Ken Buchholz, Center Director, Audubon Center at Riverlands
Ken was appointed Center Director in May 2016. He graduated from Park University with a B.A. in Political Science. He has over 25 years of experience in the non-profit sector including senior level development positions with the Missouri offices of The Nature Conservancy and Audubon. Ken was instrumental in the early development of the Audubon Center at Riverlands and Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center. Prior to his return to Audubon, he served as Director of Development at the Forsyth School in St. Louis for eight years where his efforts lead to significant campus expansion and endowment growth. He is an avid gardener and enthusiastic birder. He also enjoys basketball, running, biking and exercising. Ken and his wife Dale, their two children Sam and Caroline, and several pets reside in University City.
Jean Favara, Conservation Manager, Audubon Center at Riverlands:
Jean graduated from University of Mary Washington in Virginia with a B.S. in Biology. Her early biology career included work as an aquarist in Mississippi as well as behavioral research in mice at the Medical University of South Carolina. After moving to the St. Louis area with her husband Bernie, Jean worked in the pharmaceutical research industry and received her MA in Biology from Washington University. Her love of the outdoors and birds led her to pursue further employment and volunteer opportunities including internships with USFWS, volunteer positions with MDC, Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project crew leader, as well as songbird mist netting with the World Bird Sanctuary field studies team. Her field work has focused on projects monitoring bird populations in wetlands, forests and grasslands. Jean is also an active board member of Saint Louis Audubon Society. Jean’s hobbies include hiking, bird watching, reading and traveling.
Julie Watson, Education Manager, Audubon Center at Riverlands:
Julie graduated from Northern Michigan University with a B.S. in Environmental Conservation in 2010. Julie got her start in Environmental Education in high school as a summer camp counselor, and during college she completed an Americorps internship with the Student Conservation Association at Baxter State Park in Maine as a Backcountry Intern. Since graduation she has continued to share nature with the public and students around the country. She has worked as an Environmental Instructor at Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum in Ohio, an Interpretive Naturalist Intern with the International Crane Foundation in Wisconsin, an Environmental Education Ranger Intern in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, and most recently as a Naturalist in Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area in Kentucky. In her free time she enjoys hiking, running, reading, playing volleyball and playing with her dog Ralph.
Alfred DeGrand, Financial Assistant, Audubon Center at Riverlands:
Al graduated from Lewis and Clark Community Colloge with an Associate's in Business Administration and went on to receive his Bachelor's in Business Administration majoring in Accounting from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. He started his career as a Staff Accountant for Hollander and Company, where he worked his way up to Assistant Comptroller, before taking over the Comptrollership at Brightman Distributing Company. After 18 years in the private sector, Al decided to switch to the non-profit sector. He became the Director of Finance for Senior Services Pluc, Inc, and then moved on to become the Accounting Specialist for the Boy Scouts of America at the Lewis & Clark Council, before semi-retirement in 2013. Al is the proud husband of 39 years to Karen Ann. They have four children, three sons (Al jr., Michael, and Nathan), and one daughter (Rachel). Al is also a proud grandfather of two (Kaylee & Ryan).
John McGrath, Weekend Visitor Assistant, Audubon Center at Riverlands:
John graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with a B.A. in History and an M.S. in Biology; he is currently working on his dissertation for an EdD in Science Education also from UMSL. John has worked as a field biologist for the Universities of Missouri Columbia & St. Louis and the Missouri Department of Conservation. John has also worked as a burn crew member for the Nature Conservancy and as a high school science instructor for the St. Louis Public Schools. Currently John is an adjunct professor at both the University of Missouri – St. Louis and Harris Stowe State University. When not working, John can often be found canoeing the numerous rivers of Missouri.
Rachael Heaton, Weekend Visitor Assistant, Audubon Center at Riverlands:
Rachael graduated from Southern Illinois Univerity Edwardsville with a B.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Environment with a specialization in wildlife. She became interested in wildlife and the outdoors at a young age by observing animals in her backyard in Collinsville, IL. Growing up she had many experiences including volunteering and interning at different wildlife organizations such as the Wildlife Rescue Center in Ballwin, MO; Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, MO; and TreeHouse Wildlife Center in Dow, IL. She also spent part of her 2011 summer in South Africa at the Karongwe Private Game Reserve where she studied the behaviors and movements of predators and other large African animals. Currently, Rachael is the Rehabilitation Manager at TreeHouse Wildlife Center where she spends her weekdays helping local injured and orphanied wildlife as well as educating the public. At the Audubon center, Rachael can be seen on weekends greeting and assisting visitors. She enjoys many outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, kayaking, biking, and horseback riding. She also spends a lot of her free time practicing martial arts in Saint Louis at Bushido Karate.