Connecticut Audbon Society


Staff Biographies


Tom Andersen
Director of Communications

Tom is responsible for planning and carrying out Connecticut Audubon Society’s communications, including website, email, traditional media, and social media. He joined Connecticut Audubon Society in 2011.

Tom is the author of This Fine Piece of Water: An Environmental History of Long Island Sound (Yale University Press) and he spent almost two decades as a newspaper reporter in New York, covering the environment, politics and other issues.

He was the director of communications and special projects, and acting executive director, for Westchester Land Trust, in Bedford Hills, N.Y., from 2000 through 2010, a period during which the organization tripled in size.


Jim Arrigoni
Conservation Biologist

Jim’s primary responsibility is to apply principles of conservation biology to land management activities at the Deer Pond Farm Sanctuary in Sherman and other sanctuaries in western Connecticut. In addition, he enthusiastically assists with a variety of public education activities at Deer Pond Farm and with the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center in Old Lyme.

Jim has two decades of fieldwork experience with birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish and aquatic insects in far-flung locations from his roots in New England to the Pacific Northwest, Belize, and Hong Kong. He earned a B.S. degree in wildlife biology from the University of Vermont, and a M.S. degree in conservation biology from the State University of New York in Syracuse.  Jim joined the Connecticut Audubon Society staff in 2017.


Matt Bell
EcoTravel Sales and Marketing Manager

Matt is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University with BS degrees in Earth Sciences and Evolution/Ecology. Matt started birding in May 2013, and became more seriously involved after a trip to Costa Rica. Since then he helped revive The Ornithology Club at Ohio State and assisted as a volunteer guide for The Biggest Week in American Birding and the Yellow Rails and Rice Festival. Matt absolutely loves participating in citizen science, tour guiding, chasing rare birds in his free time, and meeting fellow birders from around the globe. Most of all, Matt enjoys sharing his passion for birds and conservation with others and never shies away at taking the time to help beginners start their explorations of the avian world. Matt is the EcoTravel Sales and Marketing Manager and leads Day Trips and Overnight Tours.


Milan Bull
Senior Director of Science and Conservation

Miley oversees all of the organization’s conservation work, including our public advocacy program in Hartford. He is a member of the Long Island Sound Study’s Citizens Advisory Committee, the Conservation Advisory Council to Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and many other local and statewide boards and committees. Miley was a founding director of the Connecticut Ornithological Association, and has published numerous articles and speaks statewide on topics relating to ornithology and the environment.

He is a long-time expedition leader for Connecticut Audubon Society’s EcoTravel program, and has led trips throughout the Americas, Australia, Antarctica, and Africa. Miley has a BS degree in Wildlife Management from the University of Connecticut and a MS degree in biology from the University of Bridgeport. He and his wife, Cathy, reside in Fairfield.


Patrick M. Comins
Executive Director

Patrick is a leading authority on the conservation of the state’s birds and the habitats that support them.

Patrick is a graduate of Trinity College in Hartford and a resident of Meriden. He is a past president of the Connecticut Ornithological Association (COA) and was the 2007 recipient of its Mabel Osgood Wright Award and 2017 President’s Award. He has written several articles on bird conservation and identification for the COA’s quarterly journal, The Connecticut Warbler.

He has also been a regular contributor to Connecticut Audubon’s annual Connecticut State of the Birds report. He started his career by conducting bird surveys for the Connecticut Audubon Society, and was  director of bird conservation for Audubon Connecticut, the state office of the National Audubon Society.

Patrick played a key role in the conservation of more than 2,000 acres of critical bird habitats in Connecticut and more than 4,000 acres of key habitats in the Connecticut River watershed for the Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge. Other important projects he has worked on include the protection of the former Griswold Airport property in Madison and the Preserve in Old Saybrook; additions to the Salt Meadow Unit of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge and Menunketesuck Island in Westbrook; additions to the Barn Island Wildlife Management Area in Stonington; and the protection of the Guilford Sluice property and Salt Meadows Park in Guilford.


Michelle Eckman
Director of Education

Michelle collaborates with Connecticut Audubon staff, local schools and school systems to develop and promote our new, innovative, outdoor science education program for K-12 students called Science in Nature. Her goal is for our Science in Nature program to reach the majority of K-12 students, particularly from Title I schools, in each of our center’s geographical areas. She joined the organization in early 2012.

Michelle was an avian field biologist for 15 years before dedicating her career to environmental education eight years ago. Since that time, she has taught middle school science in New Mexico and spent five years as the education manager and director of education for the National Audubon Society’s Mitchell Lake Audubon Center in San Antonio, TX. Michelle was awarded the Tamar Chotzen Educator of the Year award from the National Audubon Society in 2010. She earned her B.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. and her M.S. in Biology from New Mexico State University where she was a National Science Foundation GK12 Fellow. She lives in Bridgeport.


Emily Green
Director of Membership

Emily joined Connecticut Audubon Society in 2016. She is responsible for the development and implementation of the membership program. Emily was inspired to pursue a career in conservation through her studies and entered the environmental non-profit sector in 2012 with a Fellowship at the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL). Emily then worked in the development department at the Mill River Park Collaborative in Stamford for 2 years, helping to create an urban oasis for the community. She has a Master of Public Administration focusing on non-profit management from CUNY Baruch College and also holds a B.A. from Ithaca College.


Shari Greenblatt
Southwest Regional Director

Shari Greenblatt is a seasoned non-profit professional with over 20 years of experience in fundraising and project management. She started her career at the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation followed by two years as a Program Associate at Bass and Howes, a leading consulting firm that worked with various non-profit organizations.

Shari spent the last 20 years in the Special Projects of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of the country’s leading international environmental organizations. While at NRDC, she produced large-scale fundraising galas and cultivation events, created and managed a junior committee, oversaw donor trips and cause-related marketing campaigns, implemented NRDC’s workplace giving campaign and worked closely with trustees and donors. She also served as President of the Board for Earthshare NY. She received her BA from University of Wisconsin-Madison and her MPH from Hunter College.


Andrew Griswold
Director, EcoTravel

Andy has been the director of EcoTravel for Connecticut Audubon Society since 1996. He graduated as an honor student in biology from Hartwick College and worked at the college’s biological research station in the Bahamas studying avian ecology. Andy is the original concept creator and scientific consultant for a cable television series on bird watching called All Bird TV that aired on Discovery’s Animal Planet. He is the original concept creator of the award winning Connecticut River Eagle Festival (during its time the largest birding festival in the world).

Andy has conducted bird surveys for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and been participating as a CBC captain for nearly 30 years. He has been a consultant to the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism concerning development of birding tourism in its more remote islands. Andy leads trips to Canada, Texas, South Florida, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, and many other destinations. Andy is a licensed USCG 100-Ton Master boat captain and lives in Essex, Connecticut, with Marilou, his wife, and Sam, their son. He is known for his attentiveness to traveler’s needs, fine birding skills, and infectious sense of humor.


Cathy Hagadorn
Director, Deer Pond Farm
Cathy, joined the Connecticut Audubon Society in the fall of 2015. In her first year, she served as the director of the Coastal Center at Milford Point. In 2017 she was then chosen to direct the newest sanctuary, Deer Pond Farm. Cathy is responsible for all startup operations for this great new center.  Her growing team is made up of a dedicated and talented staff, volunteers and vendors.

Prior to joining us, she worked for the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk in the Education Department since 1999. Cathy managed the aquarium’s research and education vessel and collaborated on scientific database development for the Long Island Sound Biodiversity Census Project. She was key in developing a new business model for working with regional schools throughout the year.

Cathy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from St. Michael’s College in Vermont. Additionally, she is a Master Wildlife Conservationist volunteer for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Wildlife Division. Among other projects, her volunteer work has included many winter hours at the Shepaug Bald Eagle View in Southbury.

Sarah Heminway

Director, Northeast Corner Programs

Sarah is responsible for the oversight and programming at our two facilities in northeastern Connecticut, the Lois Orswell Grassland Bird Conservation Center at Pomfret and Trail Wood: The Edwin Way Teale Memorial Sanctuary in Hampton. She has served in this position since 2003. From 1994 to 2001, she was our first resident naturalist in Pomfret, developing programming for the Bafflin Sanctuary prior to the Center at Pomfret’s inception.

Sarah earned her B.S. in Environmental Studies from Trinity College, spent several years conducting graduate research at the University of Connecticut and was an environmental consultant for 15 years, specializing in soil and water issues. A member of numerous environmental organizations, she currently serves on the board of directors for the Wyndham Land Trust.


Heather Kordula
Education Program Manager

Heather has a B.S. in Environmental Science and an M.S. in Environmental Education. She worked as an intern for Rhode Island Audubon before moving to Connecticut to work for several years as an environmental program educator and field trip coordinator for Common Ground Environmental Education Center in New Haven.

Heather spent the last two years as a pre-k teacher at a Reggio Emilia inspired early learning center. Additionally, Heather worked for two summers as an education coordinator for the Yale Peabody Museum.


Stefan Martin
Habitat Steward

Stefan brings a depth of environmental and birding knowledge from a wide variety of experiences to our sanctuary management team. He began his conservation career with Audubon Connecticut (National Audubon) as a part time steward for Audubon Greenwich. He served as seasonal land steward at Stratford Point during a time of much improved habitat management at this spectacular sanctuary immediately prior to coming to Connecticut Audubon.

He is a past board member of the Connecticut Ornithological Association and is active with the Connecticut Butterfly Association. Stefan is well-known and respected in birding and butterfly communities. A certified Master Gardener, Stefan also has extensive knowledge of both native and invasive plant life.

His current role involves habitat restoration and enhancement to sanctuary properties with a focus on increasing biodiversity. He also leads guided bird walks and is actively contributing to eBird.


Andy Rzeznikiewicz
Land Manager, Pomfret and Trail Wood Preserves

Courtesy of Sandee HarradenAndy has been working for Connecticut Audubon Society since 1994. He manages the 700-acre Bafflin Sanctuary in Pomfret and the 168-acre Trail Wood Sanctuary in Hampton. He focuses a lot of effort on early succession, field management, trail work, and invasive plant management. He leads various bird walks, private bird surveys and birding tours, bird banding studies, saw-whet owl banding, and environmental education programs. He has a bachelors degree in environmental sciences with an emphasis on conservation law enforcement from Unity College in Maine. He is on the Board of Directors of the Wyndham Land Trust. He lives in Pomfret.



Deirdra Wallin
Program Coordinator, Deer Pond Farm

Deirdra began volunteering at Deer Pond Farm in June 2017, after completing the Connecticut Audubon Society’s Master Naturalist program. In October, she began working part-time to assist with startup operations, administrative functions, volunteer management and programming.

It was an American Goldfinch visiting a pollinator garden that Deirdra planted that sparked her interest in birding. Her love for nature quickly deepened as she became more aware of the birds in her own backyard and how gardens could be enhanced to increase wildlife habitat value.

Deirdra has a Bachelor of Science degree in Justice and Law Administration. She worked several years for local non-profits in Fairfield County. Additionally, she is an Advanced Master Gardener, Master Composter, and professionally registered Horticultural Therapist with the American Horticultural Therapy Association.




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