially qualify with your birdathon team for prizes.