2022 Nominees for WOS Officer and Board Positions
Please see the pictures and birding biographies of our new slate of WOS Officers and Board members below. Cast your vote during the voting period September 4 – 27, 2022. More details about voting will be posted just before the voting period. Elected board members and officers begin their terms October 1, 2022.
The candidates are as follows:
President Jennifer Kauffman, after serving two one-year terms as vice president and two one-year terms as president, is leaving the board. Vice President David Armstrong, after serving two one-year terms, also departs. No one has volunteered to replace Jennifer, so the president position is open. (Please email the board at email@example.com if you wish to serve as president.) David Kreft, who has served one year of a two-year term as board member, is running for a one-year term as vice president. Secretary Jon Houghton is running for his third one-year term. Treasurer Bob Schmidt is running for his second one-year term.
Running to replace Board Member Kim Thorburn, who has served two two-year terms and is leaving the board, is new candidate Maureen Traxler. Jason Fidorra has served one two-year term and also will leave. New candidate Laurie Ness has volunteered to run for Jason’s position. Jody Hess is a new candidate running for the remaining year in Dave Kreft’s board position.
Board Members Matt Yawney and Ed Pullen each have one year remaining on their terms and are not part of this election.
President – Open
David Kreft – Vice President
Greetings from beautiful northeast Washington. My name is Dave Kreft, and I am a nominee for WOS Vice President. 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!
Because of my location in the far flung reaches of the state I became one of the early adopters of the remote viewing options for the monthly meeting, initially via GoToMeeting and now Zoom (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 was on the planning team for the 2022 WOS annual meeting in Spokane and enjoyed showing many of you my corner of the state. It would be my great honor to serve as Vice President.
Bob Schmidt – Treasurer
I have been a WOS member off and on since about 2005. I was not always active due to 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.
My first term as WOS Treasurer has been an interesting and fulfilling learning experience. It is great to be more active and contributing to WOS, especially at the Spokane Conference this year. I believe I have started to make some of our financial systems more accurate, reliable, and auditable. In the future, I am hoping these systems can also become more integrated and streamlined, with the goal that trustworthy and timely financials will help our officers and board make the best decisions to serve the WOS community.
Jon Houghton – Secretary
I 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 10 years I’ve enjoyed leading field trips for Seattle Audubon and serving as the WOS Secretary for the entire COVID era. After a successful convention in Spokane Valley, I look forward to a resumption of in-person meetings!
Maureen Traxler – New Board Member
Greetings WOS members. Thanks for considering me for a seat on the WOS Board! I moved to Washington in 1980 to attend UW and immediately felt at home. Birds, especially seabirds, caught my interest when I started sea kayaking in the 1990s. I took a detour from birding into butterflies for several years, helping the brand-new Washington Butterfly Association by serving as president, VP, newsletter editor, silent auction organizer, and field trip leader.
In 2016, I retired from a long career with the city of Seattle and became a more serious birder. I’m currently supporting Seattle Audubon by serving on the classes committee, participating in Puget Sound Seabird Survey and the Seattle Bird Collision Monitoring study. I’m also an enthusiastic supporter of Puget Sound Bird Observatory, and enjoy its Secretive Wetland Bird Survey and Edmonds Marsh Monitoring projects.
I look forward to working with WOS’s impressive Board and supporting its important programs. It’s gratifying to have a chance to participate where I hope my experience and aptitude can make a contribution.
Laurie Ness – New Board Member
Laurie Ness is an eastern Washington native. She is an outdoor enthusiast, who currently enjoys county birding, backpacking and recording bird sounds for the Macaulay Library/eBird. Laurie’s deep regard for nature led her to a wildlife degree and many years of paid and volunteer field work focused on birds.
As a field biologist, Laurie conducted surveys for threatened and endangered species, including Mexican Spotted Owl telemetry in Zion National Park and for Northern Spotted Owls, Peregrine Falcons and Northern Goshawks on the Klamath and Wenatchee National Forests.
Laurie later specialized in seabirds, spending two summers on the remote Pribilof Islands, first as a natural history and birding guide, then as a Seabird Biologist for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, where she recorded chick growth rates of both Kittiwake species and nesting success for Murre and Auk species.
Laurie then transitioned from paid wildlife biologist to business owner, establishing her own successful pet care business in the Tri-Cities. Before and after retiring, Laurie has worked tirelessly with and for wildlife. Her sense of adventure and her compassion for birds shines through.
Jody Hess – New Board Member
I live in Fircrest, Washington. My first birding memory is of a Blue Jay nesting in the maple tree outside my bedroom window when I was 7 years old. Years later I took my students to Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge after one serious young man asked, “Ms. Hess, what do you do with the birds after you catch them?” Birding is for anyone, anywhere, anytime and continues to hold my interest and challenge me.