Golden Gate Bird Alliance’s Board of Directors meets the fourth Tuesday of January, March, May, June, September and November. Meetings are held at Golden Gate Bird Alliance’s main office or a location in San Francisco.
Christina Tarr 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 Bird Alliance’s Field Trip Coordinator. A graduate of the 2016 Master Birding class co-sponsored by GGBA 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.
Tara McIntire, a Northern New England transplant, was mesmerized as a child by masses of Evening Grosbeaks that swarmed her Nana’s feeder, sparking a life-long love for birds. A licensed Landscape Architect, her work is focused on design and implementation of public park projects. She is a graduate of the inaugural GGBA Master Birder class, former 8-year volunteer bander/site leader with the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, and has led birding walks for the Feminist Bird Club and GGBA. Tara holds degrees in environmental conservation, forest ecology, and landscape architecture. In her free time, she is often behind the lens sharing images of wild creatures large and small from across the East Bay and beyond.
Eric Schroeder 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 GGBA 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.
Christine Okon 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 Bird Alliance 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 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 Bird Alliance 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.
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.
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.
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.
Angelika Geiger (Chair of the San Francisco Conservation Committee) is a long-time San Francisco resident and GGBA member. She has led field trips on behalf of GGBA for many years and her greatest joy is sharing the wonder of birds with others. She was an eager participant of the first GGBA’ 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.
Kenneth Hillan, originally from Scotland, graduated in medicine from the University of Glasgow before making the Bay Area his home. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and of the Royal College of Pathologists of the United Kingdom and developed his biotech career at Genentech. He has held leadership and board positions at a number of North American Life Sciences companies over the past 30 years. A fervent advocate for our winged companions, he is passionate about working with others to create a world where birds and humans can flourish together. Kenneth is a graduate of the 2022 Golden Gate Bird Alliance & California Academy of Sciences master birding class and is currently a block leader for the Marin County Breeding Bird Atlas 2 project.
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 GGBA, 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.
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.
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 chapters. In 2016 Susan received her Master Birding certification from GGBA. 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.
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 Resources Management from Cal Poly, SLO, and completed her Master Birder certificate in 2021.
Steve Powell is a Bay Area native who has had a lifelong love of wildlife and the natural world and has been an avid birder for many years. He has 25 years of experience as a biologist working in sensitive habitats, enforcing environmental compliance, conducting endangered species management, and performing habitat restoration. He is a co-founder and owner of BioMaAS, Inc., an environmental consulting business headquartered in San Francisco. Steve earned a B.S. in Biology from Cal State University Hayward and has Federal and State wildlife handling permits for several Special Status Species in California. Steve also enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 young daughters. He is running for his first elected term.
Mary Wand is a lifelong hiker and sailor, who loves the outdoors and learning about plant and animal habitats and habits. She has been an enthusiastic, though far from expert, birder after taking a series of birding classes at the Piedmont Adult School about 25 years ago. Most of her birding activities are in the local hills, along the shoreline, and in the bay, though she happily follow friends who truly are experts to more exotic or distant locales.