Audubon Vermont Staff
Audubon Vermont Staff
About Us


Meet the Audubon Vermont Staff!!
Audubon Vermont Staff: (left to right) Mark LaBarr, Debbie Archer, David Mears, Emily Kaplita, Kim Guertin, Margaret Fowle, Gwendolyn Causer, Steve Hagenbuch, Sarah Hooghuis, Rae Bronenkant. Missing: Kate Bentley Photo: Rae Bronenkant
Audubon Vermont Staff: (left to right) Mark LaBarr, Debbie Archer, David Mears, Emily Kaplita, Kim Guertin, Margaret Fowle, Gwendolyn Causer, Steve Hagenbuch, Sarah Hooghuis, Rae Bronenkant. Missing: Kate Bentley Photo: Rae Bronenkant
About Us


Meet the Audubon Vermont Staff!!

We are a group of people who are passionate about our work and believe in the power of education, conservation, and policy action!

Debbie Archer - Teacher/Naturalist and Education Program Coordinator

Growing up in a military family, Debbie moved around the country throughout her childhood. But, as a fourth-grader, she made a declaration that she would live in Vermont when she grew up. Many years later she is very happily putting down roots here in Vermont and working for Audubon. Debbie joined the education team in 2015 with a Master of Science in Environmental Science from Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs. She gained experience in outdoor education working as an educator, naturalist, and camp program manager at environmental education camps in Alaska and California. She lives in Montpelier where she continues to be excited to see and experience all that Vermont has to offer during each of its seasons. 

Kate Bentley - Office Coordinator

Kate Bentley is a southern transplant to Vermont. Originally from Georgia, Kate moved to Vermont in 2011 after falling deeply in love with the Green Mountains. Her love of conservation and the environment stems from her childhood where she spent summers camping in the Georgia Mountains and exploring the costal islands, which have left a lasting imprint on her love for wild habitats. 

Kate majored in Photography and Ceramics and has carried her love of art into lifelong studies of traditional crafts and skills. Over that last decade she’s immersed herself in studies of health and wellness. She holds certifications as a Yoga Therapist, Chinese Medicine Practitioner, Folk Herbalist, and Massage Therapist. She has a part time private practice in Shelburne. Kate became a Director of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, an international yoga therapy training school. During this time she honed her knack for administration, group facilitation, and developed her love of teaching.

Kate also has a photography passion project that centers on portraits in the wilderness. Her photography often takes her into the backcountry or to remote rivers, fields and corners of the wilderness. These explorations have deepened her love for Vermont and the desire to protect these natural spaces.

Kate lives in Lincoln with her daughter and her adventurous Siberian husky. Her passions include studying traditional crafts, weaving, fiber arts, homesteading, gardening, permaculture, foraging for medicinal plants, and exploring the hidden rivers and trails of Vermont.

Rae Bronenkant - Youth Leadership Coordinator

Rae grew up in Massachusetts, spending her days exploring her backyard and the local trails by her house. She came to Vermont in 2015 to finish her undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont in Environmental Studies, and has been here ever since then. As an Audubon Vermont intern she helped to create a climate change education framework as her senior UVM Capstone Project. After graduating in 2017 Rae served at Audubon Vermont as the Environmental Education and Outreach AmeriCorps member for two years.

Rae is excited to be the new Youth Leadership Coordinator at Audubon Vermont. Over the years Rae has gained knowledge in environmental education through working with many different organizations and enjoys being a naturalist at Audubon. Her passions reside in the phenology of Vermont, and in engaging all people with opportunities to foster a love for the natural world and the interconnectedness of all things. In Rae’s free time she enjoys all changes and magic in each season in Vermont by hiking, biking, skiing, painting, taking notes, and studying field guides.

Gwendolyn Causer - Teacher/Naturalist and Communications Manager

Gwendolyn grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio. Gwendolyn was introduced to Audubon in 2002, diving into the wonderful preschool and family programs with her daughter Ella. She deepened her connection to Audubon as a volunteer with Ella, monitoring Eastern Bluebird nest boxes and Eastern Red-Backed Salamander populations. Gwendolyn Causer has been teaching environmental education programs with Audubon Vermont since 2005. Gwendolyn’s first love in nature is botany and she does most of her birding by ear. She is passionate about creating equitable access to nature for communities not traditionally included in the environmental movement. Gwendolyn lives near Lake Champlain in Burlington with her husband Gary and enjoys Nordic skiing, swimming, and skating on "wild" ice.

Margaret Fowle - Conservation Biologist

Margaret is a conservation biologist with Audubon Vermont's Peregrine Falcon Recovery Program and Champlain Valley Bird Initiative. Prior to coming to Audubon in 2009, Margaret coordinated peregrine and bald eagle recovery efforts in Vermont. Margaret also works with private landowners to promote management activities that enhance grassland and shrubland habitats for priority bird species in the Champlain Valley. Margaret obtained her Master's degree in wildlife biology from the University of Vermont, where she studied the population of double-crested cormorants on Lake Champlain. She lives in Huntington with her husband Breck and two daughters Ada and Frances. They enjoy hiking, skiing, biking, and gardening.

Kim Guertin - Green Mountain Audubon Center Director

Kim has worked for Audubon Vermont since 2000 and before that worked for the local Audubon chapter. Nature-based education is her passion and she became the first National Audubon certified teacher-naturalist in the country. Kim now works as the Director of the Green Mountain Audubon Center in Huntington. She graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.S. in Environmental Studies, with a concentration in Environmental Education. She also attended the School for International Training in Arusha, Tanzania where she studied wildlife, conservation and ecology. Kim lives with her husband and two children in North Duxbury. She enjoys hiking with her dog, skiing out her back door, yoga, and drinking coffee by her woodstove.

Steve Hagenbuch - Conservation Biologist

Steve has worked with Audubon in a variety of roles since 1998. Currently he is a conservation biologist with Audubon Vermont's Forest Bird Initiative. In this position Steve works with private landowners, municipalities, foresters, and land managers to promote management activities that will enhance the habitat value of forestland for priority bird species. In 2009 Steve obtained his master's degree in conservation biology from Antioch University New England. His graduate research investigated the implications of maple sugarbush management for Neotropical migrant songbirds. When not in the woods on business Steve can still be found there - hiking, mountain biking, backcountry skiing, exploring with his kids, or whatever else seems like fun. Steve, his wife Dana, and their two children, live on an 1850's farm in Waterbury Center, VT.

Sarah Hooghuis - Environmental Education and Outreach AmeriCorps Member

Sarah hails from Connecticut where she spent most of her childhood exploring the wetland and hardwood forest in the park just across the street, which cultivated a deep respect and interest in the natural world. She recently graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in Environmental Studies with a focus on environmental education and food systems. In between semesters Sarah taught at environmental education organizations from New Mexico to Martha’s Vineyard where she enjoyed sharing the natural and cultural history of the land with campers. Most of all, Sarah loves teaching how natural and cultivated landscapes interact with one another and where their relationship can be more sustainable. Sarah is excited to be the Americorps Member at Audubon Vermont because it is an opportunity to give back to both the greater community and an organization she loves, while also building her skills as a naturalist. In her free time Sarah writes poetry, forages for wild edibles, and cooks elaborate vegetarian meals. 

Emily Kaplita - Teacher/Naturalist and Administrative Assistant

Emily is originally from Connecticut. Vermont has always held a special place in her heart since she was young, and she is happy to now call Vermont home.  Emily has been at Audubon Vermont since 2016, first teaching as summer camp staff, then serving as Audubon Vermont's first AmeriCorps Member, and now joining the Education Team as a Teacher/Naturalist. She has a Bachelor's of Science degree in Biology from Dickinson College. Emily has multiple years of experience in environmental education and research experience with amphibians, mostly the American Toad, and will enhance our education programs more with this knowledge. Emily currently lives in South Burlington.  She enjoys hiking, biking, swimming in fresh water, skiing (both Nordic and downhill), and spending time with family and friends. 

Mark LaBarr - Conservation Program Manager

Mark has been with Audubon for more than 15 years. His work includes coordinating the Vermont Common Tern Recovery Project, the Green Mountain Audubon Center bird banding station and the Audubon Vermont Conservation Internship Program. He has worked on bird projects from Hawaii to Belize studying everything from albatrosses to catbirds. Mark also oversees the stewardship needs at the Green Mountain Audubon Center. Mark has a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Vermont and a Master’s in Education from St. Michael's College. He enjoys spending time with his two children, Owein and Mae, and lives in Huntington.  

David Mears - Executive Director

David joined Audubon in the fall of 2018. He directs Audubon Vermont  and in this role, supports the educational and outreach programs based out of the Green Mountain Audubon Center in Huntington. David also coordinates policy work for Audubon Vermont focused on bird species protection in the areas of climate, working lands, water, and bird-friendly communities. Prior to joining Audubon Vermont, he served as the Associate Dean of Environmental Programs at Vermont Law School. In addition to serving as a professor and administrator at Vermont Law School, David has held a number of positions in state and federal government including serving as Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation from 2011 to 2015.  He has also served in Texas state government, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, and the Washington Office of the Attorney General in the Ecology Division.  David has a degree in environmental engineering technology from Cornell University, and a Juris Doctor and Masters of Environmental Law and Policy degrees from Vermont Law School. He lives in Montpelier with his wife Nancy and spends his free time in the garden or roaming the hills, rivers and lakes in the region.

Audubon Vermont Staff
Silly staff photo... Photo: Rae Bronenkant

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