Extraordinary times present not only unique challenges but also some unique opportunities.
Elections for WSO’s leadership normally occur at our Annual Meeting, held in conjunction with our annual convention. COVID-19 has forced WSO’s Board of Directors to manage our affairs in new ways. We were one of the first statewide organizations to recognize the need to protect our members and volunteers through social distancing, cancelling our 2020 convention and our spring field trips.
So we needed a new election plan. WSO relies on the participation of its members. That led the board, voting electronically, to amend our bylaws to permit voting by electronic ballot, creating an opportunity for every member to cast a ballot. (Attendance at the annual meeting has never amounted to more than 15% of our membership.)
WSO members with email were notified that, beginning on April 16, they could access their ballot by following this link: https://wsobirds.org/2020election
Those for whom we lacked an email address got the same notification by regular mail.
So please exercise your membership rights and cast your vote by May 16, the originally scheduled date for the annual meeting. If you have questions, please contact Mary Korkor at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Nominating Committee appointed in January by WSO President Myles Hurlburt consists of two board members and one non board-member. The committee was chaired by Passenger Pigeon Editor Tim Hahn and included Awards Committee Chair Wendy Schultz and member-at-large Dan Belter. They present the following slate of candidates to WSO members for election to two-year terms commencing May 16, 2020:
For president, Mary Korkor; for vice president, Sunil Gopalan; for secretary, Jenny Wenzel. Their profiles appear below.
There is no election this year for treasurer, which is now an appointive position under a recent change in the organization’s bylaws. However, WSO is pleased to report that Dani Baumann will be continuing in that important role.
The Nominating Committee appointed by WSO President Myles Hurlburt presents the following slate of candidates for election to one-year terms commencing May 16, 2020:
Mary has served as WSO vice president for the last two years.
She says she always knew that her heart belonged in nature. She grew up in the city, but now lives on a 40-acre bird-friendly hobby farm in southeast Wisconsin, with gardens, a native prairie, pastureland and a pond. Purity Farms was the perfect place to raise four kids with horses, a Jersey cow, chickens and a dog.
Now that the kids have flown the coop, Mary dedicates much of her time to working for organizations that represent her passion for birds and nature. Prior to joining the board, Mary served on the boards of Wisconsin Public Radio and the Kettle Moraine Garden Club and on various committees in her local community. She joined the WSO Board as Chair of Development and served on the Conservation Committee. She has spent time advocating for issues of conservation and public broadcasting in Madison and Washington, D.C. Her degree in psychology has provided her insight into the benefits of nature for a healthy mind, body and spirit. Mary is honored to serve as Vice President of the WSO and hopes to share her admiration and excitement for this organization with members and the community at large.
Sunil has served as WSO’s web site coordinator and joined the WSO Board in 2019.
He grew up in a very urban but also a very bird-rich part of India, and has lived in the midwestern United States for almost all of his adult life. He has early memories of mynahs, kites and peacocks from India and later became familiar with the usual feeder birds of Wisconsin - but a serious interest in birding didn't catch on until he took a break from a hectic work life when his daughter was born. The challenge of observing, studying, photographing and maybe even understanding these colorful creatures proved to have the capacity to be of lasting interest.
He has spent time birding on five continents ranging from the mundane to the exotic but calls Middleton (Dane County) home with his wife Heidi and their two children. He is a widely published bird photographer.
He writes the Spring Seasonal Report for the Passenger Pigeon and plans to continue to administer WSO’s website. For a day job - he works full time at Epic - an EHR software development company and has spent time playing various IT roles over the years.
Jenny joined the WSO Board of Directors in 2012 as secretary and has been re-elected seven times.
Jenny has lived her entire life in Wisconsin and has always been interested in nature. She has always enjoyed feeding backyard birds but was turned on to birding as a hobby by a warbler walk advertised by the Hoy Audubon Society of Racine and Kenosha in 2008.
She quickly made lots of new friends on the walks and became hooked on birding. Jenny has been active in the Hoy Audubon Society ever since and has served on Hoy's Board of Directors as treasurer, newsletter editor, vice president and is the current president. She also enjoys attending WSO birding field trips.
Jenny and her husband David live in Caledonia (Racine County), monitor a 20-box bluebird trail at the South Hills Golf Course in Franksville, and vacation in Marinette County each summer. She has seen 347 species of birds in Wisconsin; her favorite is the Pileated Woodpecker. She's been on birding trips to Costa Rica, Peru, Southeast Arizona, Texas and Washington.
Besides birding, her other hobbies include gardening, hiking, kayaking, nature photography (including birds, of course) and playing with her two Dobermans, Maddie and Bentley.
Jenny is employed as an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist with Aurora Health Care.