Current Officers & Board
Officers are elected annually; board members every three years. Terms run from July 1 to June 30 each year.
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.
Vice President: Becky Gwynn
Past 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.
Treasurer: Terri Cuthriell
A lifelong birder, Terri studied biology and ornithology at the College of William and Mary, spending summers hacking Peregrine Falcons in Norfolk and studying Ospreys and Bald Eagles on the Chesapeake Bay. Terri has been an active volunteer conducting numerous amphibian, botanical, and avian surveys, and was the first President of Virginia Master Naturalist, Historic Southside Chapter. A career engineer, Terri also enjoyed teaching biology at Tidewater Community College. With a bent for numbers and a master’s degree in chemical engineering, Terri is honored to serve the VSO as treasurer. She balances her time promoting conservation and indulging her passion for nature and ecology by observing, journaling, and painting birds.
Secretary: Phil Kenny
Virginia Birds Editor: Bill Williams
Membership Secretary: Shirley Devan
Newsletter Editor: Lucinda Baker
Raven Editor: Mike Stinson
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 2021 (Terms Running 1 Jul 2018 - 30 Jun 2021)
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.
Class of 2022 (Terms Running 1 Jul 2019 - 30 Jun 2022)
Dick Rowe is a professor of Biology at VMI. He received his B.A. in Biology from Ripon College, WI; M.S. in Biology from Bowling Green State University, OH; and Ph.D. in Zoology from Michigan State University. He teaches courses in anatomy, animal behavior, and ornithology. His current research focuses on vocal communication in Tree Swallows and specifically is directed towards elucidating the role of the chatter call. In addition, he has up-dated J.J. Murray’s Birds of Rockbridge Co., and maintains an on-line site for the current Birds of Greater Rockbridge Co. (Birds of Greater Rockbridge Co), serves as the coordinator for the Lexington Area Christmas Bird Count, conducts two Breeding Bird Survey routes, and maintains a list-serve for birding in Rockbridge Co. Dick is an avid bird photographer and has contributed photographs to numerous publications, books, projects on birds, and has a Flickr site to share his photographs (Flickr Photostream/). He is a member of the Rockbridge Bird Club, American Ornithologist’s Union, and the VSO. He joined the VSO Board in 2019.