WOS 2023-2024 election results are in
120 WOS members voted in the recent election of officers and board members. The two-week voting period concluded at the end of the day February 10, 2024. Here’s how the voting went:
- President – Dave Kreft: 115
- Treasurer – Bob Schmidt: 117
- Secretary – Sophia Krupsha: 114
- Returning Board Member – Jon Houghton: 115
- Returning Board Member – Jody Hess: 113
- New Board Member – Raphael Fennimore: 115
The vice president position had no candidate, but, as with all positions, voters had the opportunity to write in names. Three persons each received one write-in vote for vice president. They are: Elaine Chuang, Ed Pullen, and Jim Danzenbaker. The board will decide how to proceed on filling in that position.
The next election of officers and board candidates will occur at the regular time in September 2024.
2023 is drawing to a close and WOS has not held its annual Board elections as laid out in WOS By Laws. As a temporary fix to get us to our 2024 regular election cycle, the current Board is announcing an interim election to fill needed positions so that WOS can continue to conduct business. In light of the need to have the interim board in place, there will only be a 30-day notice of the election period and a two-week period to cast votes online. The next notice of elections will be issued in July 2024 with elections held in September 2024, as per regular order. New officers and directors elected at that time will begin their terms October 1, 2024.
Candidates for the interim election were announced on December 28, 2023; the voting period begins after midnight Sunday, January 28, 2024 and continues for two weeks, ending at midnight February 10, 2024.
President – Dave Kreft has completed one year in the position and is running for a second term.
Vice President – This office is currently vacant as Ed Pullen has stepped down after filling the position on an interim basis. At this time, there is no nominee for the position. If no qualified write-in candidate comes forward the board can appoint someone as stipulated in the By Laws.
Secretary – Jon Houghton has completed his final year of eligibility to be WOS Secretary. Sophia Krupsha, currently the WOS Social Media Coordinator, has graciously volunteered to run for the position.
Treasurer – Bob Schmidt is running for his third and final one-year term. Thank you, Bob!
Directors – Ed Pullen and Matt Yawney have completed their terms and are stepping down. Jody Hess is running for a second term after completing a 1-year term filling a board vacancy. Jon Houghton is running for a 2-yr term as a director. Raphael Fennimore is running for a 2-year term, as well. Current directors, Maureen Traxler and Laurie Ness, each have one year remaining on their current terms.
Please see the pictures and birding biographies of our WOS Board nominees below.
David Kreft – President, 1-year Term
Greetings from beautiful northeast Washington. My name is Dave Kreft, and I am a nominee for WOS President. I have been the WOS President for the past year and would like to finish my second term before handing the position over. My goal is to finish planning and accomplishing the 2024 WOS Annual Conference in Long Beach, WA, and begin the planning for the 2025 annual conference. WOS as an organization is strong financially and is on the road to revitalizing our outreach to the next generation of new birders. We are expanding our social media footprint to reach that generation and draw them into our shared passion for birds and birding. We still have many opportunities to bring in new volunteers to fill critical positions within WOS that help us to be effective and efficient.
I am 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!/p>
Vice President – 1-year Term, no nominee
Bob Schmidt – Treasurer, 1-year Term
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 two terms as WOS Treasurer have been an interesting and fulfilling learning experience. It is great to be more active and contributing to WOS, especially at the Spokane Conference in 2022. I have implemented some changes to our financial systems to make them 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.
Sophia Krupsha – Secretary, 1-year Term
Hello there! My name is Sophia Krupsha, and I am running for the position of secretary. Throughout my life I have been fascinated by birds, but that curiosity was amplified when I moved to Washington a little over a year and a half ago. Despite being a newer resident and member of WOS, I have taken every opportunity to expand my knowledge of our beautiful state’s biological diversity through extensive trips to all corners of Washington. Some of my favorite memories and learning experiences over the past year have been because of fellow birdwatchers I’ve met during these excursions. Because of this, I am eager to share this sense of community and environmental conservatorship with others.
As a candidate for the position of secretary, I am prepared to present a new perspective and a passion for fostering a vibrant community. My focus will be on actively building upon our current member base by promoting events and our educational initiatives. I aim to expand our club’s reach and recognition through social media outreach, volunteering, and assisting the leadership of WOS in creating a welcoming environment for old and new members alike. Let’s soar to new heights together and create a thriving community that embraces the science of conservation and the joy of birdwatching!
Jon Houghton – Director, 2-year Term
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!
Jody Hess – Director, 2-year Term
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.
Raphael Fennimore – Director, 2-year Term
Hello WOS! My name is Raphael Fennimore and I greatly appreciate this nomination from Ed Pullen to serve on the WOS Board. My partner and I moved from Boston, MA, to Normandy Park, WA, in late 2020 and I have really enjoyed birding local areas and being a WOS member these past few years.
I was raised in a coastal town in Maine and did my undergraduate and graduate work in Boston studying marine science, environmental science, and marine science technologies. My primary interest has been in the research and conservation of whales, dolphins, and porpoises, and I have been fortunate to have tagged large whales for NOAA (Humpback and Fin whales), to have worked internationally on 4 continents on whale conservation programs, and to have helped lead a whale-focused expedition in Antarctica in 2019 as a guide for Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris. I have also had the pleasure of serving on the Boards of several conservation and education non-profits, similar to WOS, and I have helped establish a few of these NGOs in various states as well.
Regarding birds, I began doing offshore seabird surveys for NOAA 6 years ago and began birding as a hobby around that time as well. After moving to Washington, I challenged myself to a birding ‘Big Year’ in King County in 2021, and since then I have worked locally as a Protected Species Observer for several environmental companies. This summer I led a Marbled Murrelet surveying team here in King County, and although we did not detect any evidence of nesting locally, the MAMU surveyor certification at their nesting sites in the redwoods of California was truly unforgettable.
Thank you for reading this little bit about me, and I look forward to contributing to WOS as a member of the Board!