Steering Committee

OBCI is governed by a Steering Committee comprised of representatives from member organizations. The Steering Committee annually determines priority objectives for OBCI and works with the Program Coordinator and standing committees to achieve objectives that further bird conservation within the state. Steering Committee members are elected to 3-year terms, with the expectation that they may serve as an officer for one year during this term. Steering Committee members serve as a link to their organization and professional network. OBCI is particularly interested in broad diversity within the committee, not only of represented institutions, but also individual members’ background and expertise.

Matthew Shumar

Matthew Shumar

OBCI Program Coordinator

Matthew Shumar is a wildlife biologist specializing in ornithology and landscape ecology, with specific interests in assessing anthropogenic effects on Neotropical migrants. Matthew received a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Pennsylvania State University with a minor in Forest Science, and an M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Resources from West Virginia University. He was the Project Coordinator for the Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas II, and he is currently the Vice President of the Association of Field Ornithologists. Matthew is also an avid music lover and spends much of his free time exploring independent music and drumming in local bands.

Joseph Lautenbach

Conservation Planning and Research Committee Chair

Joseph Lautenbach is a wildlife biologist with Ohio Division of Wildlife, where he oversees research and monitoring efforts focused on grassland wildlife.

Jen Moore

Outreach and Education Committee Co-Chair

Jen Moore is a naturalist at Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. She is passionate about park biotic initiatives and citizen science. In addition to providing interpretive programming on the flora and fauna of Ohio for a variety of ages, Jen coordinates the volunteer program for Highbanks Metro Park. She is also the compiler for the OHDC Christmas Bird Count Circle. Jen enjoys traveling and learning about different ecosystems.

Heather Farrington

Heather is the Curator of Zoology at the Cincinnati Museum Center where she manages all the animal collections (both live and preserved) and the museum’s DNA lab. A geneticist by training, she studied Darwin’s finches in the Galapagos Islands in her graduate studies. Since then, she has applied genetic techniques to research questions on everything from insects to mammals. Heather is the president of Audubon Society of Ohio (Cincinnati chapter).

Shane Good

Shane is the Senior Director of Animal Care at the Akron Zoo, and has managed the Zoo’s avian collection since 2012. Before coming to the Akron Zoo he spent 20 years as an Animal Keeper at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Shane serves on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Taxon Advisory Group for Passeriformes, the AZA’s Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE) program for North American Songbirds, and on the Steering Committee for the Lights Out Akron-Canton program to reduce bird collisions.

Laura Kearns

Laura Kearns is a Wildlife Biologist with the Ohio Division of Wildlife, where she oversees projects with wetland and forest birds, in addition to several raptor species. Her research interests include predator-prey interactions, urban ecology, and avian conservation and management. She holds a B.A. in Biology from Kenyon College, an M.S. in Resource Ecology Management from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in Wildlife Science from The Ohio State University, and has worked for a variety of non-profit organizations with a focus on avian conservation and research. She loves traveling and birding, and recently observed megapodes and bowerbirds on a trip to Australia.

Chris Tonra

Chris Tonra is Associate Professor in Avian Wildlife Ecology in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at the Ohio State University.

Mike Watson

Mike Watson is the Conservation Biologist at Holden Forests and Gardens, where he works on a variety of wildlife-related conservation issues, including bird and bat surveys, deer management, earthworm impact assessments and a long-running cavity nesting program. He also assists with plant community assessments, pest and pathogen monitoring, and other conservation projects.

Kelly Williams

Kelly Williams is an Assistant Professor of Instruction in Biological Sciences at Ohio University. Kelly earned a B.S. from the Ohio State University, a M.S. in Environmental Studies and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Ohio University. Her research focuses on avian ecology with an emphasis on how habitat structure, food availability and parasitism affect the allocation of resources and reproductive success in birds. Outside work, Kelly enjoys outdoor activities including kayaking, bicycling, and hiking with family and friends.


Stephen Matthews

Fiscal Agent Representative

Stephen Matthews is Associate Professor of Wildlife Landscape Ecology in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at Ohio State University and also holds an affiliation as an ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station. Organized under two general themes his research focuses; on climate and land use change, and wildlife habitat relationship. Collectively he aims to link these themes across scales to more fully understand and address the global change pressures faced by forests and wildlife. Outside of work, he spends time pondering nature and exploring the outdoors via many modes with his family.