At the May meeting, FAS will elect the President, Vice President and several Director positions. Nominees (with biographies) for these positions are:

President—Kay Mitchell,:  The nominating committee has asked me to run again for president, and I have agreed to do so. The past 2 years have gone by very fast. We have added the Jewel Basin Hawk Watch to our scientific activity portfolio, raised $15,000 for the West Valley ponds conservation easement, and navigated our Education program through 3 Conservation Educators to its current very high standards. Over the next year, we will host the Montana Audubon Birds Over the Big Sky Festival. I am happy to be able to help  Flathead Audubon move forward to more successes.”

I’ve never felt that it’s right to volunteer for a job and then spend the next 2 years trying to get out of it. Some Audubon chapters in Montana operate without a president, but they don’t get too much accomplished. My approach over the last 2 years has been to provide structure, encouragement and organization to an awesome, active board of directors who are totally, actively committed to the Audubon way of life. My favorite part of the job is sharing and receiving the excitement of birds and conservation with you, the members. Flathead Audubon has made some major steps forward in the last 2 years. We still have more to do, and the list isn’t short. I guess we could muddle through without a president, but maybe it’s better to have somebody who really wants to do it?

Vice President—Gael Bissell Gael has been on the FAS board for the last 6 years and has served as Vice President for the last 3. She has been co-chair of the Field Trips Committee,  member of the Financial and Owen Sowerwine Committees. She has helped with Conservation Achievement Recognition program, Phenology Calendar, Conservation/Education grants, Jewel Basin Hawk Watch, membership surveys, and contributed to the Pileated Post. Gael retired as a wildlife biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks in 2015 and is now Conservation Manager for the Vital Ground Foundation.


Rod Wallette—Having lived in the valley for most of my life, I have seen a tremendous amount of change along with the impacts of those changes. To be able to work with the officers/board members of FAS with the goals of preserving our resources along with educating others of the value of those resources would be a great opportunity I would embrace. Besides being a member of FAS, I am also a member of and support Swan View Coalition as well as Headwaters Montana. As a member of FAS, I have assisted with the old bird seed sales, participated in the Bigfork and Kalispell Christmas bird counts, assisted with the Jewel Basin Hawk Watch for the past couple of years and am currently participating with the Curlew survey in Mission Valley. Following a work-related injury in the mid-eighties, I was told to find less physical work so I returned to school at FVCC and went on to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting at MSU. A year later I returned to school to obtain a Master’s Degree in Vocational Counseling from EMC. I worked in that field for 20 years, the last five of which I operated my own business. I spent the last 2 ½ years, prior to retiring in 2015, working as a Case Manager where I assisted and advocated for individuals with Intellectual Disabilities. After retiring, I became a volunteer for the NW Montana Veterans Food Pantry for nine months and then went on to become a volunteer for the Museum at Central School where I continue to volunteer twice a week.