About Us

Audubon New York Staff & Bios

Learn more about our staff!

Zachary Boerman, Forest Program Associate, Albany Office

Zack believes in the strong connection between bird habitat restoration and sustainable forest management. As a native of Rochester NY, the nearby Adirondack Mountains became an early inspiration to conserve our natural habitat. These experiences led him to pursue an AAS in Forest Technology from the SUNY Ranger School and a BS in Forest Resource Management from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Zack then headed west to hone his field skills in California with the US Forest Service before working as an operations forester throughout New England. He is dedicated to promoting the many benefits of active forest management on private lands in northeast forests. When Zack isn’t out enjoying the Adirondacks, he spends his free time cooking, skiing, and seeing live music.

Mike Burger, Executive Director​, Ithaca Office - at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Mike has been with Audubon New York since 1999, first as Forest Ecologist, then Director of Bird Conservation, and most recently as Director of Conservation & Science before being promoted to Managing Director in 2018. Based at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, Mike is responsible for day-to-day management of Audubon New York staff and programs, including conservation, policy, communications, administration, and centers and education. Additionally, Mike helps coordinate Audubon’s Healthy Forests Initiative in the Atlantic Flyway. Prior to coming to Audubon, Mike earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Michigan where he studied climatic and physiological determinants of bird ranges and was supported by a Department of Energy Global Change Fellowship.

Sharon Bruce, Communications Manager, Albany Office

I’m a believer in the power of the people and the superpower of words to change the world. I honed my strategic skill set managing marketing, PR, branding, and communications campaigns for a range of nonprofits with BC/DC Ideas, a creative agency in North Carolina. I learned how to listen, organize and advocate with Freelancers Union in NYC, and pitch wild ideas to media with JDub Records. In my not-so-spare time I cook, hike, garden, read, and bake.

Shelby Casas, Coast Program Associate, Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center

For three years prior to her role with Audubon New York, Shelby worked with Audubon Connecticut as a seasonal Coastal Waterbird technician. She is originally from Texas and went to the first public all women’s school in the state of Texas. She started her birding journey at Clarkson University studying Golden-winged Warblers in Northern New York and even spent a semester living in Saranac Lake where she took part in an immersive learn experience about the Adirondacks. It was there that she developed an interest in hiking, and has since been  working on her 46 Adirondack High Peaks. She is passionate about shorebird conservation and is excited to explore Long Island.

Kathryn D’Amico, Center Director, Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center

Kathryn grew up on the south shore of Long Island. She was always fascinated with the balance of nature. After an earlier career in business and having a family, she returned to school. She graduated from SUNY ESC with a BS in Environmental Science, with the focus of her work on Ecology. She lived in Austin, Texas where she worked at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center first in membership and later on a grant program researching invasive plant species. Kathryn then began volunteering on many habitat restoration projects, as well as native plant projects and vegetation surveys.

After moving back to her hometown on Long Island, she began volunteering for Audubon. This led her to a position at TR Sanctuary & Audubon Center, where she could combine her environmental education and her business background. In her spare time, Kathryn enjoys spending time with her husband and four daughters hiking, camping, going to the beach, and of course bird-watching!

Alyssa Johnson, Environmental Educator, Montezuma Audubon Center

Alyssa discovered her passion for conservation while working summers at a girls camp in Raquette Lake, NY. She graduated from Finger Lakes Community College with dual degrees: an AS in Environmental Studies and an AAS in Natural Resources Conservation. Next, she transferred to SUNY Cobleskill where she received her BT in Wildlife Management. Throughout her time in college, Alyssa was an avid volunteer with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. She was also an involved member of The Wildlife Society student chapters, serving as club President and Historian and presenting an undergraduate research project on black bear communications at one of the annual national conferences.

Alyssa’s path to the Montezuma Audubon Center has been scenic, including internships with the USFWS in Alaska, Alabama, and the Florida Keys, an internship managing big game data in Albany with the NYSDEC, a year of AmeriCorps VISTA where she served at two community-action non-profits, and returning to FLCC to work in the very department she graduated from years before. While at Audubon, Alyssa hopes to engage, inspire, and educate children and other members of her community to love and appreciate the resources that we are responsible for conserving. In her free time, Alyssa loves hiking with her golden retriever Addie, cooking, camera trapping, and exploring the Finger Lakes, which she calls home.

Chris Lajewski, Center Director, Montezuma Audubon Center

Chris Lajewski is a passionate conservationist and birder. A native of Pittsford, NY, Chris began his career with Audubon NY in November 2010 as the Montezuma Audubon Center’s Education Manager and he was promoted to Center Director in July 2014. He graduated with honors from SUNY Albany with a Bachelor's of Science degree in geology and obtained a Master's of Science degree in geology from Syracuse University where he researched human impacts on the Finger Lakes. After college, he worked for an environmental consulting firm, the National Park Service's George Washington Memorial Parkway, the Walker Nature Center, and the Central and Western NY Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Chris is a proud husband and father and enjoys hiking, fishing, camping, and swimming with his wife and children.

Lily Lasovick, For the Birds! Educator, New York City

Lily is a native New Yorker and grew up appreciating wildlife and plants. She attended Rutgers University where she majored in psychology and minored in biology. During her senior year, she fell in love with birds while taking an ornithology course. After graduating, she joined AmeriCorps as a Mental Health First Aid Instructor and started volunteering at Audubon NY. As a FTB! educator she hopes to connect NYC kids to the nature around them. In her free time, she enjoys birdwatching in Central Park, drawing, and baking.

Eric Lind, Director of Community Science & Restoration, Albany Office

Based at the Audubon New York state office in Albany, Eric’s primary role is to advance the practice of conservation through the intersection of education, engagement, and action. Prior to this position, he served as the Director of Community Science and Restoration for Audubon New York, applying his years of experience in field research, habitat restoration, aquatic studies, and environmental impact review. Eric is also an award-winning conservation photographer and avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoys biking, wilderness camping, canoeing, and kayaking.

Jillian Liner, Director of Conservation

Based at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, NY, Jillian leads conservation programs to improve the health and resiliency of New York’s priority coastal habitats, forests, waterways, and associated species. She co-authored Important Bird Areas of New York: Habitats Worth Protecting and works closely with state and federal partners, other NGOs, and Audubon Chapters across the state to protect birds and critical habitats through management, advocacy, outreach, and monitoring. Prior to joining Audubon in 2001, Jillian worked on a variety of research projects in Florida, Minnesota, Montana, and Vermont, studying the distribution, migration, and breeding territories of raptors. She also assisted NGOs and state agencies with landscape inventories and developing conservation plans. Jillian earned her Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude in biology from Skidmore College and a Master of Science in Ecological Planning from the University of Vermont’s School of Natural Resources. Whenever she can, Jillian loves spending time outdoors hiking, skiing, or biking with her husband and two sons.

Daphne M. Lumpkin, Office Manager & Meeting Coordinator, Albany Office

Daphne is a native of Albany and a graduate of Bryant & Stratton Business Institute. Before Audubon, she worked with child support services, a division of Lockheed Martin IMS for 5 years. She has been with Audubon since 1997 when she was hired as an Administrative Assistant and is currently the Office Manager and Meeting Coordinator. Daphne also does all the designing and layouts for our publications and event invitations. In her spare time, she enjoys writing poetry, swimming, cooking, and various volunteer work for her church.

Laura McCarthy, Network Engagement Manager​, Albany Office

Laura oversees the grassroots efforts of the conservation and policy programs of Audubon New York and works very closely with the 27 Audubon Chapters in New York. She grew up in the woods and fields of Central New York and graduated from St. Lawrence University in 2004. Before starting with Audubon in 2007, Laura worked in preschool nature education in Vermont and with the New York advocacy organization, Citizens Environmental Coalition (CEC), where she focused on pollution prevention and residential green building, authoring "The World at Home: A Household Guide to Building Green." Laura currently lives in Albany where she enjoys shopping at farmers markets, playing all kinds of sports, making all types of art, and hiking up mountains in summer and fall while skiing down them in winter and early spring. She’s also closing in on her 46 Adirondack High Peaks.

Erin McGrath, Policy Manager, Albany Office

Erin serves as Audubon New York's Policy Manager and brings over a decade of experience in government relations to Audubon. Her work focuses on analyzing complex legislative, regulatory, and budgetary issues and advocating for Audubon’s policy priorities before the New York State and federal governments. Prior to joining Audubon, Erin worked as an advisor at one of Albany’s top ten lobbying firms where she represented clients before the New York State Legislature, Executive Chamber, and State Agencies. She graduated from Elmira College with a Bachelors in American Studies and Political Science and received her Masters in Political Science from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University of Albany.

Rich Merritt, Director of Operations and Administration, Albany Office

Rich began working for Audubon in 1998 and he handles the finances and administration for the state program as well as centers oversight, information systems, human resources, grant processing, and pretty much all the stuff that nobody else wants to do. He travels often in search of birds. In his spare hours, Rich enjoys hiking, campfire gatherings, birding, skiing, laughing, singing, cooking, and hugs.

Kristin Moore, Environmental Educator, Seneca Meadows Education Center

An active, joyful life along Lake Ontario led Kristen Moore to pursue her interdisciplinary education in Media Arts and Adventure Education at Green Mountain College. Recreation, service, and education are key components to her programs, seeking to help others establish bonds with nature and establish conservation ethics. From stream cleanups and yoga hikes to the largest simultaneous testing for microplastics in our Great Lakes, Kristen continues to work for our shared spaces.

Yamina Nater-Otero, For the Birds! Educator, New York City

A lifelong animal lover, Yamina took the scenic route on her journey to conservation and sustainability. After getting a BA in Classical Studies, she spent 8 years working with special needs children both as an educator and a nanny. During that time she discovered her love of nature and eventually entered the Environmental Education MA program at Montclair State University. While working on her degree she served with Americorps for a year and taught at the School of Conservation in Stokes State Forest. She is excited to put her passions for sustainability, community outreach, and social justice to good use at the Audubon. In her free time, she enjoys consuming far too much pop culture and spending time with her two Boston Terriers.

Julie Nelsen, Education Manager, Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center

Julie graduated from York College in Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Business and Marketing. After graduation, she went into the AmeriCorp Western Region NCCC and participated in forestry work, special needs projects for children, and childhood education programming.

Due to her inspirational experiences with AmeriCorp, she discovered in her heart she wanted to go back to school for a Masters in Childhood Education. Julie holds a Professional Certification in Childhood Education from NYS. She has taught in both the public school setting as well as on the water and beach as a marine science Education Director for a not-for-profit marine education center. She loves both teaching children and being outdoors!

Marisa Rader, Fundraising Events Manager, New York City

As the Fundraising Events Associate, Marisa is responsible for planning and executing the annual Keesee Awards Luncheon, Young Members Event, and meetings, activities, and events of the Women in Conservation program, including the annual Luncheon. Prior to joining Audubon New York, Marisa worked as the Development Associate for Central Synagogue, a vibrant, Reform congregation in Midtown Manhattan. A native of Los Angeles, Marisa graduated from the Joint Program with Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, earning a B.A. in American Studies and a B.A. in Modern Jewish Studies. Marisa is an enthusiastic conservationist, including filling her beloved composting bin in the backyard, and enjoys exploring New York City, trying new recipes with local, sustainable ingredients, and playing with all of the friendly dogs during walks in Central Park.

Richard Santangelo, Program Director - For the Birds! New York City

A former elementary school teacher and Peace Corps Volunteer, Rich is responsible for promoting the growth and implementation of the For the Birds! program across the five boroughs of New York City. Rich holds a Bachelor’s of Education from William Paterson University and a Master’s of Science in Environmental Education and Ecology from the Florida Institute of Technology. Rich also serves as Field Trip Chair for his local Audubon Chapter in New Jersey.

Rebecca Schultz, Education Manager, Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary

Rebecca has a MA in Environmental Conservation Education from NYU and BA in Cultural Anthropology. She has served as a US Peace Corps volunteer, working as a Youth Developer in the central region of Ukraine. Coming to us most recently from the NYC Soil and Water Conservation District, Rebecca uses her professional background, multiple talents, and love of the natural world to coordinate and implement meaningful education programs. Her main goal is to develop education and citizen-science programs on and off-site that exchange knowledge, foster appreciation, and further develop an ethic of conservation within the community.

Suzanne Treyger, Forest Program Manager, Ithaca – Cornell Lab of Ornithology

As Forest Program Manager, Suzanne promotes sustainable forestry practices on private and public land by providing outreach and technical assistance to landowners and land managers. This is an important part of a greater effort to improve forest habitat along the Atlantic Flyway for focal bird species in decline. Prior to joining Audubon New York, Suzanne worked for YardMap, a citizen science project at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Suzanne was also the Stewardship Project Coordinator for New Jersey Audubon, where she managed public and private lands to enhance and restore habitat for species of conservation concern. She has also worked for the Smithsonian Institution and the New Hampshire Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program. A native of central New York, she has a BS in Wildlife Management from the University of New Hampshire, and a MS from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Forest and Natural Resources Management, where her research focused on invasive species management issues on private lands in the Adirondack State Park. Suzanne enjoys being outdoors alongside her husband, daughter, and dog.

David Wheeler, Warden/Sanctuary Manager, Rheinstrom Hill Audubon Center and Sanctuary

Dave worked for Mr. Rheinstrom before it became an Audubon Sanctuary and is the longest-tenured employee of Audubon New York. His trail care and carpentry skills are utilized regularly at Centers throughout the state. In his free time, Dave enjoys fishing.

How you can help, right now