Golden Gate Audubon’s Board of Directors meets the fourth Tuesday of January, March, May, June, September and November. Meetings are held at Golden Gate Audubon’s main office or a location in San Francisco..
Eric Schroeder (President and Travel Program coordinator) worked at U.C. Davis where he had a thirty-year career as a lecturer and administrator. He taught for several departments—including the University Writing Program, the English Department, and the American Studies Program—and directed the Study Abroad Program for which he taught summer courses in Australia, South Africa, and Scotland. His volunteer work includes serving as president of the Tilden Wildcat Horsemen’s Association and as a member of the East Bay Regional Park District’s Volunteer Mounted Patrol. He completed the GGAS Master Birder Program and has published nature articles in Undercurrent, Bay Nature, and The Gull. He received his BA in Greek and English from UCLA, his MA in Renaissance Studies from the University of Sussex, and his PhD in English Literature from UCLA.
Christina Tarr (Vice President) is head of the Cataloguing Department for the Berkeley Law School library and has worked in U.C. Berkeley campus libraries since 1985. She serves as Golden Gate Audubon’s Field Trip Coordinator. A graduate of the 2016 Master Birding class co-sponsored by GGAS and California Academy of Sciences, Chris also received a California Naturalist certificate from Lindsay Wildlife Experience in 2017. She’s an Alcatraz Waterbirds docent, a Greater Farallones Beach Watch volunteer, and a day leader for the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory hawk watch. Chris has a BA from Brown University in English Literature and an MLIS from Berkeley. In her spare time, she likes to garden, go for walks, and backpack.
Christine Okon (Secretary) is an experienced writer, content strategist, and project manager who has worked at companies including Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield, and has also run her own consulting business. A Golden Gate Audubon volunteer since 2005, Chris also volunteers for the California Native Plant Society, and as a hawk watcher with Golden Gate Raptor Observatory. She is a member of the S.F. Bay Area Theater Critics Circle and writes a theater blog called Theater and Such. Chris has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Linguistics from Northern Illinois University, and a Certificate in Computer Studies from Northwestern University.
Derek Heins (Treasurer) was born and raised in the Puget Sound area, but has lived most of his adult life in the Bay Area. His fifth grade teacher first piqued his interest in birds, which after a long pause was re-ignited on a Golden Gate Audubon field trip to Grizzly Island in 1988 and Derek has not stopped birding since. He had a long career in the financial field, primarily working for technology companies. Recently retired, he can often be seen hiking or biking but always with bins on looking for that next interesting bird around the corner. Derek also serves on the board of the Strong Foundation for Environment Values. He received his undergraduate degree from Pacific Lutheran University and his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Directors and Committee Chairs
Ilana DeBare is a former newspaper reporter and non-profit communications professional She worked as a political reporter at the Sacramento Bee and a business reporter/columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle, and as Communications Director for Golden Gate Audubon from 20112 through 2018. A co-founder of the Julia Morgan School for Girls in Oakland, she is author of Where Girls Come First: The Rise, Fall, and Surprising Revival of Girls’ Schools (Tarcher/Penguin, 2004). She is currently working on novels. Ilana received her B.A. from Harvard College and Master’s in Journalism from U.C. Berkeley.
Blake Edgar is a native of Oakland, CA. A professional writer and editor with an emphasis on scientific topics, he works on the marketing communications team for U.C. Berkeley’s central development unit. Previously, he held editorial positions at the University of California Press and the California Academy of Sciences. Blake is a certified California Naturalist and Master Birder. He earned B.A. degrees in Zoology and Anthropology from U.C. Berkeley and a certificate in Science Communication from U.C. Santa Cruz. Blake is the co-author of three books about paleoanthropology and authored the visitors’ guide to the Hall of Deep Time at the National Museum of Natural History. His other volunteer activities include the Oakland Zoo and Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
Amy Chong is a conservation biologist and native plant enthusiast. Amy became enamored with birds as a child and her affection for birds has since expanded to native plants, landscape design, environmental education, and sustainability. She currently manages and stewards habitat restoration sites in the Presidio as a biological science technician, having previously studied and monitored wildlife in the Sierras and in Costa Rica. Amy is often found biking around town, weeding her neighborhood community garden, and hiking in local parks. She received a B.S. in Wildlife and Conservation Biology from UC Davis.
Bruce Mast is a nationally recognized thought leader on residential green building. He helped found the nonprofit Build It Green in 2004 and has served as its Deputy Executive Director since 2006, leading business development activities and translating Build It Green’s strategic priorities into practical program designs. He honed his birding and citizen science skills as a volunteer at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge in Central Texas, where he mapped nesting territories of endangered Black-capped Vireos and Golden-cheeked Warblers. He also served as a City Councilmember for City of Albany, California, and a high school science teacher in the Peace Corps in Benin, West Africa. Bruce holds a BA in Physics from Rice University.
Sharol Nelson-Embry recently retired after 35 years as an interpretive naturalist, the last 26 as a Supervising Naturalist for the East Bay Regional Parks District, where she directed the Crab Cove Visitor Center and Aquarium in Alameda. In addition to her extensive experience as an outdoor educator, Sharol wrote a bi-weekly science blog or KQED from 2012-2016, and since her retirement has started a bird-friendly chocolate tasting company, Cocoa Case. Sharol has a BS in Natural Resrources Management from Cal Poly, SLO, and completed her Master Birder certificate in 2021.
Susan MacWhorter works as a Student Programs Educator at the California Academy of Sciences, developing and teaching on-site and virtual programs for K-5th grades. Susan also volunteers as a docent with the California Academy of Sciences, as a citizen scientist with the Greater Farallones Beach Watch program, and with the Golden Gate and Sequoia Audubon Societies. In 2016 Susan received her Master Birding certification from GGAS. She is a certified California Naturalist, and certified in Climate Change Interpretation through NNOCCI (National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation). Prior to her career transition to science education, Susan spent many years in the biotech industry, leading teams in the SF Bay Area and Shenzhen China, developing DNA products for genomic sequencing and PCR testing. Susan has a preliminary CTE (Career Technical Education) teaching certificate in Biotechnology, a BA degree in Chemistry and Biology from Oberlin College, and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of California, Davis.
Jess Beebe is an editor and publishing consultant specializing in nonfiction books addressing the climate crisis and social change. She founded Waxwing Book Studio in 2015; previously, she was editorial manager at New Harbinger Publications. A volunteer with Friends of Sausal Creek since 2014, Jess coordinates a quarterly bird monitoring project begun over two decades ago. She also volunteers with Food Shift, and Alameda nonprofit combining economic justice and climate justice. She hold a BA in women’s studies and th Science in Society Program from Wesleyan University and is a certified California Naturalist and Climate Steward. In her spare time, Jess plays bass and sings with the Shepard Canyon Band.
Solana Rice is a dedicated advocate aiming to shape the most vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable economy this country has yet to see. Prior to starting Liberation in a Generation, Solana was Director of State & Local Policy at Prosperity Now and Director for financial security initiatives at PolicyLink. Solana has a Master’s in City Planning from MIT and a B.A. in architecture from Washington University in St. Louis. She enjoys the inspirations and teachings that birds provide.
Dan Roth (Chair of the Nominating Committee and Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee) is a criminal defense lawyer who lives in Oakland and represents clients throughout the Bay Area and beyond. He is a lifelong nature lover originally from Akron, Ohio. Dan is a longtime board member of the Bay Area Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society, which he chaired from 2011 – 2014, and currently serves as the chapter’s Diversity & Inclusion Co-Chair. He also serves on the Board of Governors of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ), California’s association of criminal defense lawyers and allied professionals. Dan is also a founding member of Blackout for Human Rights, a cultural organizing collective founded by East Bay filmmaker Ryan Coogler to combat police violence and mass incarceration, and has co-produced major events including the annual MLK NOW celebration at Harlem’s historic Riverside Church. Dan is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where he received degrees in History, English, and Political Science, and Boston College Law School.
Angelika Geiger (Chair of the San Francisco Conservation Committee) is a long-time San Francisco resident and GGAS member. She has led field trips on behalf of GGAS for many years and her greatest joy is sharing the wonder of birds with others. She was an eager participant of the first GGAS’ Master Birding Classes. Professionally, Angelika has extensive experience in corporate location strategy, economic development, business & government relations, and international trade. She recently left her position as director of an agency of the German government. She never failed to bring her binoculars during the frequent travel that this role required. Angelika studied in Germany for one year before graduating from UCSB and completing graduate course work in the MBA program at SFSU. She has served on the boards of various for-profit and non-profit organizations.
Rachel Lawrence is an immunologist and life-long birder who emigrated from the U.K. to the U.S. in 2019 and immediately got involved with GGAS, becoming a top local birder and leading the victorious San Francisco team in this year’s Birdathon East Bay/West Bay Challenge. Rachel recently retired from an academic career at the Royal Veterinary College, London, and the University of Manchester. She is a Master Birder Graduate and holds a PhD in Immunoparasitology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine at the University of London, and a BSc in Biology from King’s College London. Rachel serves on the Development and Nominating Committees.
Brandy Deminna Ford is a professional writer and editor who specializes in development communications. Currently a member of the University Development and Alumni Relations team at UCSF, she is dedicated to supporting health sciences research and graduate-level education. Previously, she was a professional writer at UC Law and Stanford Law School. Brandy is a certified Master Birder and volunteer with the Marin County Breeding Bird Atlas. She earned a BA in English and Comparative Literature from UC Santa Barbara and an MA in English Literature from San Francisco State University.