Birmingham Audubon Staff

Ansel Payne, PhD
Executive Director, email
Ansel joined the Birmingham Audubon staff as a naturalist in 2016 before becoming the organization’s first Outreach Director later that year; he assumed the role of Executive Director in May 2018. A graduate of Harvard and Tufts, he earned his PhD in Comparative Biology at the American Museum of Natural History’s Richard Gilder Graduate School in 2014. While in New York, his work on the evolutionary history of digger wasps led to field expeditions in Central America and the Middle East, as well as to extended collecting trips throughout the American West. Ansel lives in Birmingham’s Avondale neighborhood, a few blocks from the Birmingham Audubon office.

Alliemarie Humphries, MPA
Office Manager, email
Born in Alabama, but raised in Central Florida, Alliemarie came back to her home state to grow her roots in 2010. During her time studying at the University of Alabama, she gained experience working with a local urban farm and volunteering with other local nonprofits that aimed to better the West Alabama community. Over the last two years, Alliemarie has worked in the substance-abuse field, concentrating on improving peer services and access to treatment. Recently, she earned a Master’s in Public Administration with a certification in Nonprofit Management from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Alliemarie is passionate about rescuing senior disabled animals, organic farming, and community growth. She currently calls Birmingham’s Avondale neighborhood her home. 

Lianne Koczur, PhD
Science & Conservation Director, email
Lianne joins our team having worked most recently as a postdoctoral research associate studying Brown Pelicans for the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. A native of Massachusetts, her initial interest in birds began by watching them at feeders in the yard. After earning a BA in Biology from the University of Maine at Farmington, she spent several years working as a field biologist, monitoring nesting sea turtles in Texas, Piping Plovers and Least Terns in South Dakota, and Black-capped Vireos in Texas; she has also contributed to habitat-restoration efforts for seabirds on California’s Santa Barbara Island and conducted shorebird surveys along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Alabama. In 2013, Lianne earned an MS in Range and Wildlife Management from Texas A&M University-Kingsville, where she studied American Oystercatcher reproductive success along the Gulf Coast of Texas. She continued at Kingsville to research the movements of Reddish Egrets, and earned her PhD in Wildlife Science in 2017.

Nicole Love
Coastal Programs Coordinator, email
Originally from Pittsburgh, Nicole has spent a great deal of time in Florida, the state where she received both her BS and MS degrees (University of Central Florida) and where she began her professional biology career. She has since been involved with several marine and estuarine programs operating at a variety of scales, from studying the ecological relationships of benthic invertebrates to monitoring regional watershed issues. She comes to Birmingham Audubon from The Nature Conservancy, where she worked throughout the Gulf of Mexico with local communities and other stakeholders on coastal resilience and restoration issues. Through her work, Nicole has developed such a deep appreciation for the Gulf that she and her family now live in Fairhope, on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay—a great place to enjoy all that the coastal lifestyle has to offer.

Chris Oberholster
Development Director, email
Chris started working with Birmingham Audubon as the organization’s Partnership & Policy Director in December 2016, before transitioning to his current fundraising role in 2019. Born and raised in South Africa, he earned a Master’s degree in Agronomy and Soils at Auburn University, and has lived in and explored Alabama for the last thirty years. Before coming to Birmingham Audubon, Chris worked for almost twenty-five years at The Nature Conservancy in Alabama—most recently as that organization’s Alabama State Director—and played a pivotal role in the 2012 renewal of Alabama’s popular Forever Wild public-land program. An avid hunter, birder, and stamp collector, he lives in Hoover with his wife Suzanne and their three children.

Sarah Randolph
Outreach & Communications Director, email
A Birmingham native, Sarah joined Birmingham Audubon with a diverse background in the nonprofit and private sectors, including over eight years of experience in communications, marketing, development, public relations, and event planning. Sarah earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Communication Management with a minor in Marketing. In addition to being an artist, she is a dedicated environmentalist who has spent much of the last decade volunteering with local nonprofits and is passionate about making Birmingham a better place. Sarah calls Birmingham’s Highland Park neighborhood home.

Emma Rhodes
Coastal Biologist, email
Raised in Foley, Alabama, Emma received her BS in Biology with a minor in GIS at the University of South Alabama. Her undergraduate research at USA was on avian window strike mortality. In 2014 and 2015, she worked as a research assistant for Audubon’s Maine-based Project Puffin where she monitored nesting seabirds at one of the top seabird restoration programs in the nation. Emma has been monitoring coastal birds since 2014 working alongside various nonprofit organizations in Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and the Bahamas. In 2017, she became a science staff member for Birmingham Audubon as part of their coastal programs for the first Alabama Coastal Bird Stewardship Program. In addition to her coastal bird research, Emma has been a bander for a neotropical migrant banding station in Fort Morgan, Alabama, since 2009 and is a bander for a northeastern hummingbird research project with Hummingbird Research, Inc.

Jason Ward
National Audubon Society Fund II Apprentice, email
Jason recently joined the team as our new Fund II Apprentice*—a one-year National Audubon Society position shared between Birmingham Audubon and our sister chapter in Atlanta. In his new role, Jason is helping us to build partnerships and economic opportunities in the Black Belt, where we’re working to establish birding and ecotourism as a source of income for area landowners. Originally from the Bronx, Jason has lived in Atlanta, Georgia, for over a decade, volunteering with the Atlanta Audubon Society to lead bird walks and science surveys. An experienced birder, self-proclaimed science nerd, and social activist, he’s also worked with Audubon as a freelance writer, exploring topics as diverse as bird-identification tips, Chimney Swift conservation, and the role of race in the conservation movement. *This program is funded by a grant from the Fund II Foundation. Find out more at