Each spring, FAS elects officers and board directors. Officers are elected for a two-year term, alternating between president and vice-president one year, and secretary and treasurer the next. This is the year for secretary and treasurer. Board directors are usually elected for a three-year term, and occasionally for shorter terms by choice of the candidate. 

This year’s election will be held at our May 13 potluck meeting. The slate of nominees below has been compiled by the FAS Elections Chair. You will see that three current directors whose terms are expiring have stepped up to run for re-election. Nominations will also be taken from the floor. There is no limit on the number of directors that can be on the Board, so please speak up if you are interested. 

Secretary: Michele Tohtz.  Michele was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Montana in 1983 with her husband, Joel. They lived in Missoula, Libby, and Deer Lodge before moving to Livingston, where they raised their two children. While in Livingston, she completed a bachelor’s degree in education at Montana State University and taught English at the local middle school.  

Michele and Joel moved to the Flathead Valley seventeen years ago, where she taught French, Spanish, and Reading at Kalispell Middle School. After retiring she was able to spend more time hiking, camping, and enjoying the outdoors. She reports that after just one trip to the Jewel Basin Hawk Watch, she became interested in birding, and began to attend Flathead Audubon meetings. She enjoys volunteering on the membership committee and lending a hand wherever needed. In addition to FAS, she is also an active member of Friends of ImagineIf Libraries where she coordinate the Homebound Program to deliver materials to patrons who are unable to travel to the library. 

Treasurer: Rod Wallette. Rod is running for re-election as Treasurer, having already served several

terms in his office. He has also he worked on several committees and was involved with projects including work activities at Owen Sowerwine. He is actively involved with the Jewel Basin Hawk Watch and Montana Audubon’s curlew surveys at Camas Prairie. Rod completed a Bachelors’ degree in accounting in 1990 and went on to complete a Masters’ degree in Vocational Counseling in 1994. He worked as a Vocational Counselor in the Flathead Valley and Hawaii for 22 years.

Board Director 3-year term: Jake Bramante. Jake says that growing up in a log home in northwestern Montana, he frequently ran around with his brother in the Forest Service land adjacent to the family property. Armed with the blue, Golden Guide to Birds of North America, he helped an area wildlife biologist with his section of the Libby area Christmas Bird Count. His fondest bird memory is of a Northern Pygmy Owl that flew right over and landed on a scrappy bush next to him. After a few years away at college in the desert, he came back to Montana with a renewed commitment to enjoy the woods. Shortly after, he spent one summer hiking all of Glacier’s trails. Currently he makes his living by creating day hiking maps for national parks – but, he tells us, “I sneak out to bird as often as I can.” 

Board Director 3-year term: Kay Mitchell. Kay offers a good combination of historical knowledge and an understanding of current FAS activities and programs. She served for many years as newsletter editor, has been active from the beginning in Flathead Audubon’s management of Owen Sowerwine, and currently serves as grant writer for the Great Fish Community Challenge and as financial reviewer. She has previously served as President of FAS and as a Board Director. Kay is a firm supporter of Flathead Audubon’s programs and an advocate for land and habitat protection. She and her husband Brent operate a tree farm west of Kalispell.

Board Director 2-year term: Ronda Howell. Ronda has been on the FAS  board for one year and is serving as the Programs Chair. She appreciates the many learning opportunities Flathead Audubon has made available to her and enjoys finding presenters for the meetings. Ronda has helped with the Birds of Prey Festival, Road Scholar Field Trips, and Owen Sowerwine work days. Some of the highlights of her birding year are kayaking Smith Lake, watching Church Slough waterfowl, Warbler Days at Tally Lake, and the Jewel Basin Hawk Watch. After graduating from Montana State University, Ronda taught elementary school in Montana and Texas for 35 years. She has 4 children and 3 grandchildren.