OFFICERS OF THE BOARD
Chair - John Blodgett
Vice Chair - Dr. Randy Kreager
Treasurer - Michelle Klement
Secretary - Karen Fraker
Vice Chair - Dr. Randy Kreager
Treasurer - Michelle Klement
Secretary - Karen Fraker
Dr. Andy Jones
Dr. Elliot Tramer
JOHN BLODGETT joined the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) to help our elected officials better understand the public's need for logical, science based, decision making processes when drafting legislation effecting our natural areas - especially birds. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan. He has served BSBO, in the past, as a passerine researcher directing MAPS as well as Spring and Fall Migration projects. He currently serves the organization as chair of the conservation committee and holds the chair responsibility with the Board of Directors. John's professional roles were in both the for-profit and not-for-profit arenas.
RANDY KREAGER - I have lived almost all of my life in Ottawa County. I was born and raised in Oak Harbor - a town that my ancestry goes back to the 1840's! Forty-two years ago I married my high school sweetheart, Nancy, and the two of us and our two children are all graduates of Oak Harbor High School and THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY. I received my DDS from The College of Dentistry at THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY in 1978 and have been in practice in Oak Harbor ever since. In the years since leaving dental school, I have: 1) served many years on our congregation's church council including about 8 years as President of our Congregation. 2) Nancy and I also served as Youth Fellowship directors for about 6 years at our church , 3) I was a cub-scout leader for 2 years , 4) I was on the board of the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce for about 8 years and 5) was a member of the original Oak Harbor Apple Festival Committee for the first 3 years of the festival. 6) I served about 12 years on the Oak Harbor Library Board and was on the board when we built the present library. 7) Nancy & I spent 12 years presenting marriage encounter weekends for the United Church of Christ Marriage Encounter. During the last 3 years, of those 12, we were the National Outreach directors for that organization. 8) I am a Charter Member of the Oak Harbor Lions Club since we formed the club in 1980. 9) I have been a member of the Toledo Torch Club for the last three years. I became an avid birder about 13 years ago and 8) have spent the last 7 years on the Board at BSBO. I have driven tours for the Biggest Week in American Birding for all but the first year of the festival. I used to drive all 10 days but have now cut back to 8 days for each festival. Since becoming an avid birder, I have enjoyed birding in Ohio , Michigan , Colorado , Florida , Canada , Norway , Peru , Panama , and Ecuador (including the Galapagos Islands).
MICHELLE KLEMENT, CPA is a tax partner providing expertise in federal and state tax compliance, tax planning, employee benefit/retirement plan administration and consulting. Her focus is with the firm's professional service businesses niche. Prior to joining the firm in 1990, Michelle was named valedictorian of her Maumee High School senior class and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. Michelle serves as Administrative Partner for the firm and also actively helps coordinate the policies and procedures for firm’s tax practice. She is currently a member of the Ohio Society and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and Perrysburg Chamber of Commerce. Michelle is Board President of Harbor Behavioral Health, Treasurer of Black Swamp Bird Observatory and Maumee Valley Historical Society, and a finance committee board member of West Side Montessori School.
JIM BERRY is the retired President/CEO of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History (RTPI) in Jamestown, New York which culminated a 40 year career in nature education. Included in Jim's work history is 14 years with ODNR where he worked as a ranger, naturalist and state park manager. Today, Jim spends his time studying birds and native plants around western NY and northwestern PA.
DR. ANDY JONES holds the William A. and Nancy R. Klamm Endowed Chair of Ornithology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, thanks to a donation from the Klamms to the museum. In 2011, he was also named Director of Science, overseeing all activities in the Collections & Research Division. As a curator, Dr. Jones is responsible for the Museum’s collection of avian specimens, which consists of more than 30,000 study skins from around the world plus a frozen tissue collection, skeletons, and nests and eggs. His current research involves the evolutionary history of birds from the Appalachian mountains and the Philippines, as well as various other natural history topics. Dr. Jones was among 14 prominent American ornithologists to be named an Elective Member of the American Ornithologists' Union in 2009, and he was elected as Secretary of that organization in 2015. Dr. Jones received his BS in Biological Sciences from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and his PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from the University of Minnesota. He lives in Cleveland Heights with his wife Michelle Leighty-Jones.
CHARITY KRUEGER served as the Executive Director for Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm, near Dayton Ohio for 33 years. Under Charity’s leadership, many national, international and regional education/conservation initiatives were implemented. In 2000, Charity led Aullwood through a major capital campaign ($4.6 million) that tripled the size of the Marie S. Aull Education Center. She led the Aullwood’s Rooted in the Future Farm Initiative: Renew, Grow and Teach, raising over $6.5 million. In 2012, the 11,000 square foot Farm Discovery Center was dedicated and named in her honor to celebrate her 30th year at Aullwood. One of the crown jewels of this center was the creation of the first Head Start Preschool in the country that is based at a working farm. Charity graduated from University of Toledo with a Bachelor of Education, University of Michigan with a Master of Science - Natural Resources and completed Agriculture Education graduate classes from the Ohio State University. She began her career as a Naturalist for the Toledo MetroParks. Charity served as the Director of the Youth Conservation Corps at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge for six years and taught Natural Resources to highs school students at the Toledo Agriculture Education Center. Currently she is a part-time farmer in south-central Michigan and enjoys watching birds, fishing, planting tallgrass prairies and kayaking.
TOM PALMER is a senior member (and a former managing partner) of the law firm Marshall & Melhorn, having practiced over 40 years providing representation in dispute resolution (though negotiation, mediation, arbitration and litigation) and counsel on business, corporate, governmental and employment related legal matters. Tom also serves in leadership positions on the boards of directors of privately and publicly held corporations. He has been actively involved on a broad range of civic activities including serving in leadership positions on the boards of the Toledo Lucas County Port Authority, Regional Growth Partnership, Local Initiatives Services Corporation (LISC), Toledo Cultural Arts Center/ Historic Valentine Theatre, Ohio Wesleyan University, and University of Toledo Medical College Advisory Council.
ROB RIPMA, a lifelong Indiana resident, is co-owner of Sabrewing Nature Tours, leading birding and photography trips in the US and Central and South America. He is also the owner and creator of www.NuttyBirder.com, “the place to go to find birds”. Rob is currently the President of the board of directors of the Amos Butler Audubon Society in Indianapolis, IN and is on the board for Ohio's Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO). He is co-founder of the Indiana Young Birders Club and speaks at a variety of organizations and schools about birds and birding to share his knowledge and experiences in the field. Rob loves working with new and experienced birders of all ages, and believes that teaching people about birds will not only increase interest in birding but also help them better understand why we must work to protect birds and their habitats. He has become the primary bird blogger for Birds & Blooms Magazine. Rob graduated from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business in 2008 with a degree in Marketing and lives with his wife Stephanie in Carmel, Indiana.