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.
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 currently serves on the council of the Association of Field Ornithologists as webmaster and co-chair of their Communications Committee. Matthew is also an avid music lover and spends much of his free time exploring independent music and drumming in local bands.
August is a GIS Analyst with The Nature Conservancy, with special interests in analysis and planning for watershed-scale projects.
Conservation Research and Planning Committee Chair
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.
Selby Majewski Bean
Outreach and Education Committee Co-Chair
Selby Majewski Bean is a naturalist with Cleveland Metroparks, where she strives to strengthen connections to the natural world in visitors of all ages. She holds a B.A. in Zoology from Ohio Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in Park and Resource Management from Slippery Rock University. Her particular interpretive interests involve translating complex natural resource projects and ideas for laypeople in areas such as restoration and forest management.
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 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 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.
Kimberly Kaufman is an Ohio native whose lifelong love of the outdoors grew into a passion for birds in the 1990s. She monitored nesting Bald Eagles for the Ohio Division of Wildlife and ran bluebird trails before she began banding migrant songbirds for the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO). Kim’s involvement with BSBO escalated as she became the observatory’s education director in 2005 and then executive director in 2009, a position she still holds. Kim played a key role in starting the highly successful Ohio Young Birders Club, a group for teenagers that has served as a model for youth programs in 13 other states, as well as The Biggest Week In American Birding, a spring event that rapidly has become one of the largest birding festivals on the continent. She is a contributing editor to Birds & Blooms magazine and coauthor of the Kaufman Field Guide to Nature of New England. Kim also served as OBCI’s Chair from 2016-2019.
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.
Cotton Randall is currently the Special Projects Administrator for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry. Cotton coordinates Ohio’s Forest Legacy Program (federally funded forest land protection program), serves as a statewide forest resource planner, and assists in the administration of the Division’s private lands programs. Cotton joined the Division of Forestry in 2005 and worked as a service forester in central Ohio before changing to his current position in 2009.
Chris Tonra is Associate Professor in Avian Wildlife Ecology in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at the Ohio State University.
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.
Division of Wildlife Representative
Kate Parsons is the Terrestrial Endangered Species and Wildlife Diversity Program Administrator for ODNR Division of Wildlife. She received her B.S. from Ohio University and M.S. in Wildlife Science at Oregon State University where she studied burrowing owls. She has extensive experience with State Wildlife Action Plans and imperiled species management plans. Kate represents the Division of Wildlife on the Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture.
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.