In July 2012, Suzanne became the first Executive Director of Birmingham Audubon, a staffed chapter of the National Audubon Society that has worked to conserve birds and their habitats since 1946. Her work with bird conservation and Audubon began more than ten years ago, and has included projects in Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi, where she was also part of a landowners’ cooperative to manage and restore warm-season grasses and prairie habitat. As a leader in the Audubon network, Suzanne represented 463 chapters from across the country during National Audubon’s recent strategic-planning process. Her previous career included building a strategic communications firm, serving as crisis- and issue-management counsel, and serving as an in-house senior consultant for a Forbes 400 company.
Program & Science Director
Andy Coleman, PhD
Andy joined Birmingham Audubon as the organization’s first Program Director in February 2015. A native of Greenville, Alabama, he holds degrees from the University of Alabama, Appalachian State University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where his research focused on salamanders in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, diamondback terrapins on the Alabama and Mississippi Gulf Coasts, and sea turtles in the Mississippi Sound. While he continues to collaborate with scientists studying diamondback terrapin conservation in Alabama and sea turtle conservation in Mexico, Andy also maintains an active research program at Birmingham Audubon, with current projects examining the ecologies of Bald Eagle and Eastern Bluebird populations in Alabama.
Ansel Payne, PhD
Ansel is a native of West Virginia and a former high school science teacher. A lifelong naturalist, he holds degrees from Harvard and Tufts, as well as a PhD in Comparative Biology from the American Museum of Natural History. 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 trips in the American West. In addition to his efforts on behalf of birds and their habitats, Ansel has also written for a diverse set of publications, including The Appendix, TIME, and Nautilus. He lives in Birmingham’s Avondale neighborhood, a few blocks from the Birmingham Audubon office.
Partnership & Policy Director
Chris came to Birmingham Audubon in December 2016 as the organization’s first Partnership & Policy Director. 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 Oberholster, and their three children.
Membership & Volunteer Manager
A native of Paris, Tennessee, Chris comes to Birmingham Audubon from the United States Marine Corps—where he served for six years as a corporal, with extended stays in Europe (Spain, Portugal, Italy), the Middle East (Jordan), and Africa (Djibouti)—and from UAB, where he recently earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Chris has also worked in administrative and managerial positions at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and at Erwin and Associates, Inc., respectively. He currently lives in Homewood.
Coastal Program Coordinator
Before coming to Birmingham Audubon, Mozart worked as the Education Coordinator for Pascagoula River Audubon Center and, most recently, as the Director of Conservation Education and Digital Content for Audubon Mississippi. A former science teacher at Moss Point Alternative School, he holds a BFA in Fine Arts from Loyola University, and an undergraduate degree from William Carey University, where he also completed graduate work in the Masters of Education program. A man of many talents, “Moz” also has experience working in New York City’s music industry, where he was a session player for national radio and television commercials, a composer/scorer for industrial and commercial video, and a recording artist for Capital Records.
Coastal Senior Biologist
Katie comes to Birmingham Audubon from a two-year stint monitoring Wilson’s Plovers, Least Terns, Black Skimmers, and Common Nighthawks in Cameron Parish for Audubon Louisiana. A native of Pittsburgh, she earned a BS in Biology from Saint Vincent College (where she studied White-breasted Nuthatch foraging behavior), and an MS in Biology from East Stroudsburg University, where her thesis focused on Louisiana Waterthrush ecology. An avid birder and bird-bander with field experiences ranging from the deserts of Arizona to the beaches of the Gulf Coast, Katie brings a wealth of expertise to her new position at Birmingham Audubon.
Coastal Biological Technician
A native of Foley, Alabama, Emma is a recent graduate (BS Biology, with a minor in GIS) of the University of South Alabama. While much of her recent research has focused on the effects of window strikes on bird mortality, she has also spent parts of the last eight years banding neotropical migratory birds on Fort Morgan. In addition to these pursuits, she worked as a research assistant for Audubon’s Maine-based Project Puffin in 2014 and 2015, and has volunteered for both Audubon Mississippi and Birmingham Audubon as part of their Audubon Coastal Bird Surveys.