2021 WOS Election

All candidates nominated for officer and board positions were elected during the September 6 – 27, 2021 voting period. Their new terms begin October 1, 2021. Here are the vote totals:

  • President Jennifer Kauffman: 52 votes
  • Vice President David Armstrong: 52 votes
  • Treasurer Bob Schmidt: 52 votes
  • Secretary Jon Houghton: 51 votes
  • Returning Board member Ed Pullen: 51 votes
  • Returning Board Member Matt Yawney: 51 votes
  • New Board Member Dave Kreft: 51 votes
Note: There were no write-in votes.

Please see the pictures and candidate statements of our newly elected WOS Officers and Board members below.

President Jennifer Kauffman, Vice President David Armstrong and Secretary Jon Houghton have been elected to second one-year terms. Grace Oliver served two years as treasurer and is departing. Bob Schmidt has been elected to replace her. Continuing Board Members Kim Thorburn and Jason Fidorra will be starting the second year of their two- year-terms so were not included in this election. Bob Flores served two terms and is leaving the board. David Kreft has been elected to that position. Ed Pullen has been elected to a second two-year term. Matt Yawney has completed the last year of Will Brooks’ term and has been elected to a new two-year term.

Jennifer Kauffman – President

Jennifer has served as WOS president for the past year and is running for a second term. She is looking forward to continuing work with fellow Board members on conference planning and building membership in eastern Washington. Jennifer served as WOS Vice President for two years before becoming president last year, and has worked on the independent financial review, organizational procedures and volunteer recruitment. She has been a member of WOS for more than six years and has thoroughly enjoyed many field trips and annual conferences across the state. She appreciates the opportunity to contribute her organizational and leadership skills to the organization.

Jennifer grew up in Ohio exploring birds and nature. She studied environmental science and water resources management in college and graduate school. She was an environmental and public outreach consultant for more than 20 years, and then spent 15 years with King County managing wastewater capital projects. She retired from King County in 2016.

Jennifer completed the Seattle Audubon Master Birder class in 2017. She is a past Seattle Audubon board member, and continues to support its outreach, operations and science programs. She also served on the Vestry (board) at her church and volunteers at programs to feed the hungry. Jennifer and her husband Jerry live in Seattle.

David Armstrong – Vice President

Hello WOS membership: I am honored to be considered for a second term as vice-president of WOS. I have a long background in natural history as a fishery biologist from undergraduate days at UC Irvine to PhD at UC Davis. Since 1978, I was a tenured professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, UW, and served as Director the last 14 years until retirement in 2014. My research and teaching specialties primarily covered invertebrate taxa, which led to many projects along the Pacific coast from CA into the Bering Sea.

Deep interest in birds began about 20 years ago when my wife and I began extensive sea kayaking and realized it was a fantastic way to see birds up close. Since then, we have traveled from Alaska through South America, on to Antarctica to view the amazing diversity of birds, their ecology, and habitats. I thought I was a good birder, and then took Dennis Paulson’s Master Birding class two years ago. I learned so much from him; maybe now I am a better birder but realize how much there is to still learn. WOS is a wonderful format for ongoing education that’s provided, in part, by the great monthly speakers.

Bob Schmidt – Treasurer

Photo of Bob Schmidt

Greetings from Hansville Washington. My name is Bob Schmidt, and I am a nominee for WOS Treasurer. My good friends Grace and Ollie Oliver think that my software engineering experience will let me shine in this position, though I must admit that my last treasurer position was in Boy Scouts. I do have some experience with QuickBooks, Excel, and financial reporting so I think I will be OK.

While I have been a WOS member off and on since about 2005, I was not always active due family and work commitments. However, I have never stopped enjoying birds since my Ornithology class at Ohio University in 1976 and even earlier casually birding with my sister when there were no snakes, lizards, turtles, or frogs around. I have also been active in various Audubon organizations dating back to a memorable CBC in Stuart, Florida around 1977 when I spotted some Smooth-billed Anis. 

Now that I am retired, vaccinated, and revived, I hope to be more active with WOS activities and contribute to the organization, especially if I can work remotely from home and while travelling. I plan to attend the WOS/OBA Joint Annual Conference in September and look forward to seeing old and new friends.

Jon Houghton – Secretary

Photo of Jon Houghton

I have recently (mostly) retired after over 45 years as a consulting marine biologist in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. During this time, I had the great privilege of studying aquatic and marine life (including birds) in some of the most gorgeous places on the planet. I began birding at the age of about 3 when my mother took me on Audubon bird trips in Vermont and began my introduction to amazing naturalists and birds. (I still have my 1956 checklist of 97 birds in the state of Vermont) Since the kids went off on their own, my wife and I have spent a lot of our leisure time birding in the US and around the world. I was fortunate to be accepted to and complete the Master Birder program with the 2013 class and transitioned from being a bird watcher, to becoming a birder. Over the last 7 years I’ve enjoyed leading field trips for Seattle Audubon and working on the SAS Conservation Committee.

Ed Pullen – Returning Board Member

Candidate Ed Pullen is a longtime WOS member and Puyallup/Tacoma area birder. He is a semi-retired family physician and now has time to serve on the WOS board of trustees if elected. He is active in the Tahoma Audubon Society and the Tacoma area ABC Birding Club, as well as in the South Hill Rotary. He has trustee experience with the Good Samaritan Hospital board of trustees as well as serving as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sound Family Medicine for over a decade.

Matt Yawney – Returning Board Member

Sixteen years ago, I was living in Michigan and got some binoculars for Christmas, intended for star-gazing. By February I had turned my binoculars to the birds and had mostly forgotten about the stars. I wasn’t always busy at work and spent my downtime studying my field guides and then I would go birding whenever I had a chance. A few birders back in Michigan also helped me along.

In 2009 our family moved to Ephrata, WA. I remember looking at my field guides back in Michigan and noticing how many of the Washington bird’s ranges made a little circle around central Washington, and it felt like I was moving to a birding dead-zone. Thankfully, that was not the case, and Grant County has turned out to be a pretty neat place to be a birder. I’ve been in Ephrata for about 11 years now and have found some favorite spots to go birding and spend most of my time birding locally. I’m currently undertaking my third county big year for Grant County, and hoping to break my last record of 244 species (back in 2018). I do love our amazing state though and really enjoy visiting other areas and often combine birding with backpacking. I’ve made birding trips to several US states, and Canadian provinces and have also gone birding in Costa Rica, Ecuador and Thailand.

David Kreft – Incoming Board Member Candidate

Photo of David Kreft

Greetings from beautiful northeast Washington. My name is Dave Kreft, and I am a nominee for a Director position on the WOS Board. I have been a member of WOS for only a few years and greatly respect those members who have been around far longer, some since the beginning of the organization. I commend their foresight and resolve to form and sustain this organization through the years.

I am recently retired from a 39-year career with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. I worked with farmers, ranchers, small forestland owners, American Indian Tribes, non-governmental organizations, and various local, state, and federal agencies to promote and implement sound conservation practices on private and tribal lands. I worked primarily in eastern Washington but spent the last seven and a half years coordinating the agency’s conservation easement programs across the entire state. Though originally an Iowa farm boy I did my growing up years in the Puget Sound area. The Edmonds marsh was my first introduction to birding when I attended high school at the then Woodway Senior High School. I went on to attend Washington State University and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Range Management (’80). Go Cougs!

I have attended exactly one in-person meeting of WOS at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Dennis Paulson was speaking, and it was packed. Due to my location in the far flung reaches of the state I became one of the early adopters of the remote viewing options through the GoToMeeting platform (kudos to Elaine!). I see the growth and future viability of the organization in our ability to adapt to the changing times, to effectively recruit new members from across the state, and to bring on the next two generations of birders, conservationists, and aspiring ornithologists. I am on the planning team for the 2022 WOS annual meeting in Spokane and look forward to showing many of you my corner of the state. All of that being said, it would be my great honor to serve on the WOS Board as a Director from eastern Washington.

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