Kathryn Heintz, Executive Director
Kathryn joined NYC Audubon in September 2014. She is eager to advance NYC Audubon’s scientific research, to build its educational work and public programs, and to support its advocacy activities throughout the five boroughs—all efforts that share a common goal of preserving critical natural areas that provide wild birds with welcoming, safe, and healthy habitats. A healthy environment for wild birds is a healthy environment for all New Yorkers.
Raised in suburban Washington, DC, Kathryn learned to love wild birds at the Audubon Naturalist Society’s Woodend Nature Sanctuary in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She has built her professional career in New York City. She served for the past two years as director, principal gifts with the Wildlife Conservation Society, the zoological and global conservation organization headquartered at the Bronx Zoo. From 2001 to 2012 she was director of development at Wave Hill, the public garden and cultural center in the northwest Bronx, following seven years in a similar capacity with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Kathryn studied literature as an undergraduate at SUNY’s Purchase College, and performing arts administration as a graduate student at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
Susan Elbin, Director of Conservation and Science
NYC Audubon's director of conservation and science, Dr. Susan Elbin is an ornithologist who has worked in the field of behavioral ecology and conservation for more than 25 years. Susan’s specialties are avian behavioral ecology and conservation of colonial waterbirds. She is the chair of the Ornithological Council and, locally, co-chair of the Harbor Herons Subcommittee of the Restoration Committee for the Harbor Estuary Program. Susan is an adjunct professor at Columbia University where she teaches courses in ornithology and migration ecology.
Before coming to NYC Audubon, Susan was the director of the Wildlife Trust’s New York Bioscape Initiative, a regional, landscape-level approach to issues of human health, wildlife health, and ecosystem health. She has also worked in several departments at the Wildlife Conservation Society, including the Education and Ornithology Departments and the Science Resource Center of the Bronx Zoo. While at WCS she led a variety of projects including studies of avian ecology and behavior in disturbed or restored grassland habitats and of birds'social behavior and use of space in exhibits at the Bronx Zoo. Susan has also been involved with conservation on an international scale, working with biologists from Argentina to Indonesia to South Africa. She is currently active in conservation in her hometown, having served for five years on the planning board for five years for the town of Parsippany, NJ, and being currently on its environmental advisory committee.
Susan holds an MS degree in ecology from The Pennsylvania State University and a PhD in ecology and evolution from Rutgers University.
Barbara Lysenko, Finance Manager
Barbara is very excited to be part of the nonprofit world and to work for an organization whose mission is to protect wild birds within the five boroughs. Before joining NYC Audubon, she had over 10 years of financial experience working in the private sector at companies including The New York Hilton, Simon & Schuster, and the Hertz Corporation. Her knowledge of financial reporting and analysis enables Barbara to produce timely and accurate reports for the use of the board of directors in guiding the organization toward fulfilling its mission. Barbara spends her free time enjoying nature and gardening and has been inspired by NYC Audubon to incorporate native plants in her garden for the good of the local birds.
Barbara holds a BBA in accounting from Dowling Collegean and an MBA in finance from Iona College.
Tod Winston, Communications Manager, Research Assistant
In his dual roles of communications manager and research associate, Tod manages NYC Audubon's publications and website, and also coordinates the Harbor Herons nesting survey. A lifelong birder, Tod also enjoys leading birding tours, teaching NYC Audubon's Beginning Birding course, and learning more about the birds, trees, and other creatures that survive and sometimes thrive in New York City. In his pre-Audubon life, Tod worked in the field of neurology before studying medicine at Columbia University for a year. Having discovered that his passion lay elsewhere, he changed course and since then has been building a career in nature-based children's book illustration and writing. He became involved with NYC Audubon as a volunteer writer for The Urban Audubon.
Tod holds a BA in psychology from Oberlin College.
Darren Klein, Program and Advocacy Manager
Darren grew up on a wooded hillside in Tuxedo, New York; he attributes his love of birds and the natural world to a youth spent amidst the sylvan splendor of the Hudson Valley.
From 2005 through 2012, Darren lived in Portland, Oregon, where he worked as a musician and guitar teacher. During his time there, he volunteered for the Audubon Society of Portland, working in their renowned wildlife care center. In 2012, Darren moved back to New York to study environmental policy and sustainability management at The New School.
At NYC Audubon, Darren has been involved in a number of different projects including policy and advocacy work related to the Gateway General Management Plan and the West Pond, researching and writing a Bird-Safe Building policy recommendation, booking trips and classes, and developing Project Safe Flight's online crowdsourced database, D-Bird.
Darren holds a BA in music from Binghamton University and a MS in environmental policy and sustainability management from The New School.
Andrew Maas, Communications Assistant
Andrew is excited to be part of the incredible team at NYC Audubon and work towards bird and environmental conservation in the City's five boroughs. Born and raised in New York City, Andrew has always appreciated the wilder side of the city, most notably Central Park. From his time at NYC Audubon he has learned about many of the other natural wonders in the City, including Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Pelham Bay Park, and the "Harbor Herons" islands of Swinburne Island and the Brother Islands.
Having started as an intern assisting with communications and trip promotion, Andrew is currently an assistant helping in multiple areas of NYC Audubon, including communications, development, and special projects. He has learned a lot in his time at NYC Audubon and is appreciative to be able to work with such a talented and wonderful group of people.
Andrew studied at Northwestern University, seeking a degree in journalism. He is currently enrolling at Fordham University to complete a degree in communications and media studies.
Debra Kriensky, Research Assistant
Debra grew up in the Boston area, and her love of nature and animals started at an early age. Her specific interest in birds, however, came much later in life after trying to identify the species she had seen on a trip to Costa Rica. She has been birding and photographing birds ever since.
After college, Debra spent several years working in the film industry at companies such as Miramax Films and National Geographic Films. All the while, she remained passionate about the environment and in 2012 she decided to pursue a Master's degree in conservation biology. Debra started off as an intern at NYC Audubon through her thesis work on horseshoe crabs and shorebirds in Jamaica Bay. She is excited to be continuing this work and assisting with NYC Audubon's other conservation and research programs as a research assistant.
Debra holds a BA in communications from University of Wisconsin-Madison and a MA in conservation biology from Columbia University.
Elizabeth Craig, Research Associate
Elizabeth's work for NYC Audubon involves research on the foraging ecology and reproductive success of colonial waterbirds; she also leads our annual harbor herons nesting survey. An avid birder, she began her work in bird conservation as a part-time employee at The Raptor Trust, a wild bird rehabilitation center in Millington, NJ. Before joining the NYC Audubon staff, Elizabeth worked as a program assistant for Dr. Susan Elbin at Wildlife Trust (now known as EcoHealth Alliance), where she began her study of double-crested cormorants and other colonial waterbirds.
Elizabeth holds a BS in ecology, evolution, and environmental biology from Columbia University and is currently pursuing a PhD in zoology and wildlife conservation at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine.