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Tucson Audubon Staff

Howard Buchanan, since 2018

Sonoita Creek Watershed Specialist, email
Arizona native Howard was raised, in houses owned by Phelps-Dodge, to appreciate orange juice, hamburgers, cotton clothes, and exploration along the banks of the San Pedro River. Studies in music and computer science led to work in the big city, but the calls of the bosque, the night sky, and ancestral entanglement proved irresistible. Fortunate to have spent much of the past decade outdoors in rural southeast Arizona, he’s been found smashing crawdads, digging Johnsongrass, torturing tamarisk, banding hummingbirds, monitoring sediment flows and water quality, recording soundscapes, and working to facilitate watershed science and share it with the public. He still takes every chance to “be quiet near a little stream and listen”. Although notoriously camera-shy, Howard is believed to have visited wildlife photo traps near Sonoita Creek fairly regularly.

Tony Figueroa, since 2019

Invasive Plant Program Manager, email
CoATIS – Collaborative Audubon Treatment and Inventory Squad, in partnership with the National Park Service’s SouthWest Invasive Plant Management Team, Saguaro National Park, and Fish and Wildlife Service
I’m a Tucson native, born and raised. I’ve lived on the east side of town for the majority of my life and I fell in love with nature through by way of adventuring through Mt. Lemmon and Reddington on my days off. I was always fascinated by plants, animals and rocks, but I didn’t realize that you could find a full time job working in nature until later in life. My wife and I traveled around the country on month-long summer road trips, and it was during these trips that we would keep on ending up in National Parks, monuments and forests, and I had the realization that there are people working in these amazing places, so I said to myself “why don’t I figure out how to get a job that lets me work at these places?” So I went back to school after being a pharmacy technician for 13 years, to get a degree in Natural Resources with an emphasis on Wildlife conservation and management. I graduated in May 2018, and then landed an internship at Saguaro National Park as a member of the invasive plant management crew. Starting this role in the middle of summer in Tucson was only further affirmation that I made the right decision, because even when it’s over 100 degrees out, you’re drenched in sweat and it’s not even noon, I was having the time of my life and didn’t miss being under fluorescent light bulbs one second, even if it had air conditioning. After that I worked at the Grand Canyon as an invasive plant management bio-tech, during the 2019 summer season. Now I’m happy to be back in the place I love, Tucson, working for a great organization. Not many things in life are easy, but chasing your dreams can pay off with hard work and dedication.  When you are working in places that are spectacular and overflowing with natural beauty, it makes you excited to go to work everyday. 

Erica Freese (she/her), since 2022

Grant Development Specialist, email

After 18 years of long winters in Bozeman, Montana, Erica began her migration south to attend school at Colorado State University. She traversed the state for a decade, got blown off course to Argentina and Japan, then once again sought a warmer climate. She moved to Tucson in 2016 to obtain a Master of Public Health from the University of Arizona and, like many, fell in love with the desert. She will be combining her many interests and skills to support Tucson Audubon with grant development. 

Matt Griffiths, since 2007
Communications Coordinator, 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 season 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, Editor-In-Chief of the Vermilion Flycatcher magazine, and he dabbles in social media. 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 son about the biological bounty of the Sonoran desert, and riding one of his many bikes up Mt. Lemmon or across the US.

Kari Hackney, since 2017
Urban Habitat Restoration Manager, 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.

Jonathan Horst (he/him), 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.”

Kirsten Howe (she/her), since 2021
Community Engagement Coordinator, 520-209-1808, email

Kirsten grew up on the east coast, but visited Tucson often throughout her life, falling in love with the Sonoran Desert in the process. After completing her Master’s Degree in Environmental Conservation Education at New York University in 2021, she fulfilled her longtime dream and moved to Tucson with her family. She began volunteering with Tucson Audubon shortly after arriving in Arizona, training to be a field trip leader, and finally becoming part of the team as a staff member in November.

Kirsten’s professional background is in educational program management, including several years of experience managing international exchange programs for students to and from the countries of the post-Soviet Union. (And she herself lived for years in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan!) Kirsten is excited to now use her expertise in program management to further the educational and community engagement initiatives at Tucson Audubon.

In her spare time, Kirsten loves to go birding, hiking, and camping. She is also an artist, specializing in colored pencil, watercolor, and knitting. She lives on the west side of Tucson with her husband and senior dog, Jazzy.

isaiah kortright (they/them), since 2022
In-house Strike Team, email

isaiah was born and raised in Chukson to families with deep local roots. Rockhounding, bone collecting, and relaxing in the shade of a mesquite listening to birds have grounded isaiah in the natural aspects of the Sonoran Desert. However, it was in 2015 while working with the Arizona Conservation Corps that a life-changing set of experiences began. Interacting with incredible people in amazing places, connecting with a simpler way of life, and playing in the dirt (aka trail work and ecosystem restoration) initiated a long-term life and career transformation. Their path included two seasons trailbuilding on the Continental Divide Trail with the US Forest Service in Taos, NM and then working as a field instructor for Ironwood Tree Experience here in Chukson…until the pandemic cut things short. isaiah brings extensive experience with a range of invasive species control techniques and methods, as well as a passion for youth engagement and outdoor participation. These skills and interests promise to make them an organizational asset on multiple fronts.

While not working, they stay involved with a number of youth programs and enjoy being a working musician. Self-expression through music and art, cooking, and being outside provide isaiah fulfilment and keep them grounded. Their motto “…que busca? Tal ves, busca su destino. Tal vez, su destino es buscar”

(English translation: “…what do you seek? Maybe you seek your destiny. Maybe, your destiny is to seek.”)

Rodd Lancaster, since 2002
Field Crew Supervisor, 520 256-6909 (cell), email

Dan Lehman, since 2008

Field Crew

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 ( Dan has worked for Tucson Audubon since 2002.

Ruby Lenertz, since 2021

Youth Engagement Intern, email

Ruby, a born and raised Tucsonan, is a current senior at City High School. She enjoys camping with her family and dogs on Mt Lemmon and the Mogollon Rim. She is a big fan of the monsoon season and any hikes that end with water deep enough to swim in. Because of her connection to the outdoors, Ruby got involved in environmental advocacy in the spring of 2019 after speaking at a town hall meeting urging elected officials to pass comprehensive climate legislation. After that, she proceeded to organize multiple climate strikes and school walkouts. She went on to create a high school student-led climate organizing group and represent Sunrise Tucson at two Sunrise National conferences. Ruby is working with Tucson Audubon to investigate the barriers that youth face when trying to engage in environmental conservation and eventually create a proposal for a youth specific conservation program.

Kim Lopez, since 2017

Finance and Operations Director, 520 629-0510, email

Michael McDonald, since 2022

Executive Director, email

Michael comes to us with several decades of nonprofit experience in Southeast Arizona, most recently as CEO of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. His career includes leadership positions with Habitat for Humanity Tucson, Native Seeds/SEARCH, and the Nature Conservancy.

Michael and his spouse DeAnna, a statistics teacher, enjoy time each week with their children and grandchildren, some of whom are birders and all of whom are environmentalists.

“As I join Tucson Audubon, I’m mindful of all those who’ve come before who have steadfastly done their part to conserve and protect our extraordinary birds and unique ecosystems across our bioculturally diverse borderlands region of the greater Southwest.”

Jennie MacFarland, since 2010

Bird Conservation Biologist, Tucson Bird Count Coordinator 520 617-4502, email

Jennie is a nearly life-long Arizonan that loves exploring different habitats in Southeast Arizona. Birding is an integral part of her social life and work life and much of her free time is spent in the field birding or learning more about birds and their ecosystems. As Conservation Biologist for Tucson Audubon, Jennie coordinates the Arizona Important Bird Areas Program and other bird survey conservation projects. She is also the coordinator for the Tucson Bird Count and organizes several large scale community science efforts in Southeast Arizona each year including Elegant Trogon surveys of five Sky Island mountain ranges, Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo surveys and the Desert Purple Martin Project. Jennie also enjoys sharing the amazing bird life of Southeast Arizona and amazing work of Tucson Audubon Society and frequently gives presentations and online talks on various subjects. 

Kimberly Matsushino, since 2015

Habitat at Home Coordinator, 520 617-4471, email
Kim is a Tucson native who grew up embracing nature and outdoor adventures with her family and dogs. Birds and conservation became Kim’s main focus and interest in college after taking her first ornithology course. After graduating from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Conservation Biology and minor in Music, Kim began volunteering at Saguaro National Park which eventually lead to working for Tucson Audubon.

Janel Miller, since 2021

Retail Manager, email
Originally from Las Vegas, NV, Janel traded one desert landscape for another in July 2020 to start her family. Drawn in by the food, sunsets, and diverse wildlife, Janel is now happy to call Tucson home with her beloved, two dogs, and too many houseplants. She is happy to bring her passion for the natural world and ten years experience in retail management together at the Nature Shop at Tucson Audubon.

Richard Morris, since 2021

Invasive Plant Strike Team, email
CoATIS – Collaborative Audubon Treatment and Inventory Squad, in partnership with the National Park Service’s SouthWest Invasive Plant Management Team, Saguaro National Park, and Fish and Wildlife Service
Originally from Massachusetts, Richard grew up exploring the deciduous forests, salt marshes, and beaches of New England creating a strong foundation and love of nature. After joining the Marine Corps infantry, he was stationed in the Mojave Desert close to Joshua Tree National Park where he found a deep interest in desert plants and wildlife. Following deployments to Yemen and Iraq, Richard moved back to Massachusetts where he earned an associate’s degree in environmental studies. He then transferred to the University of Arizona and graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife conservation and management. In his free time Richard enjoys fly fishing and exploring the Sonoran Desert with his wife and dog.

Ethan Myerson, since 2021

Director of Development & Communications, 520 247-8613, email
Ethan comes to Tucson Audubon with many years of nonprofit fundraising and marketing experience in Tucson. In previous career roles, Ethan has worked as a photographer, illustrator, and web developer. He looks forward to bringing those diverse experiences to his role at Tucson Audubon. He is most excited about sharing the art and science of birds. Originally from New York, Ethan has lived in Tucson for more than 20 years. He shares his home with his partner, their two children, and two cats. When not at work, he enjoys painting, woodworking, and playing games of all kinds.

Ben Parry-Lemon, since 2022

Invasive Plant Strike Team, email

Ben is from a small town in Indiana and went to college in Indiana where he majored in environmental biology. During his time in Indiana he was able to gain a passion for the environment and wildlife. His love for the environment can be specifically linked to exploring his family’s property while growing up and watching all of the different animals stop by. He watched as forests nearby turned into farmland and housing additions destroying the beautiful natural ecosystems which helped him want to join the environmental field of work and help protect natural ecosystems for not only the wildlife, but also future generations to enjoy. After college he spent a year in Nevada serving with the AmeriCorps on two different land restoration projects where he was able to gain hands-on experience in the restoration field of work and further his passion for restoration. During his free time he can be found going on casual hikes in the area admiring the desert ecosystem and exploring the local food scene. Ben is excited to join the Invasive Plant Strike Team and work on bringing back natural habitats for native wildlife and plants while removing invasive plant species here in the greater Tucson area.”

Jenna Rabe, since 2021

In-house Strike Team, email

Jonah Reyes, since 2022

In-house Strike Team, email

Ryan Ritter, since 2021

Communications Manager, email

David Robinson, since 2021

Conservation Advocate, email
A longtime activist, educator, and birder, David has traveled an adventurous path since a suburban New Jersey childhood and his college years at Princeton University. As a twenty-something, while earning an M.F.A in modern dance from New York’s Tisch School of the Arts, followed by an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from U.C. Berkeley, he cut his teeth on grassroots activism with the New York and Golden Gate chapters of ACT UP (The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) and the New York and San Francisco chapters of Queer Nation. Over the ensuing quarter century, David taught English and LGBT Studies at the University of Arizona, attaining the rank of associate professor; co-founded OutRage, a short-lived but impactful queer activist group in Tucson; served as Political Director of SAJE (Strategic Actions for a Just Economy), fighting displacement of low-income communities in rapidly gentrifying Los Angeles neighborhoods; directed the Bay Area work of Keshet, a national nonprofit promoting the full inclusion of LGBTQ Jews in Jewish life; and taught high-school English at The College Preparatory School in Oakland. During the 2020 election season, David co-founded and led Auk the Vote, mobilizing birders to join Get Out The Vote efforts aimed at environmental voters in swing states. That exhilarating and fulfilling experience, in which he first combined his love of birds with a dedication to grassroots activism, led him to join the Board of Golden Gate Audubon, focusing especially on climate-change initiatives, which in turn led to taking the leap into full-time, professional bird-conservation work by becoming Tucson Audubon’s new Conservation Advocate. In his spare time, David will be out birding every chance he gets!

Diana Rosenblum, since 2014

Membership & Development Coordinator, 520 629-0510 x7002, email
Diana is Tucson Audubon’s Membership and Development Assistant. Originally she interned at the Tucson Audubon Society and in 2014 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 during her internship 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.

Dusty Rowen (they/them), since 2021

In-house Strike Team, email
Dusty grew up in Saratoga Springs, New York among the wonders of the Adirondack mountains. Their love for nature and meaningful labor stems from their time spent at YMCA Camp Chingachgook, which they attended as a child and went on to work as a counselor for. After graduating high school in 2016, Dusty moved to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona, where they obtained Bachelor of Arts degrees in Linguistics and French. After a mid-pandemic graduation from college, they felt the need again to do meaningful work outdoors, and joined the Arizona Conservation Corps as an Assistant Crew Leader, where they gained experience in several aspects of conservation. Dusty’s love for working physical jobs outdoors is also inspired by their two summers spent doing volunteer recycling work at Oregon Country Fair and Northwest String Summit, two music festivals in Oregon. The sense of community and mutual goals that they felt at those festivals has stuck with them, helping them realize how much can be accomplished by a cohesive team of hard workers.

Dusty hopes to continue a career in conservation for a long time, and when not out working, enjoys whittling, watching sunsets with friends, and playing video games. They are very excited to do a variety of projects with their crew while being able to revisit sites and view positive change in real time.”

Taylor Rubin, since 2021

Volunteer and Education Manager, 520 209-1810, email

Taylor grew up outside of Washington DC and went to the College of William & Mary where she majored in biological anthropology. After graduating, she took a leap and moved to Argentina working as a field research assistant studying tufted capuchin monkeys. She fell in love with biological field research and moved back to the states to get her master’s degree in neuroscience & animal behavior from Emory University. While she was a graduate student, she had the opportunity to participate in the Roots & Shoots program, which pairs scientists with local elementary schools to give students hands-on lessons about ecology and conservation. Wanting to continue down the path of conservation education, Taylor started working in the education department at Zoo Atlanta. In a lucky twist of fate, Taylor got the opportunity to move into the Bird Department as a keeper at Zoo Atlanta and that’s when her love affair with birds began. She was able to learn a ton about avian biology, behavior, husbandry, and conservation, and also got to relay that information to zoo guests. She was the primary incubation keeper as well as the primary keeper for lappet-faced vultures and Chilean flamingos and will happily talk your ear off about any of those topics if you dare bring them up. Taylor recently moved to Tucson with her husband, cat, and dog and is so excited to work with the wonderful Tucson Audubon Society volunteers and staff and combine her love of birds, conservation, community engagement, and education.

Luke Safford, since 2016

Director of Engagement & Education, 520 209-1811, 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. 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.

Karin Sharp, since 2020

Bookkeeper, email

Karin was raised in Northern California on the coast in a small town called El-Granada. She started working in the family business at 14 and learned almost everything about bookkeeping working there. Her Parents lived in Tubac for 20 years. She visited quite often and fell in love with the area and decided to move to Tucson in 2018.

Jay Snowdon, since 2022

Invasive Plant Project Manager, email

Jay has lived, traveled, birded, and completed conservation projects across the United States. Hailing from Massachusetts, Jay started leading environmental conservation field crews in Vermont starting in 2010 and has developed, designed, and implemented conservation plans and statewide programs throughout the intermountain and mountain west. With a degree in Forestry and Place-Based Education from UVM, Jay has spent lots of time in the woods both academically and professionally and brings a variety of experiences to the Tucson Audubon Society to help further grow and develop the Invasive Plants projects to improve the habitat of some of the world’s most unique birds. When not out birding and educating, you can most likely find Jay riding a bicycle, either for commuting, on the trails, grinding up Mount Lemmon, or getting out and around the Sky Islands for multi-day bikepacking trips (which may include birding, educating, and mapping invasive species, too!).

Furey Stirrat, since 2021

In-house Strike Team, email

Furey is an Arizonan, born in Scottsdale and raised in Tucson. His appreciation for the outdoors has been ingrained since childhood, tagging along with his parents on hikes, day trips, and camping adventures. However, it was Aldo Leopold’s book, Sand County Almanac, that solidified his interest in natural science. Inspired by Leopold’s concept of the “land ethic,” Furey pursued a B.A. in biology at Willamette University in Salem, OR, and conducted fieldwork in Tikaboo Valley, Nevada delving into the mutual obligate pollinator system between Yucca Moths and Joshua Trees. He’s also previously volunteered at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum working with scientists on their pollinator conservation programs and doing community outreach. After graduation, he was back in Tucson for two years before he moved back to Oregon. It was there that he met his partner who would end up getting a job offer…where else? Tucson. At this point, he had been working in retail for three years, and was eager to get back in the field, so he was thrilled to join the Invasive Species Strike Team to fight the good fight against buffelgrass (among many other invasive plants). He feels extremely lucky to be a part of the restoration efforts at Tucson Audubon Society, and enjoys all the critters he sees during his work. In his free time, he loves to do anything on two wheels, whether it’s mountain biking or going for a ride on one of his vintage motor scooters.

Roswitha Tausiani, since 2020

Nature Shop Assistant, email

Roswitha was born and raised in Berlin Germany (“behind the wall”). Besides Berlin, she has lived in Sweden and Turkey, and now calls the US her home, especially Tucson. She worked close to 20 years in the travel industry and LOVES to travel.

The pandemic brought Roswitha to Tucson Audubon where she found a new interest learning about birds and everything that goes along with it. She is grateful for fabulous teachers, the volunteers at the nature shop, and Tucson Audubon staff.

Olya Weekley (Phillips), since 2015

Community Science Coordinator, 520 617-4504, email
Olya was born and raised in Ukraine where her geologist grandmother inspired her great interest in nature. Olya moved to Arizona at the age of 13, excited to eventually get an education in conservation. At University of Arizona she was one of the leading officers in the Fish and Wildlife Society Student Chapter strongly involved in student engagement in current conservation issues. In 2016 she received her Bachelor’s of Science in Natural Resource Management with emphasis on Wildlife Conservation and Management with Summa Cum Laude and an Outstanding Senior Award.

Starting as an intern at Tucson Audubon Society in 2015, Olya is now involved full-time with many conservation and restoration projects and is eager to continue her journey here.

Cally Wilken, since 2022

Mitigation Program Manager, email

Cally was born far from the desert in Fort Wayne, Indiana where she grew up spending summers and weekends at nearby lakes with friends and family and exploring creeks near her house with her two little sisters. Through this she developed an early love and curiosity for freshwater systems and she eventually went on to study water resources, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Management and dual Master’s Degrees in Public Affairs and Environmental Science from Indiana University Bloomington. A summer job collecting water samples on lakes throughout Indiana solidified her decision to have a career in aquatic science, a choice that soon led her to Tucson Audubon Society to help manage stream restoration projects in and around the city. While new to the area as of 2022, she took quickly to the desert and is excited to help protect and restore some of its valuable aquatic resources and to help improve bird habitat in the process. When she’s not working, Cally enjoys rock climbing, hiking, spending time with her friends, her partner, and her rescue cat, doing pottery, and practicing her birding skills to be able to eventually fit in with her bird-crazy coworkers.

Jaemin Wilson, since 2020

CoATIS Lead, email
CoATIS – Collaborative Audubon Treatment and Inventory Squad, in partnership with the National Park Service’s SouthWest Invasive Plant Management Team, Saguaro National Park, and Fish and Wildlife Service
Originally hailing from Michigan, Jaemin has been getting to know the southwest, and Tucson, since 2015. After participating in the Phoenix Field School in 2016, Jaemin found a love for the desert and a passion for conservation work. After many internships and time spent in programs with Arizona Conservation Corps and Saguaro National Park, she found her niche in vegetation management and learning about plants. When not out in the field putting the hurt on invasive plants, Jaemin enjoys camping/hiking with her partner and their dog, finding new places to explore, and riding her motorcycle.

Matthew Wonsik, since 2021

In-house Strike Team, email
Matt was born and raised in the small town of Hebron, Connecticut, where he fostered his interest in wildlife by immersing himself in the nature around him. Since graduating from Unity College in 2016 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Wildlife Biology, he has moved around from place to place focusing his efforts on habitat restoration and conservation efforts in states such as New York, Nevada, Connecticut, and Arizona, working for many non-profit organizations and state departments. The combination of all these experiences eventually led him to the Tucson Audubon Society. While not in the field, Matt can be found at the nearest brewery trying out new brews, volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation facility in Phoenix, going hiking with his adorable little mutt, and having nightmares about invasive plant species.

Tasha Youngs, since 2021

In-house Strike Team, email

Born in Johnson City, New York, Tasha grew up in a very outdoorsy and adventurous home. She grew up loving science and the unknown, and always carried a book in her hand. She graduated high school and was unsure about what major she should choose, so she picked Liberal Arts for her Associate’s degree. Then Tasha went on to SUNY Oneonta for a degree in Occupational Therapy, but once she took her first specialized biology course she was hooked and decided to switch her major to Biology. From there, she choose Botany as a specification and took higher level courses, along with some she found interesting. She gained her Open Water SCUBA Certification, Advanced Open Water SCUBA Certification, and just recently, her Ice Diver SCUBA Certification. After graduating, Tasha accepted an internship with the Huron-Manistee National Forest on their Invasive Plant Management team, and recognized the importance of the job for not only the environment, but the community. She later worked as a Forestry Recreation Technician for the forest after the internship, came back home to Johnson City, and moved to Syracuse. Then the pandemic hit, and she spent as much time outside as possible, learning new species in her city and learning to crochet again. Tasha got a job at a Garden Center and Plant Nursery, and furthered her knowledge with landscaping design and the nursery stock requirements. Then she decided that she had put up with enough snow, and applied to the Tucson Audubon Society’s Invasive Strike Team. So she packed her bags, and moved across the country on a grand adventure.

Erin Zylstra, since 2021

Quantitative Ecologist, 520 617-4481, email

Erin is originally from Michigan but is happy to call Tucson home after living here more than 20 years. Erin earned graduate degrees in Wildlife Ecology and Statistics from the University of Arizona, focusing on the ecology of amphibians and reptiles in the Sonoran Desert. After graduate school, Erin headed up research on monarch butterflies in the eastern U.S., using vast amounts of data collected by volunteers throughout the midwestern U.S. and southern Canada to identify the drivers of recent population declines. Erin spends much of her free time hiking and birding in southern Arizona, and is excited to focus on bird conservation and research with Tucson Audubon. 


Tucson Audubon Society
300 E University Blvd. #120 Tucson, AZ 85705

Mason Center
3835 W Hardy Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85742

Paton Center for Hummingbirds
477 Pennsylvania Ave.
Patagonia, AZ 85624
520 415-6447


Tucson Audubon Society
300 E University Blvd. #120
Tucson, AZ 85705

Mason Center
3835 W Hardy Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85742

Paton Center for Hummingbirds
477 Pennsylvania Ave.
Patagonia, AZ 85624
520 415-6447


Tucson Audubon Society
300 E University Blvd. #120
Tucson, AZ 85705

Mason Center
3835 W Hardy Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85742

Paton Center for Hummingbirds
477 Pennsylvania Ave.
Patagonia, AZ 85624
520 415-6447