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.
Michelle Wiegand, Education Manager, Audubon Center at Riverlands:
Originally from Iowa, Michelle earned her BSW from the University of Iowa and her MSW from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. A Licensed Master Social Worker and a Certified Interpretive Guide, Michelle is passionate about the mental and physical health benefits of connecting to the natural world. Her experience includes non-profit management in Northern California, Iowa City, and St. Louis; facilitating outdoor education locally at Shaw Nature Reserve, Wyman, and St. Louis County Youth Programs; grant-management; and community and youth development in North St. Louis City and County. Michelle developed a deep connection to nature as a young child when she spent most afternoons playing in the woods or riding her bike until the sun went down. She is passionate about connecting young people to the outdoors where they can discover the wonders of our natural world while also building leadership skills and self-confidence and by challenging themselves through new experiences. In her free time, she enjoys spending time in nature with her husband and young daughter, biking, hiking, gardening, cooking, and making art.
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.