About Us

Staff

Meet the staff of Audubon Washington
Photo: Mick Thompson

Gail Gatton, Executive Director

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Gail oversees the Washington State Audubon conservation and education programs. As the founding Center Director, Gail led the effort to build the Audubon Center and ran it for its first five years. She has over 25 years’ experience ranging from high school education to conservation policy work. Gail spent eight years working as an environmental policy consultant for the firm of Ross & Associates, specializing in environmental program development. Her 15 years in Alaska included working for a variety of political and environmental organizations and serving on the boards of several organizations, including the ACLU. She has a B.S degree from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Gail lives in the Mt Baker neighborhood with her husband and has two grown daughters.

Charley Wilkinson, Development Director

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Charley serves as Development Director for Audubon Washington and the Seward Park Audubon Center. She brings a multidisciplinary professional background and love of the natural world to her work creating funding opportunities for Audubon’s conservation and education initiatives throughout Washington. She has worked for Audubon in a variety of roles since 2009, when she got her start as a conservation intern for Constitution Marsh Audubon Center & Sanctuary in New York, and went on to serve as their Education Manager. Before moving to Seattle in 2016, Charley spent four years as the Development and Finance Associate for Audubon Vermont and The Green Mountain Audubon Center, securing essential funds for their landscape conservation work, endangered bird species monitoring, and environmental education initiatives. Charley holds a B.A. in Communication, and when she’s not in the office, you might find her reading, hiking in the mountains, running, riding her bike, or exploring Seattle with her husband, Kevin. 

Trina Bayard, Ph.D.Director of Bird Conservation

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In addition to her formative experiences exploring Puget Sound tide-pools and Cascade mountain meadows, Trina’s path to Audubon includes more than ten years of experience on a broad range of plant and wildlife studies in eastern Oregon, coastal California and coastal Connecticut including her doctoral research on Saltmarsh Sparrows. Trina’s perspective is shaped by her experience working in the public and private sectors and her studies and travel in East Africa and Southeast Asia. She brings to Audubon a dedication to advancing bird conservation in a way that is scientifically relevant, inclusive of the diverse constituencies making up our state and flyway, and mindful of how future generations may connect with and be inspired by birds. 

Christi NormanProgram Director

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In Christi’s work for National Audubon since 1997 she has managed Washington Wetlands Network, the Great Washington State Birding Trail and the Tribal Grasslands project. These programs contributed to Washington State’s Growth Management Act implementation, private landowner incentive marketing, nature tourism promotion, including an iPhone app, and cross-cultural habitat stewardship. She managed the production of five publications including the Important Bird Areas of Washington. Christi is currently leading Audubon Washington’s Sagebrush Steppe program incorporating bird population monitoring, bird-smart wind farms, and conservation engagement. Before joining National Audubon she helped start Seattle Audubon’s Neighborhood Bird program. Her first career was as a ceramic artist. Christi has been bird watching on five continents. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Adams State College, Colorado. 

Jen Syrowitz, Chapter Conservation Manager

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Jen strengthens bird conservation efforts in Washington by mobilizing Audubon's grassroots network around priority issues and action, while also facilitating and augmenting chapter work for greater conservation impact. Her passion for wildlife and wild spaces peaked in graduate school where her hunting and field experiences brought depth to her understanding of plant and animal systems. She has worked for a zoological society, a wildlife rehabilitation center, and a municipal park system before finding a home for her interdisciplinary background at Audubon Washington. Native to the Canadian Prairies, Jen has been at home in Washington State since 2010.

Ben Silesky, Field Organizer

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Ben is focused on bringing Audubon’s climate science front and center through community engagement, grassroots mobilization, and chapter capacity building. He is an inspirational story teller, trainer and organizer, and is passionate about strengthening the civic engagement of the Audubon network in Washington. He has been a field manager for Carbon Washington, the ACLU, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, empowering individual citizens to make a difference in their community by focusing on coalition building, creativity, and leadership development. Ben has a BA in Media, Communication and Political Culture from the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies at the University of Redlands. He enjoys making short films, playing his synthesizer keyboard, and cross country skiing in the winter months.

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