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.
Emily Connor, Educator, Audubon Center at Riverlands:
Emily graduated in 2018 from the University of Tampa and studied Environmental Science and Marine Science-Biology. Emily performed ecological and inorganic chemistry research during her time as an undergraduate and has published her research in scientific journals. Returning back to her home, St. Louis, she has decided to go into Conservation and Environmental Education and plans on attending Graduate school in the fall of 2019. Her experience includes volunteering as a student educator at the Saint Louis Zoo as well as interning at the World Aquarium here in Saint Louis. Emily has worked at the Audubon Center at Riverlands as an Education Intern for 6 six months preceding her undergraduate studies and now serves as a full time Educator at the center focusing on Field Trips and Tour experience. She is passionate about learning more about the natural world and sharing that knowledge with diverse groups in our region. She also hopes to contribute to environmental justice in urban areas through education. Her hobbies include ceramics, camping, fly fishing, and has developed a new passion, birding! She also enjoys spending time with her new pup, Chance, who aspires to be a bird dog someday.
Emily Pavlovic, Environmental Education Quality Coordinator, AmeriCorps VISTA:
Emily grew up along the shores of Lake Michigan in Indiana. After receiving a BA in Biochemistry from Earlham College, she decided she was tired of being in a lab all day and started a job as an educator at a nature center in Minnesota. She fell in love with the work of environmental education and for the next three years bounced around the country working for various environmental organizations—from the mountains of Idaho to the farm fields of Ohio. Along the way, she developed a deep love for birds, especially raptors, which led her to her current position as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at the Audubon Center at Riverlands. In her free time, she enjoys birding, hiking with her dog, cooking, contra dancing, and ceramics. She enjoys sharing her love of birds and nature with people of all ages.
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.