About Science Activities Volunteer News Contact Support
staffboardscience advisory board annual report & financials

Executive Director

Catherine Burns, Ph.D. is Executive Director at SFBBO. Cat has a B.S. in Biology from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and a Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Her Ph.D. research focused on understanding the impacts of habitat loss and habitat alteration on wildlife populations in New England. Prior to coming to SFBBO as Executive Director, Cat served on the Wildlife Ecology faculty at the University of Maine, and most recently was the Director of Science at The Nature Conservancy in North Carolina. Throughout her career, Catís interests have focused on applying science to achieve wildlife conservation in a rapidly changing world. This has included conservation work focused primarily on birds and mammals in several areas of the United States, South Africa, Belize and Australia. Cat leads SFBBO's team of scientists and outreach specialists to achieve the mission of conserving birds and their habitats in the San Francico Bay and beyond.

SFBBO 2014 Staff Org Chart (pdf)


Catherine Burns
Catherine Burns, Ph.D., Executive Director


Waterbird Field Biologist

Jason St. Pierre is SFBBO's Waterbird Field Biologist. Jason has a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and an M.S. in Biology from the University of Michigan in Flint. He has worked on numerous bird-related projects including breeding bird surveys at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico and in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and surveys of migrating waterbirds at Isle Royale National Park and Whitefish Point in Michigan. Most recently, Jason worked for Michigan State University and the USDA studying bird damage to fruit crops in an effort to understand trends in bird damage and to determine how birds can be safely deterred from making a serious impact on crop harvest. Jason is excited to relocate to California from Michigan, and looks forward to joining and learning from the knowledgeable staff and volunteers at SFBBO.

Contact: jstpierre@sfbbo.org

Jason St. Pierre
Jason St. Pierre, Waterbird Field Biologist

Waterbird Program Coordinator

Natalie Washburn is Waterbird Program Coordinator at SFBBO. She has a BS in Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology and an MS in Avian Sciences from the University of California, Davis. Natalie's graduate research focused on wetland management techniques for waterfowl in the Sacramento Valley. Since April 2013, Natalie has worked on several of SFBBO's waterbird programs: California Gull research and monitoring, avian use of salt ponds, avian disease prevention and the San Francisco Bay Shorebird Survey. She is looking forward to learning more about birds of the Bay with SFBBO!

Contact: nwashburn@sfbbo.org


Natalie Washburn

Natalie Washburn, Waterbird Program Coordinator

Gail Richardson, M.S. is SFBBO's Accountant. She has a M.S. in Accounting and Finance from the University of Colorado and brings years of experience with corporate and nonprofit organizations in the retail, banking, pharmaceutical and higher education fields. Gail spent her childhood in Ohio where her grandmother introduced her to the wonders of nature in general and birds in particular. She is an avid birder and formerly volunteered as a bird bander at the Coyote Creek Field Station. She relishes the opportunity to use her strong background in accounting and financial analysis to support the mission and goals of the Bird Observatory.

Contact: grichardson@sfbbo.org

Gail Richardson
Gail Richardson, Accountant

Outreach and Communications Director

Kristin Butler, M.S. is the Outreach and Communications Director at SFBBO, overseeing outreach, communications, and fundraising. Kristin is a communications specialist with experience developing stories and leading public relations and fundraising initiatives for nonprofits and the media. Before joining SFBBO, Kristin worked for several conservation and youth serving organizations, including Earthjustice, Girls Inc., and the East Bay Regional Park District. Before that, she was an environmental reporter for the Argus newspaper in Fremont and covered Bay Area issues, including endangered species, habitat loss, and wetlands regulation. She has a B.A. in Political Science from Whitman College, and an M.S. in Mass Communications from San Jose State University.

Contact: kbutler@sfbbo.org

Kristin Butler
Kristin Butler
Outreach and Communications Director
Landbird Program Director

Josh Scullen oversees all of our landbird program activities, database management, and research permits. Josh has a B.S. in Wildlife Management from West Virginia University and is a North American Banding Council Certified Trainer. Originally from Maryland, Josh has spent several years conducting field work throughout North and Central America and Hawaii, and has lived on the California coast since 2006.

Contact: jscullen@sfbbo.org

Josh Scullen
Josh Scullen, Biologist
Plover Program Director

Karine Tokatlian oversees our plover-related research and monitoring activities. Karine has a B.S. in Field and Wildlife Biology from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She has spent several years monitoring protected breeding bird populations along the California coast, including the Western Snowy Plover and California Least Tern. As a native of California, Karine has a profound respect for the conservation of coastal ecosystems and, gratefully, has the opportunity to nurture her interests through the efforts of the Bird Observatory.

Contact: ktokatlian@sfbbo.org

Karine Tokatlian
Karine Tokatlian, Biologist
Senior Biologist

Alvaro Jaramillo, M.S. is a senior biologist working with both the Science and Outreach Programs. Alvaro has a B.S. in Zoology from the University of Toronto, and a M.S. in Ecology and Evolution from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. An expert on the birds of California and North America, he is also an authority on the birds of Chile, authoring of Birds of Chile (2003) and collaborating on Chile’s Important Bird Areas program. An author and contributor to numerous field guides and popular publications, Alvaro’s passion is not only to understand the biology and natural history of birds, but to enrich other’s enjoyment of birds and further avian conservation. Alvaro recently received the Eisenmann Medal of the Linnean Society of New York, established to honor those who excel in ornithology and encourage the amateur.

Contact: ajaramillo@sfbbo.org

Alvaro Jaramillo
Alvaro Jaramillo, Senior Biologist
Senior Ecologist

David Thomson, M.S. is a senior ecologist leading our Habitats Program. David has a B.S. in Biology from Seattle University in Washington and a M.S. in Wetland Ecology from Southeastern Louisiana University, where he contributed to and led research on coastal wetlands. Since moving to California in 2001 he has actively researched the ecology and restoration of wetlands in San Francisco Bay, including an ongoing study to develop methods and materials for restoring tidal marsh-upland ecotonal habitats. The methods he has developed are being utilized to restore habitats at sites throughout the estuary as a part of the tidal marsh ecosystem's restoration. David hopes to contribute to our understanding of bird habitat ecology and enrich our research programs with this perspective.

Contact: dthomson@sfbbo.org

David Thomson
David Thomson, Senior Ecologist

Aidona Kakouros, M.S. is an Ecologist for our Habitats Program. Aidona has a B.S. in Forestry and Natural Environment Studies from Aristotelian University of Thessalonica, Greece and a M.S in Environmental Studies from San Jose State University where she studied interactions between Forsterís terns and California gulls. Aidona got hooked with environmental conservation initiatives in her early teen years and since then she has participated professionally and voluntarily in a variety of conservation projects including ecotype mapping, bird and other wildlife species studies, habitat assessment and environmental education. Aidona strongly believes that habitat restoration gives us an exceptional opportunity to further increase our understanding of the ecosystem dynamics and particularly of speciesí interactions; thus, it should incorporate an experimental approach to meet this end. She is very excited to participate in a project with such a creative potential and determined to employ her knowledge and skills towards this direction.

Contact: akakouros@sfbbo.org

Aidona Kakouros
Aidona Kakouros, Ecologist