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General Membership & Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

| RSVP | Logistics | Program | Guest SpeakerBoard Elections | Volunteer Awards |


Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society thrives on the support of its dedicated members, donors, and volunteers. Join us for an evening celebrating you, the lifeblood of our chapter. We'll enjoy a catered dinner, guest speaker, board elections, volunteer awards, silent auction, and more fun throughout the evening. Please RSVP below so that we can order food and drinks accordingly. If you have any questions, please contact Kelly Alfrey at or (408) 627-7172. We hope to see you there!



When: Saturday, June 30, 2018; 5:30PM-9:00PM

Where: The Garden House in Shoup Park, Los Altos



5:30PM Bird walk at Shoup Park
6:00PM Introduction, Board Member Elections, update to bylaws*, silent auction items available
6:30PM Dinner is served
7:00PM Volunteer Awards
7:30PM Guest Speaker - Brian L. Sullivan, project leader for eBird at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology
8:30PM Meeting adjourned


*Over the past year, the SCVAS Board has rewritten our Society's bylaws to make them simpler, shorter, and consistent with current best practice. Our proposed 2018 bylaws are 8 pages long in contrast to the 24 pages of our current outdated bylaws. We encourage you to look through the revised Bylaws of Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society in the hope that you will vote to approve them during tonight's event. 


Click here to read the revised Bylaws of Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society


Guest Speaker

Tonight's Presentation: Saving the World One Checklist at a Time
In our fast-paced world, birds serve as an unrivaled window for studying and assessing environmental change. They are our literal canaries in coalmines. eBird is a network of human observers spread across the planet collecting millions of data points each month. Their checklist observations, combined with the input of remote sensors that collect real-time environmental data, are now being spun together using innovative computer science and modeling techniques to achieve real-world conservation outcomes for birds and other wildlife.  
Today eBird is the fastest-growing biodiversity network in existence. Find out how the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology took a novel approach to crowdsourcing and turned birders’ global passion for birds into a vast data resource for science and conservation.  And learn about how you help make the world better place for birds and the people who care about them one checklist at a time.  
About our Speaker: Brian L. Sullivan
Brian Sullivan has conducted fieldwork on birds throughout North America for the past 25 years.  Birding travels, photography, and field projects have taken him to Central and South America, Australia, Antarctica, the Arctic, and across North America.  He has written and consulted on various books including popular and scientific literature on North American birds. He is a co-author of several books including: 
Peterson Guide to Bird Identification—In 12 Steps; Better Birding—Tips, Tools, and Concepts for the Field
Offshore Sea Life ID Guide: West Coast
Offshore Sea Life ID Guide: East Coast
The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors
Princeton Guide to North American Birds (forthcoming)
Brian is currently Digital Publications Lead at Information Science and a project leader for eBird at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. He is the co-creator of the groundbreaking Raptor Id app for mobile devices. He also served as photographic editor for the American Birding Association’s journal, North American Birds, from 2005-2013.


Board Member Elections

The Nominating Committee of the SCVAS Board of Directors nominates these candidates for elected positions on the Board for the term indicated. New directors and officers take office July 1, 2018. SCVAS members in good standing may vote during the Appreciation Dinner. The majority of available votes determines the winner. 


      Position & Term: President 2018 - 2019
Diane Hart describes herself as an adult-onset birder who makes up with enthusiasm for what she lacks in expertise. She has served on the SCVAS Board since 2011, becoming its President in 2017. She sits on most of the Board’s committees and is active on SCVAS’s Education Committee. Diane is a nationally recognized education author and assessment consultant. She has written 20 textbooks on U.S. history, world history, geography, American government, and economics, most of which are still used in schools across the country. She has also consulted widely on social studies curriculum, instructional design, and standards-based assessments. Her most recent project has been the development of cross-cultural competency tools to prepare government personnel heading overseas to work effectively with people from cultures different from their own. Diane embraces being out-of-doors, whether birding, gardening, cycling, or leading tours at the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve where she volunteers as a docent. What she loves most about birding is that she can do it anywhere, from the ends of the Earth to the Safeway parking lot.

Position & Term: Vice President 2018 - 2019
Vivek Khanzodé has been interested in birds and nature since a trip to Costa Rica in 2009. The Resplendent Quetzal mesmerized him, and since then he has been traveling the US and the neotropics in Central and South America annually on nature themed vacations to capture the beauty of birds. Vivek has been a member of the SCVAS Board since 2011 and currently serves on the Membership and Nomination Committees. He brings to the Board the perspectives of both a committed birder and an engineering manager in the Semiconductor industry in the Silicon Valley. He is a strong supporter and active presenter in the Bay Area Bird Photographers group of SCVAS. In his spare time, Vivek photographs birds in the Bay Area and beyond. His bird photos have been published by the National Audubon Society, the American Bird Conservancy, and several other conservation related organizations. His bird and nature photographs can be enjoyed at

  Position & Term: Treasurer 2018 - 2019
Don McDougall currently serves SCVAS as a Board member and Treasurer, chairs the Finance and Development Committees, and is a member of the Environmental Advocacy Committee. He sees the strength of SCVAS is its three integrated values: birding for all levels and ages, education—especially for young students—and advocacy for Santa Clara habitats that sustain birds and other wildlife. SCVAS, in his view, outperforms its size in local advocacy efforts. Don spent his career in domestic and international technology and software, typically companies that developed business intelligence and analytics software. He was CEO for companies whose industries and products include electronics manufacturing, forest products optimization, activity-based costing, census data anonymization, and business intelligence and reporting. In addition to his work with SCVAS, Don serves on the Palo Alto Parks and Recreation Commission, with the Environmental Volunteers as a classroom and field volunteer and board member, and as a docent at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Don believes in the importance of addressing sustainability, especially environmental, but also economic and social equity.
  Position & Term: Secretary 2018 - 2019
Joan Leighton has been on the SCVAS Board for fifteen years and has acted as its Secretary for most of that time. She serves on the Executive, Development, and Membership Committees, and chairs the Personnel Committee. With another volunteer, she also manages the SCVAS library, a thousand-volume collection devoted to birds and birding and available to SCVAS members. A professional librarian, Joan started her career at Harvard's East Asian Library, went on to manage the several libraries of a national accounting firm, and then came to Stanford where she oversaw many of the programs and services of Stanford's main and undergraduate libraries. Retirement was followed by three years with San Francisco's Koret Foundation directing a national book award program. Joan’s time is now spent birding while travelling, hosting emerging string quartets, collecting fruit stickers (one of the largest such collections in the world), and playing with family and friends up and down the California coast.
  Position & Term: Director at Large, seeking re-election for a 3-year term
Gabrielle Feldman joined the Board of Directors in March 2015 and is currently the Acting Vice President and the Chair of the Outreach Committee. Gabrielle is also the Board Liaison to the Environmental Action Committee. Gabrielle is the Owner and Principal of Environmental Policy Solutions, LLC, a boutique environmental consulting firm based in San Jose, CA. She has over twenty years of experience working with natural resource managers, NGOs, and governments on a variety of wildlife conservation projects throughout the Bay Area and beyond. She has earned a B.S. in Zoology and an M.S. in Environmental Science and Regional Planning from Washington State University and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources with an emphasis in Environmental Policy Analysis and Decision Science from the University of Idaho. Gabrielle has combined her passion for wildlife conservation and sustainable development with an expert knowledge of local, national, and international law. By utilizing a holistic approach, she has led complicated planning and implementation processes designed to conserve natural resources while promoting sustainable development. In her free time, Gabrielle enjoys spending time with her husband and 6-year-old twins. She is an avid hiker and weekend birder. Gabrielle also enjoys cooking and baking for a crowd. If she isn’t hanging out with her family, she enjoys spending as much time outdoors exploring nature and looking for birds and other wildlife.
  Position & Term: Director at Large, seeking re-election for a 3-year term
Peter Hart has served on the SCVAS Board since 2011. He is a member of the Nominating, Personnel, and Development Committees. He also serves on the Board of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. During his professional career, from which he is now largely retired, Peter founded or led half a dozen companies and international research centers and invented or developed the theory of several widely used computer algorithms. He is the world’s most-cited author in the field of Robotics and among the ten most-cited authors in the field of Computer Science (according to Google Scholar). He holds over 125 patents covering a wide range of artificial intelligence and software inventions and is a Fellow of four professional associations. Nowadays, Peter is a bird photographer, cyclist, furniture maker, pianist, community volunteer and traveler. His technical interests are now focused on how information technology can contribute to conservation science.
  Position & Term: Director at Large, seeking re-election for the remaining 2 years of a 3-year term
John Richardson As one of the newest Board member for SCVAS, I am looking forward to committing quality time and energy to such an energetic, creative, and inspiring organization. After finishing a degree in Biology in Omaha, I made a calculated decision to move west and live out my dream of being nearer to the mountains. I added a history degree at a Washington University and then worked for six years with the US Forest Service in fire control in six western states. For the past 35 years I have had a successful and rewarding career in industrial sales, mostly in executive level capital spending projects with Bay Area public schools, public and private universities, cities and counties, and large corporate firms. After recently retiring I have more time to commit to birding, worldwide nature photography, cycling, swimming, hiking, woodworking, and reading. You can see some of my work at

Volunteer Awards



Nature Shop Volunteers (left to right)- Jack Cole, Colleen Cunningham, Donna Sadowy, Christine Wolfe (not pictured)
I cannot pick one, so I have chosen all four of our Saturday volunteers to acknowledge. They have each made my job so easy as they come in without issues or complaints and do their jobs and I never have to worry. They are like clockwork and I cannot express how appreciative I am for their individual and group commitment. It has been a pleasure working with each of them (however brief this has been) these past two years. Jack gets an extra ‘kudo’ for repairing the front door and screen door for us! Thank you all! - Tracy Neher



Education Volunteer - Linda Sue Johnson
Linda grew up swimming, boating, and ice skating along the banks of the Tippecanoe River in Indiana and has since learned that the “cranes” her father used to point out were actually Great Blue Herons (although she never told her father that). Linda discovered SCVAS three decades ago at a festival table, and we are so thankful that she did! She’s been an asset at outreach events (especially Wildlife & Harvest Day), and as a Wetlands Discovery Program docent, both in the classroom and outdoors leading field trips. She has participated in many Birdathons, seasonal counts, prepped and built nest boxes with youngsters, and so much more. We are always happy to see Linda - her commitment to environmental education and making a difference shines through her brilliant smile and can-do attitude. Thank you so very much, Linda! - Kelsey Frey
Education Volunteer - Atul Chaudhari
Atul’s passion for bird watching began in Mumbai more than ten years ago, and he continues to follow that passion throughout California. Atul volunteers with various organizations in the Bay Area as an Environmental Advocate, and we are so thankful to have his help here at SCVAS! He loves to educate kids about California birds, native plants and nature, and manages time from work to lead groups of curious young minds for the Wetlands Discovery Program. He has also helped out with other events and bird walks, and always with enthusiasm! We appreciate all of your support, Atul! - Kelsey Frey
Outreach Volunteer - Tomo Yoshino
Tomo Yoshino is an outstanding nest box monitor for the Cavity Nesters Recovery Program. While only in his second season, he has created an online map of his twenty nest boxes at Rancho San Antonio (adopted from Ulf Stauber and Joan Loney), and thoroughly photographs and documents the birds in his boxes. Tomo’s passion for birds reaches beyond CNRP - he is currently completing art pieces centered around bird evolution for his AP Studio Art course, and recently gave a presentation on CNRP for a Spanish class project. We are inspired by Tomo’s passion and dedication and suspect the birding world will see a lot more from him in the future! Thanks, Tomo! - Kelly Alfrey
Outreach Volunteer - Chuq Von Rospach
Chuq is passionate about photography and was first drawn to birding as a way to better understand the birds he was photographing. He has a strong love of the Central Valley wildlife refuges that are habitat to winter migrants like Sandhill Cranes, and he works to help others understand the importance of those areas to the incredible birds and other wildlife that inhabit them. Chuq has been a volunteer with SCVAS for over 3 years and has maintained the South Bay Birds mailing list for the last 15 years ( He is also chair of the SCVAS Outreach and Birdathon committees. Thanks for all of your hard work, Chuq! – Ralph Schardt
Advocacy Volunteer - Keith Wandry
With endless patience and humor, Keith engages in conservation efforts from the ground up - walking door to door on campaigns, leading children and adults in bioblitzes and nature exploration events, volunteering as Chair of the Environmental Action Committee, and speaking at numerous public meetings throughout the county on topics that make a difference to birds. When he’s not busy coordinating nature-oriented programs for the City of Cupertino or taking breathtaking pictures of birds at McClellan Ranch, you can find Keith in our office cracking jokes and brightening our day. Thank you, Keith, for all that you do to inspire a love and appreciation for nature in people of all ages and for volunteering your time to speak up for birds! - Shani Kleinhaus and Mackenzie Mossing