Margy Stewart (Board Chair) is co-founder, with Ustaine Talley, of Prairie Heritage, Inc., a non-profit 501 (c)(3) corporation dedicated to all things prairie—preservation, restoration, creature-knowledge, social and natural history. Prairie Heritage, Inc. gives a thousand-dollar award annually for the year’s best book on the prairie. Margy graduated from Radcliffe College (A.B.) and the University of Wisconsin (Ph.D.). She taught English joyfully in a variety of institutions for 50 years, the last 20 at Washburn University, where she retired in 2010 as Professor emerita. She is married to Ron Young, chief health economist of the State of Louisiana, who also retired in 2010. Margy and Ron now live on a small ranch called Bird Runner Wildlife Refuge in the McDowell Creek community of the Flint Hills. There they are the stewards of a half-section of native prairie and 60 acres of bottomland prairie restorations:,, &

Dick Seaton (Treasurer/Vice Chair) is a past chair of AOK and has been a trustee since the beginning. He has also served as Treasurer and been an active member of the Executive Committee for many years. He and his wife Martha live on 62 acres adjacent to the Konza Prairie south of Manhattan. He practices law in Manhattan and served KSU for 38 years as its general counsel. Mr. Seaton was named lawyer of the year by Lawyers Weekly U.S.A. and is also listed in 20th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America and Who’s Who in America.

Joyce (Secretary) and Ron Wolf met at the University of Cincinnati, where she graduated with a BS degree in bacteriology and he with a BS in geology. Joyce’s first interest in water-related issues began while working for the US Public Health Service (later to become EPA) doing water-quality studies on the Ohio River. Later she worked in dental research. Ron worked as a hydrologist for the US Geological Survey in Indiana, Minnesota, Wyoming and Kansas. Joyce served as the legislative liaison for the Kansas Audubon Council from 1988 to 1993; helped found and was Executive Director of the Kansas Land Trust; and currently serves on the Grassland Heritage Foundation board. Joyce also served on the National Audubon Society’s board of directors from 1994 to 2000. Ron currently serves on the board of Douglas County Rural Water District #3, and actively monitors the water levels in district wells in the Kansas River Valley alluvial aquifer. Both are active in the Jayhawk Audubon Society in Lawrence   They are retired, but have been actively involved with Audubon since 1974.

Bernita Berntsen

Bruce Kennedy lives on acreage near Malcolm, NE, which is near Lincoln. He was the second president of Wachiska Audubon Society in Lincoln back in 1974. He and Marge have been active in conservation causes ever since. Currently Bruce is president of Friends of the Niobrara, board member and past president of Nebraska Wildlife Federation, Legislation Committee chairman of Wachiska Audubon, and serves on the Sanctuary Committee of AOK.

Carol Morgan is a pharmacist at St. Francis Health Center in Topeka.  She is an active member of the Topeka Audubon Society and a past President of TAS.  Her love for birds and birding goes hand in hand with the mission of Audubon of Kansas: promoting the enjoyment, understanding, protection, and restoration of natural ecosystems.

Cathy Lucas grew up in Western Kansas and returned there after college at K-State and law school at the University of Tulsa. Her judicial career began in 1987 and has spanned multiple courts. Her parents, Elizabeth and the late Larry Haverfield, welcomed the Kansas reintroduction of Black-footed Ferrets on their Logan County ranch in 2007. She has an affinity for the short-grass prairie ecosystem. Embracing time with her family, the great outdoors and all the arts is how she likes to spend her time.

Dan Baffa worked for over thirty years in the zoo business, winding up spending the last 23 years as director of the zoo in Garden City. It is not often that one can mix their avocation with their vocation concerning wildlife.  He has held various volunteer positions, including chairman of the board of trustees of the Garden City Community College and member of Upper Arkansas Basin Advisory Committee and 4 term president of the Smoky Hills Audubon Society, where he is now treasurer and refuge manager for SHAS.

David Gnirk

Don Wissman served his professional career as a Founder, Senior Economist, and Chairman of DPRA Incorporated, a research and consulting company with a staff of 160 and offices throughout the United States and Canada. He was principal investigator in a wide range of projects in the food and agriculture sectors in the United States and over other 20 countries. Many projects focused on the economic impact of various food and other industry regulations developed under the Clean Water Act by The Environmental Protection Agency.  His interest in the natural environment and its preservation began as a boy growing up on a farm in Michigan and has continued throughout his entire life. He has been a board member of Audubon of Kansas since 2002. He lives in Manhattan with his wife Jan. Their two sons and their families including five grandchildren live in the Washington D.C. area.

Elizabeth Shultz- Following retirement from the English Department of the University of Kansas, where she was a Chancellor’s Club Distinguished Professor, Elizabeth remains committed to writing about the people and the places she loves. These include Herman Melville, her mother, and her friends, Kansas wetlands and prairies, Michigan’s Higgins Lake, Japan, where she lived for six years, and oceans everywhere. She has published two scholarly books, five books of poetry (three in 2014: The Sauntering EyeMrs. Noah Takes the Helm, The Quickening), a memoir, a collection of short stories, and a collection of essays. A new collection of poems, Water-Gazers, will appear in 2017. Her scholarly and creative work is in numerous journals and reviews. She is a dedicated advocate for the arts and the environment, delighted presently to be serving on the Board of Directors for the Spencer Art Museum and Audubon of Kansas.

Grant Newbold

John W. Head holds the Wagstaff Distinguished Professorship at the University of Kansas (, where he concentrates on international, comparative, environmental, and economic law.  He has law degrees from Oxford University (UK) and the University of Virginia and has practiced international law at a private law firm and three international organizations.  Three of Mr. Head’s most recent books are International Law and Agroecological Husbandry: Building Legal Foundations for a New Agriculture (2016), Legal Transparency in Dynastic China: The Legalist-Confucianist Debate and Good Governance in Chinese Tradition (2013, coauthored with Xing Lijuan), and Global Legal Regimes to Protect the World’s Grasslands (2012).   He and his wife have a home in Lawrence but have lived in various countries, most recently Canada.

John Schukman, a former high school biology teacher, received a B.S. and M.S. in Biology from Fort Hays State University, and further study at the University of Kansas. He has recently retired from a home construction and inspection business. For the past 25 years he has contracted and/or volunteered to conduct bird surveys for Audubon of Kansas, the Kansas and Nebraska Breeding Bird Atlas, the USFWS, the Missouri Department of Conservation, Christmas Counts, the Kansas University Biological Survey, and for wind energy companies. He has held several positions in the Kansas Ornithological Society including President, and is an advisory board member for the KU Natural History Museum/Biodiversity Institute. He has been married to Linda for 42 years and they have two grown daughters, Beth and Abby, and two grandsons. Schukmans enjoy their 5 acres of a riparian forest of cherry and walnut trees behind their house.

John Zempel received his BS degrees in Biology and Chemistry from Central Michigan University and a Masters and Ph.D. in Toxicology from The University of Kansas. Him and his wife Linda Vidosh Zempel have traveled and birded through half the continental US and parts of Canada, Mexico, Belize, Peru, and Ecuador including one trip to the Galapagos. They have seen many wondrous things and their wish is they remain safe for future generations. As a professional toxicologist he was concerned with human safety and health but never lost sight of the fact that our health is tied to the health of the environment. As a teacher of chemistry and physics, he not only taught the science but tried to instill an appreciation for the world around us. They have 8 acres and are working to convert the pasture to native plants, full of pollinator plants and a home for a diverse population of wildlife. They hope that they will leave things better than when they entered and that his service to Audubon of Kansas contributes to that end.

Kelley Hurst

Larry T. Hower grew up in Russell, Kansas and married the young lady he met in kindergarten– they have 2 adult children. Throughout his school years, Larry participated in all sports and played on the American Legion Baseball Team. Both of his grandparents were farmers and he was introduced at an early age to the land, plants, animals, and how to grow and care for them in a responsible manner. After high school, he attended college majoring in biology/pre-veterinary medicine. He later entered into a career in marketing that lasted 25 years, and included a variety of management positions. Since retiring and living in Salina for the last 18yrs., he has been a Vice President in the Smokey Hills Audubon, Senior Warden and Treasurer for Christ Cathedral Episcopal Church, Treasurer at Ashby House (a non-profit for the homeless and recovering addicts), past president and currently treasurer for the Salina Coin Club, and board member and past editor of the Kansas Numismatic Association. He stills enjoy the out-of-doors very much and he still fishes (Lake Wilson), bird watches, collects coins, and is an aspiring photographer.

Lisa Stickler

Lucia Johnson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology and a Master of Arts degree in Adult and Continuing Education.  She is Vice President of Recertification for the National Center for Competency Testing, a certification agency for entry-level healthcare practitioners.  Lucia loves to bird and looks forward to retirement when she can spend more time birding!

Mary Powell’s love of wildlife and the wild germinated while growing up on a Sioux Reservation in South Dakota and later in Montana. While in grad school, she helped preserve tidal marshes in the San Francisco Bay, hiked with the Sierra Club and fought for filter strips on her family farm. A retired Physical Therapist, she taught Neurology at Washburn University before volunteering in schools, with Master Gardeners and her church.   In 2015, she dedicated a pollinator garden at Kansas Children’s Discovery Center in memory of her parents. For that occasion, she organized a program on the critical relationship between native plants and insects. She and her husband enjoy watching birds and have incorporated native plants into their backyard wildlife sanctuary– when not visiting their sons on opposite coasts, NY and OR. She also serves on the Topeka Sustainability Board.

Matt Gearheart

Michael L. Donnelly was Associate Professor of English at Kansas State University, where he taught since 1972. This year he is in his first year of phased retirement. He served in the early ’90s as Assistant Dean for Honors in the College of Arts and Sciences. His teaching interests covered a wide range of British literature at the graduate and undergraduate levels, while his research concentrated in the Early Modern Period. He received College and departmental teaching awards, and his most valued accolade, received more than once, is, “He taught me to think.” His A.B. and Ph.D. are from Harvard University, and he has also taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. An avid bird watcher, he acquired his first copy of the Peterson Field Guide at the age of nine. He discovered duck and upland hunting in Wisconsin, and has served as Secretary of the Kansas Wildlife Foundation. He fell in love at first sight with the landscapes and coverts of the Flint Hills, and is deeply concerned with the responsibility of saving and handing on our natural heritage to future generations.

Mike Corn retired in 2016 after spending almost 35 years as a reporter for The Hays Daily News, covering a wide range of events and the environment. He has long been an ardent lover of the outdoors, spending as much free time as possible either venturing out to go fishing, hunting or simply taking his camera out. He is a lifelong resident of Kansas.

Dr. Phillip Baker is an Orthopedic Surgeon and since 1970 has lived in Topeka, Kansas. Dr. Baker was part of the surgical team that performed the first total hip and total knee procedures in the State of Kansas. He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons, and the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma. His wife, Betty, was a teacher and they have two daughters and seven grandchildren. In January of 2008 he retired from the active practice of orthopedic surgery but he continued with a practice of disability orthopedic medicine until July of 2015. Dr. Baker’s hobbies include genealogy, gardening with a special interest in roses, collecting antique china, farming, and reading historical biographies. Dr. Baker has written six books of genealogy.

Randy Rathbun

Richard G. “Rick” Tucker lives in rural Parsons, Kansas, with his wife Jane. He practices law and serves as municipal judge for the City of Parsons. Rick and Jane have three grown children and eight grandchildren. Rick graduated from Kansas State University (B.S. History ’70) and Washburn Law School (J.D. ’73). He is a member and past president of the Parsons Rotary Club and serves on the Board of Directors for the Parsons Arboretum Foundation. Rick is active in the Southeast Kansas Audubon Society, which meets in Parsons and has served as vice-president and president. Rick and Jane’s farm includes 25 acres of timber with a riparian area flowing through it, some tillable land, hay meadow and natural areas. There are 2 ponds. The property has been managed for a diversity of wildlife and wild flowers. Rick enjoys time with family, reading, amateur radio and quiet time in the out of doors.

Robert McElroy is an early member of the AOK board and served as President for approximately five years. He was active in helping establish the Hutton Ranch as an Audubon Niobrara Wildlife Sanctuary in west central Nebraska. Dr. McElroy is a retired physician, founding President of the Tallgrass Surgery Group in Topeka. He has spent time as a medical volunteer in Ethiopia, Haiti, and Nicaragua. He lives in Topeka with his wife Jean. He has two sons, Tom of London and Will in San Jose with wife Jill and two daughters, Hannah and Fiona.

Tom Ewert is currently a landlord and small-scale real estate investor in Wichita, Kansas. He retired a few years ago from a career in international agricultural development where he worked with food security and poverty programs throughout Africa and Asia. He is interested in the conservation of habitat for all species but also to protect the livelihood of Kansas farmers and ranchers. He actively chases birds throughout Kansas and the mid-west and has a list of more than 350 birds seen in Kansas.