Tucson Audubon Staff
Andy Bennett, since 2011
Restoration Project Manager, K-12 Youth Engagement Coordinator, 520 262-1314, email
Andy credits his passion for conservation and the great outdoors to his father Steve, a schoolteacher who took the family camping during the summers and encouraged Andy to explore the wonders of nature. Those boyhood summer hikes in the woodlands of Indiana and Michigan eventually led to a degree in ecology and professional field research with various land management agencies, conservation groups, and universities. Andy has conducted ecological work for over fifteen years, from Mexican grey wolf monitoring in Arizona, to goshawk nesting success in Colorado, to cattle grazing impacts on grassland sparrows in Oregon. He was also an environmental educator in the deep northwoods of Minnesota. Since 2008, Andy has worked with Tucson Audubon’s ecological restoration and youth education programs. He enjoys cooking a good meal at home, dancing to live music, and learning about the amazing natural wonders around Tucson. You might find him hiking and climbing in the mountains, or hear him playing his mandolin on a Tucson corner.
Karen Fogas, since 2015
Executive Director, 520 209-1801, email
With a background of twenty years working in nonprofit management, Karen Fogas brings a wide array of experiences to her new position as Executive Director of Tucson Audubon Society. Most recently, as CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire (BGCSE), she led an unaffiliated organization in becoming a chartered Boys & Girls Club. During her tenure with BGCSE, the organization more than doubled in organizational revenues and human resources to become the region’s only solely youth-serving agency to provide services from birth to age 18. Karen also led the new organization’s efforts to raise more than $1 million in three years to fund services for youth. While at Volunteers of America and at the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, Karen led efforts to bring approximately $20 million of affordable housing to her community and to locations across the nation. Karen is also accomplished in securing grant funding, securing federal, foundation and corporate grants, and for initiating innovative programs in response to community need. Karen is delighted to return to work in the area of environmental conservation, specifically for birds. Her early years included work with the Sierra Club (SC), where she led efforts to raise awareness of the need to protect critical wetland habitat in the prairie pothole region of the country. Karen represented the Sierra Club as a regional staff for North and South Dakotas and Nebraska, working with volunteers, legislators and community leaders to promote key conservation initiatives. Highlights of her tenure with the SC include the invitation to be among 100 invitees to the Clinton White House to represent environmental action in the 50 states and nomination by Senator Tim Johnson for the Environmental Law Institute National Wetland Award. Karen is excited to become a part of the Tucson community and contribute to Tucson Audubon Society’s remarkable work on behalf of birds and the environment.
Matt Griffiths, since 2006
Digital Media & Bird Conservation, 520 971-7924, email
Matt first fell in love with the diverse biology of southeastern Arizona while volunteering at the Southwestern Research Station in the Chiricahua mountains. Later, his interest in birds reached new levels during a year of surveying for Southwestern Willow Flycatchers in the Grand Canyon. Now he can imagine nothing better than listening to Whip-poor-will and Canyon Wren song in one of his favorite Sky Islands! He considers the Loggerhead Shrike to be the coolest local bird.
Starting at Tucson Audubon in 2004 as a habitat restoration field tech, Matt is currently webmaster, coordinator of the Vermilion Flycatcher, and an IBA Program Associate. He participates in Important Bird Area surveys all over southeast Arizona, and also volunteers for the Tucson Bird Count and various Christmas bird counts.
Matt is originally from Los Angeles and has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He has extensive experience gathering data as a field biologist, including participation in the Mt. Graham Red Squirrel Monitoring Project at the University of Arizona and the El Segundo Dunes restoration project in Los Angeles. Matt has also worked in a print shop, done graphic design and was a bicycle messenger in San Francisco. In his free time, Matt enjoys teaching his young son about the biological bounty of the Sonoran desert, and riding one of his many bikes up Mt. Lemmon or across the country.
Kari Hackney, since 2017
Restoration Field Crew, 520 405-6116, email
Kari’s love for nature was instilled at a young age. She grew up on a farm in Iowa where she spent most of her time outside exploring the fields and forests or building habitats for the resident toads. Her annual family trips to the mountains of Colorado only furthered her fascination for the natural world. As the spouse of a military member, she has been lucky to live in Alaska, Arizona and England where she pursued an education while exploring the region. She obtained a B.S. in Biology and a B.S. in Parks and Recreation from Arizona State University. She also graduated with a Master of Science in Parks and Resource Management from Slippery Rock University. Kari is happy to call Tucson her permanent home as she is enchanted by the biodiversity and the extremes of the Sonoran Desert. In her free time she can be found running, hiking with her dogs or reffing for Tucson Roller Derby.
Jan Holder, since 2016
Engagement Director, 520 419-0374, email
Retail Coordinator, 520 629-0510 x7007,email
Jonathan Horst, since 2012
Director of Conservation & Research, 520 971-6238, email
Ecology and rock climbing brought Jonathan to Tucson. Though his first job here was only a four-month position, he has yet to successfully move away. Since then he has studied band-tailed pigeons and burrowing owls, climbed throughout the region, played lots of ultimate Frisbee, and gotten a Master’s degree from the University of Arizona studying the ecology of winter plants on Tumamoc Hill. He also discovered a new exotic plant, Matthiola parviflora, never before identified in the Americas.
In August 2012 Jonathan joined Tucson Audubon Society as a Restoration Biologist. He is currently working on designing experiments to optimize control of a number of invasive species on Tucson Audubon managed restoration properties, as well as strategizing revegetation work toward supporting a number of Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan “species of concern.”
Finance Director, 520 629-0510 x7014, email
Restoration Field Crew Supervisor, 520 256-6909 (cell), email
Dan Lehman, since 2008
Daniel Lehman was born in El Paso Texas. He attended the University of Texas El Paso where he studied both biology and art. He received his BFA in 1993 and moved to Tucson the same year. He has maintained a sculpture studio in Tucson since 1994 (lehmansculpture.com). Dan has worked for Tucson Audubon since 2002.
Kim Lopez, since 2017
Accountant, 520 209-1803, email
Jonathan Lutz, since 2016
Paton Center for Hummingbirds Coordinator, 520 415-6447, email
Jonathan grew up in Buffalo, New York, and finished high school in rural mid-Michigan. His parents encouraged a life-long interest in natural history and the outdoors. His interest in birds grew as a resident of coastal South Carolina—Jonathan’s home for 6 years after earning a BS in environmental policy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Jonathan coordinated monthly bird counts as the Environmental Program Director for the homeowners association at Dewees Island, a private ferry-accessed barrier island 11 miles north of Charleston. His work on Dewees also included protection of critical nesting habitat for Wilson’s plovers, least terns, and loggerhead sea turtles. The in-residence position afforded Jonathan the opportunity to bird, study native plants, harvest shellfish, and pursue his primary passion: fishing.
In 2005 Jonathan accepted an offer to serve as Executive Director for the Michigan Audubon Society headquartered in Lansing. He served in this capacity until November 2015, accomplishing the following: transitioning the organization from 100% grassroots leadership, developing a policy-making and oversight board of directors, evaluating a portfolio of property totaling 3,000 acres, and setting plans for resource development to sustain the organization into the future. He made time for birding along the way, co-leading winter birding tours in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula, sharing Endangered Kirtland’s Warblers with visitors from around the world, and hosting an annual event celebrating the fall migration of Sandhill Cranes.
Driven by an endeavor catch more and bigger trout on the fly, Jonathan relocated to Billings, Montana, in November 2015. There he served as the Director of the Montana Audubon Center for 11 months. His time in Montana was cut short by a desire to be closer to his partner, Jen, a professional working in Tucson. Jonathan and his dog, Jonesy, began their residence at the Paton Center on November 14, 2016.
Jennie MacFarland, since 2010
Bird Conservation Biologist, TBC Coordinator 520 629-0510 x7004, email
Jennie has been interested in nature from a very young age and in birds in particular since elementary school. When she put on her first pair of glasses in second grade and looked out the window and for the first time saw the individual leaves on a tree and then a bird sitting within the tree, that was it! Jennie has been hooked on birds ever since.
Through high school in Tucson, Jennie was involved in many nerdy activities such as Envirothon and Science Olympiad (and still enjoys many “nerdy” activities). In both competitions, Jennie’s team won at the state level and advanced to the national competition (three times in Envirothon!). One year Jennie’s Envirothon team came in 6th at the national competition and the next year Jennie won first place at the national Science Olympiad competition in the “For the Birds” event about birds of North America.
As a senior in high school, Jennie entered the Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair (SARSEF) with a project about Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy Owls and was a winner in the “environmental” category. The prize was a tuition waiver to the University of Arizona. While in college, Jennie volunteered for 2 years as a hummingbird trapper in a banding project in Sabino Canyon with the Hummingbird Monitoring Network. In the last year of college, she began volunteering with the Important Bird Area program as a surveyor and had a great time learning how to survey for birds (and how to camp!)
In 2010 Jennie graduated from the University of Arizona with a BS in Wildlife Conservation and Management from the School of Natural Resources. That same month she was hired by Tucson Audubon Society to work in the Arizona Important Bird Areas Program and is absolutely thrilled to be working here!
Retail & Operations Assistant, 520 209-2474, email
Membership and Development, 520 629-0510 x7002, email
Diana is Tucson Audubon’s new Membership and Development Assistant. Last summer, she interned at the Tucson Audubon Society and, this year, she was thrilled to discover that a position had opened for which she was well suited. Diana was excited about returning to Tucson Audubon because she really enjoyed working with the people she met last year, and also because she understood the importance of environmental conservation.
Diana has a Bachelor of Science degree. She majored in Environmental Studies and has minors in Geology, Anthropology, and Humanities. The core classes for her college work related to her passion for environmental conservation. She found that she could weave her classes together in a way that broadened her understanding of the interplay between humans and the environment.
Diana was born in Tucson and grew up in Pima County. She spent her college years in Flagstaff at Northern Arizona University. After four years of cold, blustery winters, she was ready to return to Tucson. Now, she lives with her family, including a cute dog, in northwest Tucson.
Volunteer and Field Trips Coordinator, 520 629-0510, email
Luke grew up in a family that loved the outdoors and quickly blossomed into a birder after his grandparents gave him his first bird book when he was seven. He was enamored with the idea of making bird species lists and keeping track of the day to day bird life in his suburban back yard near Tacoma, WA. In his teenage years he tried to hide his birding disease from his future wife but was found out early on. Thankfully, she was able to bear the inevitable side trips to sewage treatment plants and the constant carrying of binoculars, and still married him in 2000. After moving to Yakima, WA, Luke became involved in the Yakima Valley Audubon Society and served on the board, as field trip coordinator, CBC compiler, and field trip leader. His favorite birding in Yakima was along the Yakima River on the Poppoff Trail, where he led a weekly bird walk for three years.
In 2009, Luke and his wife, Jolene, took a vacation to Tucson which sparked a desire to eventually move to the beautiful Sonoran Desert. Living in Tucson became a reality in December 2014 when they packed everything up the day after Christmas and moved to Tucson with their two young kids to help start a new church in mid-town. Quickly after the move Luke attended the Sweetwater Wetlands walk and began to help lead it on a weekly basis. Along with the weekly Sweetwater field trip, Luke also helped to coordinate the Southeast Arizona Birding Festival and is involved with the Tucson Valley Christmas Bird Count. As the volunteer coordinator he is excited about the many opportunities he will have to motivate the people of Tucson to actively love their city, birds, and the surrounding environment by becoming involved with Tucson Audubon.