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Meet Our Team

Officers and Board Members

     The DIBS Board of Directors have the common goal of preserving critical migratory bird habitat on Dauphin Island, an important stopover location for a large number of neotropical migrants. The previous and current Directors bring a diverse range of skills and interests to the cause, including members who are environmental engineers, scientists, wildlife naturalists, conservation experts, educators, public relation experts, lawyers, business leaders, and birdwatchers.  All have a love for and connection to Dauphin Island, striving for bird and wildlife biodiversity preservation through education and land conservation.  

Our Team

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Ralph is a native of Mobile, Alabama and a 45-year resident of Dauphin Island. As a lifelong birder and naturalist, he understands the critical importance and the challenges involved in the preservation of Dauphin Island’s unique and stunning biodiversity. Ralph retired from the Alabama Marine Resources Division in 2009, after 34 years of service. His career encompassed a range of duties, from fisheries management and assessment, public outreach, and was instrumental in the development and implementation of Alabama’s highly-acclaimed artificial fishing reef program. Ralph has served on the executive board of DIBS since 2009 and became its president in 2012. He also served for many years as a board member of the South Alabama Land Trust (SALT), one of our primary partners in the conservation of Alabama’s coastal habitat. Ralph and his wife Cathy have been married for 41 years. They have two daughters, four amazing grandchildren as well as several grand-dogs. He enjoys fishing, gardening and eco-travel. Ralph is a proud U. S. Navy veteran, plays the guitar, is an avid scuba diver, and speaks French…albeit with a South Alabama accent.

Ralph Havard

President

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Greg Harber

Greg Harber resides in Birmingham and is employed in the UAB Microbiology Department as a Research Assistant.  He has had a lifelong interest in birds from his childhood days in Fort Lauderdale, FL and currently serves on the board of directors of Alabama Audubon and the Alabama Ornithological Society.  Greg has a long history of leading field trips and presenting talks in Alabama. In addition to birding, his other interests include cycling and photography.  Greg has been a member of DIBS since 1996.

Vice President

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Bianca (BJ) Allen, a Birmingham resident, has been an avid birdwatcher since taking birding classes at UAB Special Studies in the 1980s. After retiring from BellSouth, she became the first paid employee of the Birmingham Audubon Society, and then served as President of the Alabama Ornithological Society. She shares her love of birds and Dauphin Island with everyone she meets.

Biana "BJ" Allen

Secretary

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Betsy Eagar lives in Mobile and is retired from teaching. She previously served as DIBS Secretary and has been a Board Member for numerous years, as well as volunteering with the Coastal Birding Association, a chapter of Alabama Ornithological Association. She enjoys outdoor activities, including birding, gardening, and hiking, and travel to other birding locations.

Betsy Eagar

Treasurer

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Rich Colberg is a full-time resident of Dauphin Island and serves on the Dauphin Island Town Council. He is a retired program manager and business owner. He joined the DIBS Board because it is the only organization focused on the conservation focused exclusively on preserving this “little piece of paradise,” which impacts the quality of life and local economy. He believes this is accomplished through the practice and promotion of conservation values and habitat protection for the long term.

Rich Colberg

Member

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Walter is the Director of Operations Pelican Coast Conservancy in Mobile and is a resident of Fairhope. He has worked in the field of natural resource conservation for over 20 years, serving on local, regional, and national non-profit boards. He enjoys recreational fishing, nature photography, and spending time in the outdoors.

Walter Ernest

Member

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Cynthia Freeman lives full-time on Dauphin Island with her husband, Tim. She has an M.S. in Biology and a B.S. in Nutrition. She served our country as a U. S. Naval Officer working in Naval Hospitals as a Therapeutic Dietitian and served in the Naval Reserves as part of N.D.M.S. (National Disaster Medical Systems), a specialized team coordinating military and civilian disaster response. She taught Anatomy and Physiology for many at Gadsden State Community College, and then went on to teach Gross Anatomy Lab at UAB Medical School. Her interest in birding developed five years ago after meeting local birders on the island and taking a Coastal Birds course at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. She also has been involved with the Alabama Ornithological Society for four years. In addition to her commitment to conservation, she enjoys photography, running, cycling, paddle boarding, and spending time with her husband and their 8 grandchildren. 

Cynthia Freeman

Member

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Meg Goecker is a resident of Dauphin Island and a Coastal Scientist for Moffat Nichols. She has a Masters in Marine Science from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. With 18 years of experience in applied and marine coastal ecology, Meg has worked with state, federal, and NGOs across the northern Gulf to develop and implement large scale oyster, marsh, and seagrass restoration projects, including Lightning Point and Graveline Bay. Meg has served on the boards of several Gulf Coast conservation groups and is a successful grant writer. Meg enjoys spending time with her two daughters, the white sand beaches of Dauphin Island, and boating.

Meg Goecker

Member

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Andrew Haffenden is a naturalist and birder living on Dauphin Island, where his main interest is shorebirds. Originally from Australia, where he was a wildlife researcher, he has a small U.S.-based travel company that specializes in nature-based custom and small group tours to select world destinations, including Cuba. Andrew is well-known for his fascinating and informative bird walks. He is also a Board Member of the Alabama Ornithological Society.

Andrew Haffenden

Member

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Howard Horne was born and raised in Huntsville, where he developed a lifetime interest in the outdoors through his Boy Scout Troop, leading to his long-time hobbies of birding, botany, and natural history. He continues to be active in the scouting program as a volunteer leader for over 25 years. Earning an undergraduate degree at the University of South Alabama, Howard then earned a M.S. degree in Ecology and Evolution at Florida State University where his research focused on plant taxonomy and systematics. In 2001, he returned to Mobile joining Barry A. Vittor & Associates, an environmental consulting firm, where he currently works as the firm’s natural communities biologist and senior botanist. He is extremely thankful for the opportunity to assist this wonderful group of individuals in their endeavors to protect, promote, and preserve Alabama’s precious natural heritage through habitat conservation.

Howard Horne

Member

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Beth Marietta Lyons is a resident of Dauphin Island, the owner of Lyons Law Firm, and a member of the Alabama Bar Association, the Mobile Bar Association, Alabama Law Institute, Leadership Alabama, Rotary Club of Mobile, and Mobile United. She currently serves on the Board of the Public Affairs Research Council, Dauphin Island Foundation, Dauphin Island Water and Sewer board, and the SeaLab Foundation. She has an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice Administration and Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Alabama School of Law. Early in her career, she was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives from House District 104. During her tenure in the House, she Chaired the Mobile House Delegation, the House Oil & Gas Committee, and was elected Outstanding Member of the Legislature by her peers. In 2014 she received the Mobile Bar Association Women Lawyers’ Trailblazer Award. Her current practice on behalf of clients is Governmental Relations and Legislative Advocacy.

Beth Lyons

Member

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Dena McKee moved to Dauphin Island sixteen years ago with her husband, Don McKee (longtime DIBS Board Member). She is heavily involved in the community, serving as Chairman of the Board of Adjustments and as a lifetime Board Member of the Dauphin Island Foundation. An active artist who has organized three different art festivals for many years, Dena also was instrumental in starting the local art gallery and Arts Council. In her “former” life, she worked in sales and service for State Farm Insurance for thirty-five years, and had earned a B.S. in Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. Dena is committed to preserving the natural integrity and habitat on the island.

Dena Mckee

Member

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Reese Partridge lives on Dauphin Island and in Jackson, Mississippi, where he is past president of the Jackson Audubon Society.  He and his wife Louise are long-time birders. For more than 20 years, they have managed an Audubon Prothonotary Warbler conservation project on three sites in the Pearl River swamps, maintaining and monitoring nest boxes to increase PROW breeding opportunities. Reese is also a certified Master Naturalist. He is a retired Assistant Attorney General for the State of Mississippi, and also retired from the U.S. Navy (Reserve).

Reese Partridge

Member

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Elberta Reid is a resident of Birmingham and a well-known birder and conservationist in Alabama. An active and honorary board member, she was a founding member of FODIAS, Friends of Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuary, which was formed so there would be a contract between National Audubon and DI Park and Beach Board. FODIAS evolved into DIBS. She believes that though we face many problems today, events have unfolded in a wonderful way if one views the world the way DIBS does. She is also active in numerous organizations including Alabama Audubon and the Alabama Ornithological Society.

Elberta Reid

Member

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Linda Reynolds is a resident of Guntersville and Dauphin Island, and retired from Lake Guntersville State Park as the Resident Naturalist. The renowned Eagle Watch at the park was the brainchild of she and her husband Dick. She is Past President of the Alabama Ornithological Society and very active in North Alabama birding groups as a leader and guide. Community involvement and playing tennis also occupy her spare time.

Linda Reynolds

Member

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Jennie Stowers is a resident of Montgomery and Dauphin Island. As a retired Biology teacher of 30 years, her love of Dauphin Island, fascination with birds, and conservation of the natural environment are a natural extension of her career. Jennie believes the mission of DIBS is accomplished through outreach and educational programs that inform the broader community of the importance of Dauphin Island as a critical and unique wildlife habitat. Along with birdwatching, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, bike riding, and spending time with her cocker spaniels.

Jennie Stowers

Member

Founding Board

Charles Kennedy -  Emeritus 
Elberta Reid -  Emeritus
Laurie Bailey -  Deceased
Dan Holliman, Ph. D. -  Deceased
Minnie Nonkes -  Deceased
John Porter, Ph. D.  -  Deceased

 

In the 1990s, the Founding Board Members and other dedicated birders from the area answered the call that "somebody should do something" when it appeared that bird habitat on Dauphin Island was in danger of disappearing. This legacy of action for the birds continues to this day. 

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