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.

Chris Cerillo
Membership Annual Fund Manager

Chris runs our membership program, stewarding and honoring these important supporters. She joined The Connecticut Audubon Society in July of 2020.

Chris comes to CAS after years of development and operations work in animal shelters and at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. Her love of animals fuels her desire to work hard for birds and the environment. After living in Manhattan for a year, she came back to Connecticut and can’t believe she ever left.

In her spare time, she is a yogi, juggler, tea enthusiast, and loves to check things off of her bucket list. She lives in East Rock with her cats Bez and Evie.

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.


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.

Joyce Leiz
Director of Development

Joyce leads the fundraising efforts of Connecticut Audubon. She is a non-profit administrator with 30 years of development, finance and program administration experience. She joined Connecticut Audubon in July 2018.

Prior to coming to Connecticut Audubon, Joyce was Director of Development at a New York City hospital where she successfully managed $100 million in grant funded awards, including the implementation and completion of grant-related projects, and coordinated fundraising events. Throughout her career, Joyce has focused her fundraising efforts for the protection of the environment and the improvement of healthcare.

Joyce has a BA in Anthropology from the City University of New York at Queens College. She resides in Sherman.


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. Stefan joined the Connecticut Audubon Society staff in 2018.


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
Center Manager, 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, 2017 she began working part-time and in January 2021 became full time.  Her responsibilities include: startup operation assistance, administrative functions, volunteer management programming, special events, social media, facilities management, conservation and citizen science initiatives.

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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