Current Officers & Board
Officers are elected annually; board members every three years. Terms run from July 1 to June 30 each year.
President: Lenny Bankester
Lenny Bankester was born in Mobile, Alabama and, after living in various places, settled in Virginia 11 years ago. He has worked in various positions in the federal government, though he focuses primarily on budgeting and planning at the present. Birds introduced him to a love of the whole wider world of nature and inspired him to obtain a Master of Natural Resources from Virginia Tech in 2011. He's interested in strengthening the connection between birding and conservation. He lives in Alexandria, VA with his wife, Bonnie Robinson, and two daughters, Sylvie and Melody.
Vice President: Daniel Bieker
Dan Bieker is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Natural Sciences at Piedmont VA Community College, where he teaches Field Ornithology and Appalachian Ecology. He began his career in 1976 with the Ohio Division of Wildlife working extensively with Wood Ducks, and later Prothonotary Warbler and American Kestrel nesting studies. Upon joining the VSO board of directors in 2013, he initiated the Kestrel Nest Box Project with the goal of establishing several hundred nest boxes throughout Virginia and educating landowners on habitat preservation. He continues work on the project with the help of some very dedicated VSO volunteers. Prior to joining the VSO board he served as president of the Ivy Creek Foundation and was instrumental in establishment of the Ragged Mountain Natural Area, as well as design and construction of the foundation’s Education Center. He contributes extensively to the vertebrate database for Albemarle County’s Natural Heritage Committee and is a 30 year member of the VSO. Dan owns a horse farm in southern Albemarle, and besides trail riding he enjoys camping, travel and working with kids as a 4H Junior Naturalists club leader.
Past President: Jeff Trollinger
Jeff Trollinger was promoted to his current position as a Deputy Director in the Bureau of Wildlife Resources in February of 2011. Prior to this he was the Program Manager for the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ (VDGIF) Watchable Wildlife Program for 10 years. He has worked with or for the Department since 1987 where he began as an undergraduate at Virginia Tech. He has been a member of or closely associated with the VSO for more than 15 years. He was vice president of the VSO from 2013-2015 and has been president since 2015. Jeff is originally from Luray, Virginia. He moved to Blacksburg in 1982 to pursue his education and graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Wildlife Management in 1987. He received his second B.S. in 1995 in Human Resource Management from Bluefield College and a Graduate Certificate from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in Wildlife Recreation and Nature Tourism in 2009. He was transferred to Richmond in 1995 after accepting a full-time job with VDGIF. The Wildlife Diversity Division recognized him in 2007 for outstanding efforts in developing the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail. In 2009, he was recognized with the Department’s Wildlife Biologist of the Year Award and in 2010 the Virginia Chapter of the Wildlife Society presented him with the Henry S. Mosby Professional Award. He has co-authored four publications for which he has received several regional and national awards, and he has been featured in the Department’s award-winning video “A Look Outside.” In addition, he co-edited a publication with the Colorado Division of Wildlife on Wildlife Viewing and Photography Blinds. He was a founding member of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Wildlife Viewing and Nature Tourism Working Group, the national professional organization for wildlife viewing programs. Over the past 25 years, he has developed skills in public information, public relations, event planning, urban wildlife concerns, fish and wildlife databases, and working with wildlife volunteers. In his spare time he reads science fiction, maintains the gardens at his home, goes birdwatching, and travels back to the mountains as often as possible.
Treasurer: Terri Cuthriell
Secretary: Christine Stinson
Virginia Birds Editor: Bill Williams
Membership Secretary: Shirley Devan
Newsletter Editor: Len Alfredson
Len has been VSO Newsletter Editor for three years. He began birding 40 years ago when he joined the Northern Virginia Bird Club (then called the Northern Virginia Chapter of the Virginia Society of Ornithology). He served as Vice President for Programs for three terms and President for three terms. In addition to holding office he led hundreds of field trips over the years. As webmaster he designed and created a website for the club which he then maintained for five years. He is now a Director Emeritus of the Northern Virginia Bird Club. An engineer by education, he served 22 years in the Civil Engineer Corps of the U.S. Navy followed by a career in maintenance and construction of a major local rapid transit system. He denies any connection with Metro’s current difficulties. An Arlington resident and fully retired for 15 years, health problems prevent active birding, but he maintains contact with the birding community through his activity with the VSO.
Raven Editor: Andrew Dolby
Andrew Dolby, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. His courses include ornithology, animal behavior, tropical ecology, and evolution. His research currently focuses on the physiological ecology of wintering birds. Additionally, he leads student field trips to the Galapagos Islands and Central America. Andrew was President of the VSO from 2011 to 2013 and has served the organization in various other capacities since 2002. He has published his scientific studies in journals such as The Auk, Behavioral Ecology, The Condor, and Journal of Field Ornithology.
VSO Board of Directors
Class of 2020, Terms Running 1 Jul 2017 - 30 Jun 2020
Rexanne Bruno began birding while living in New Jersey over 30 years ago. She has birded in Virginia for almost the same length of time, at first while visiting relatives and eventually moving to Lynchburg in the late 1990s. Soon after moving, she joined the Lynchburg Bird Club where she edited The Bluebird, newsletter of the Lynchburg Bird Club, for many years. She recently moved to Williamsburg and joined the Williamsburg Bird Club. She leads field trips for the Virginia Society of Ornithology (VSO), local bird clubs and the Virginia Beach Winter Wildlife Festival. She serves on the Second Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas (VABBA2) Steering Committee, is a past president of the VSO (2009-2011) and is now serving a three-year term on the VSO Board of Directors.
Len Smock is an Emeritus Professor of Biology and the former director of VCU’s environmental field station, the Rice Rivers Center, located on the James River. He received his B.S. in Biology and M.S. in Zoology from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences & Engineering from the University of North Carolina. His research and teaching interests focused on water resources, water pollution biology and the ecology of invertebrates in rivers, streams and wetlands and their use for biological monitoring and assessing water quality. He served as the President of the Society for Freshwater Science and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. While water was the focus of his professional life, birds and their conservation have been his passion for nearly his entire life. That passion arose when, at four years old, he asked his grandparents to purchase for him Chester Reed’s Bird Guide to the Birds East of the Rockies, a little known and aged guide that nevertheless sparked in him a lifetime of passion for birds and birding. Len is a board member of the Richmond Audubon Society and joined the VSO board in 2017.
Class of 2019 (Terms Running 1 Jul 2016 - 30 Jun 2019)
Lesley P. Bulluck is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology and Center for Environmental Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. She earned her BS in Biology from Appalachian State University, her MS in Zoology/Ecology from Miami University of Ohio, and her PhD in Natural Resources Management from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Her research focuses on the population ecology of birds with a focus on migratory warblers (Prothonotary and Golden-winged), and more recently has expanded to include Red-headed Woodpeckers. She has asked questions with these species related to individual and annual variation in reproductive success, within and between season movements, and factors influencing habitat use and distribution. She has published 18 scientific papers and presents her research at national and regional Ornithological conferences each year. Lesley and her husband moved to Richmond in 2007 soon after she earned her PhD. They have two sons, Alder and Heath, and a border collie named Zeus and they enjoy hiking and camping together. Lesley has served on the VSO board since 2015.
Class of 2018, Terms Running 1 Jul 2015 - 30 Jun 2018
Patti has been involved in many bird projects in Virginia, including the Golden Chase Project (working with biologists at the Center for Conservation Biology) where a Golden Eagle was trapped and fitted with a telemetry device. Many Virginians donated to this project and followed the migration of “Virgil Caine” for four consecutive years. She has also assisted for 5 field seasons with the Golden-winged Warbler research project done by Virginia Commonwealth University. Patti is now retired and spends much of her time on the kestrel project, installing kestrel nesting boxes around Virginia. She is also going to monitor and band kestrels in the Blue Grass Valley of Highland County, VA where she lives. She has been a wildlife biologist in Canada, Maryland and Virginia and also taught math and science for 18 years. Now “retired”, she spends much of her time working on the kestrel project and helping out with bird projects whenever she can. She is Vice President of the Bath-Highland Bird Club. She enjoys her position as conservation chair of the VSO Conservation Committee.
Russell is a systems engineer and IT architect, with a career spanning 30 years in commercial and federal projects. He holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering, and a Bachelors and a Masters in Agricultural Engineering, all from Cornell University. He has been interested in plants and animals since his earliest days. While he has always liked domestic and wild birds, his earliest enthusiasm was for herps, with a steady stream of frogs, lizards, turtles and salamanders gracing tanks in his bedroom. He was an avid pigeon and poultry breeder and exhibitor from age 8 to 18, and then in later years again became a breeder - exhibitor, this time of goldfish (serving on the board of the Goldfish Society of America for many years). As a birder, he was inspired by his late father who was an amateur bird bander for 62 years. Russell, starting in the late 1960s, participated with his father on CBCs, the NYSOA January Waterfowl Count, and various banding projects. His dad introduced him to citizen science and the ability of hobbyists to produce meaningful scientific data long before the Internet and crowd sourcing made this a de facto element of the birding hobby. He participated in running a MAPS station in NY for almost 2 decades, learning the ins and outs of sexing and ageing birds through plumage analysis. Between banding and summer jobs at an exotic bird store and a large private waterfowl collection, his life list of birds that he has been bitten by is remarkable. Russell is an active participant in CBCs and other bird survey activities in NY and VA, and is proud to serve on the board of the VSO, supporting the important work that the society does.