photo of Joan looking contemplative

Joan Patterson, President

  • Served as Director of Grassroots Outreach at the National Wildlife Refuge Association for 6 years
  • Former board member of Friends of Tualatin River NWR, Friends of the Potomac River Refuges and Friends of the Migratory Bird/Duck Stamp
  • Worked in IT and team-building facilitation

photo of Mark Musaus

Mark Musaus, Vice President

  • Retired CFO for the National Wildlife Refuge Association
  • Retired Deputy Regional Director for the Southeast Region of USFWS
  • Served as Chief of the Division of Visitor Services and Communications for the NWRS
  • National Wildlife Refuge Association Board member and Chair of Friends Committee
  • Friends of Tualatin River NWR President for five years and Bookstore committee
  • USFWS Friends Mentor Since 2014

Aimee smiling with butterflies perched on her

Aimee Arent, Secretary

  • Executive Director of Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
  • Background in Visitor Services through USFWS Visitor Services and Ohio Division of Wildlife
  • Former board member of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Association
  • BS Environmental Science from Bowling Green State University and Certificate of Nonprofit Management from University of Illinois – Chicago

Jon d'Alessio

Jon d’Alessio, Treasurer

Jon d’Alessio has over 30 years of financial management experience with both for-profit and nonprofit organizations, and has a passion for protecting wildlife, inspired by his photography hobby. He spent 24 years with McKesson Corporation, a Fortune 50 company,  in various financial roles, including stints as Corporate Treasurer and Group CFO, and 6 years with Fred Finch Youth & Family Services, a nonprofit social service agency, as CFO. He has served as Treasurer and/or President on several nonprofit boards, including Slide Ranch, Angel Island Conservancy, Sunnyhill Services, and Marin Photography Club.

His education includes a BS from University of California and MBA and JD degrees from Stanford University.

Since retiring in 2008, Jon has taken up wildlife photography and traveled the world trying to get that perfect photo. During his travels, he visited Bosque del Apache and Midway Atoll and saw the important role their refuges played in protecting the wildlife that call them home.  This led to his involvement in Friends of those refuges, where he is currently Treasurer of both Friends groups.

Dustin Braden, Director at large

  • Background in conservation, communications, and GIS/mapping
  • Former Visitor Services intern at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and Marketing intern with the Friends of Ottawa NWR
  • MS in Geography and Spatial Sciences from University of Delaware

Karen Holzer

Karen Holzer, Director at large

Karen Holzer is the Executive Director of the Booth Society, inc., the non-profit friends group of the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives located in Spearfish SD. She has been in her position for almost six years, since March of 2017. One of her primary responsibilities is supporting the FWS staff by assisting with the visitor services for the 190,000 people that visit the site each year. Other duties include advocacy, fundraising and special events. Karen lives in Spearfish with her husband Dave. They have 3 children and 8 grandchildren.

Ken and Patty Kupchak

Ken Kupchak, Director at large

  • Friends Board and 35 year Volunteer at Hakalau Forest NWR
  • Over 50 year an attorney at Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert, Fellow American College of Construction Lawyers and former Governing Committee of ABA Forum on Construction Law
  • Chair or President-Hawai’i Nature Center, Mid-Pacific Institute, Hawai’i Community Service Council, Kailua Neighborhood Board, Cornell Class of ‘64
  • Centennial Fellow-Penn State, Co-founder Hawai’i Lacrosse Club, Outings Chair – HI Sierra Club, Chief Minority Counsel-8th HI House Rep.

Photo of Lisa Jansen-Rees in the Wichita Mountains NWR

Lisa Jansen-Rees, Director at large

  • Retired social worker with 35 years’ experience in private and public non-profit organizations
  • Bachelors in Social Work from Indiana University, Masters in Social Work from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, and Sustaining Base Leadership and Management from Army Management Staff College
  • Certified trainer for the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Franklin Covey, Scream Free Institute and Imago Relationship Therapy
  • Board member for Friends of the Wichitas NWR and volunteer for the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Southwest Oklahoma
  • Volunteers for the American Legion Auxiliary, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Fit Kids of Southwest Oklahoma
  • Lisa and her husband Jim, an Army veteran, have hiked, camped, geocached, and kayaked extensively in the US and Europe

photo of Cheryl outdoors with greenery in background

Cheryl Hart, Director at large

  • National Wildlife Refuge Association Board member and Secretary
  • Friends of Tualatin River NWR President for five years and Bookstore committee
  • USFWS Friends Mentor Since 2014

Matthew Emmer, Director at large

  • Holding both a Masters in Film and Television from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a Bachelors in Audio Engineering from Clemson University, Matthew is dedicated to finding creative ways of promoting the National Wildlife Refuge System to the public.
  • With an interest in storytelling, he was the artist-in-residence for Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2018, and again in 2023, documenting park rangers and gathering oral histories. 
  • Active in pursuing educational opportunities and expanding his knowledge in inclusive policies, he has received on-site training at Friends Academy and has also taken the Outdoorist Oath.
  • Matthew currently serves as President to Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges.

Sue Wilder smiling brightly

Sue Wilder, Director at large

  • Master and Doctorate degrees in Botany from Louisiana State University
  • Research Ecologist for US Geological Survey and retired Regional Ecologistfor US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Board member for the Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges
  • Volunteer for Mississippi Coast Audubon, Crosby Arboretum, and the Gulf Coast Phenology Trail
  • Enjoys working on her golf game, sewing and enjoying time with her 5 grandsons

Tom Worthington, Director at large

  • Worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 38 years before retiring in 2018 as the Deputy Regional Chief of Refuges for the Midwest Region. 
  • Started his career with the Service at the Okefenokee Refuge in southeast Georgia, moved to Minnesota Valley Refuge in 1983 and later took on a variety of Refuge System leadership positions in the Midwest Regional Office.  
  • Remains active on the Service’s History Committee, recording oral histories from retired Service employees and partners. 
  • Enjoys playing tennis and sailing. 
  • He and his wife Melissa volunteer at the Refuge Nature Store and Information Desk and are frequent refuge trail hikers. 
  • Tom is on the Minnesota Valley Refuge Friends Board of Directors.

Mike Baldwin, Director at Large

Mike Baldwin serves as chair emeritus and past board chair of the National Wildlife Refuge Association, and an emeritus board member and past president of the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society, the Friends of the Refuge group that supports the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, FL. He has also served as co-chair of the Everglades
Coalition, an alliance of local, state and national conservation organizations dedicated to full restoration of the greater Everglades ecosystem.

Mike retired in 1999 as vice-president, technology support, for Millennium Petrochemical after a 31-year career in the chemical industry. He served as a
member of the senior management team of Millennium and, in prior years, of Dow Chemical Canada and Dow Chemical Latin America. He subsequently, and until year-end 2013, acted as a management consultant on improving safety and environmental performance in the chemical and energy industries.

Mike holds a BS in Chemistry from the University of Sheffield (England) and a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Alberta (Canada). Having lived in Sanibel for twenty years, he and his wife, Terry, relocated in 2019 tp the nearby Shell Point Retirement Community in Fort Myers.


photo of Jim outdoors with trees and snowy hills in the background

Jim Stone

  • National Wildlife Refuge Association Board Member
  • Friends of Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge Board Member for 15 years, serving as president for 10 years.

Joe McCauley

Joe McCauley

  • Retired USFWS served as regional chief, Division of Realty, Northeast Region
  • Chesapeake Fellow for the Chesapeake Conservancy
  • Director of Rappahannock Wildlife Refuge Friends

photo of Linda snowshoeing with her yellow labrador, Jackson

Linda Kilgore, Technology Adviser

  • Translates uses and best practices of technology and guides small nonprofit organizations in adopting and modernizing their digital tools.
  • BS, MS in Education
  • Certified Adult Training and Development Specialist
  • NTEN Certified Nonprofit Technology Professional
  • Google Workspace Administrator
  • Retired, Senior IT Operations and Policy Analyst, State of Oregon

photo of Sue with greenery in the background

Sue Hix, Newsletter Editor

  • Friends of Sherburne NWR Board Member for 15 years, serving as president and vice president
  • USFWS Friends Mentor
  • A 30-year career in banking, managed the training function for one of Minnesota’s largest banks
  • Consultant work focused on training, communications, and project coordination


Whether you can spare just a few hours a month to serve on a CORFA committee or want to jump in to board service with both feet by applying to serve as a director, we hope you’ll take a minute to fill out this interest form.