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About Us

Field Trips.CBC Rarities FT Jeff & Bruce.2019.01.05
Conservation.SNPL Exclosure.2018.05.24

Our Mission

Sea and Sage Audubon Society’s mission is to protect birds, other wildlife, and their habitats through education, citizen science, research, and public policy advocacy.

Who We Are

Sea and Sage Audubon Society (Sea and Sage) is an Orange County, California, chapter of the National Audubon Society with over 3000 local members. We serve all of Orange County, advancing the appreciation, understanding, and conservation of birds, other wildlife, and their habitats. Chartered by National Audubon in 1958, we are an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with our own bylaws and constitution. As with most of the 450+ Audubon chapters across the country, we operate as a mostly volunteer organization. In 2020, 1141 volunteers provided over 20,000 hours to operate our programs. Our employees include one full-time Marsh Education Project Director and three part-time employees. The Sea and Sage Board of Directors consists of 11 officers, 15 voting committee chairs and various other program managers.

Diversity Equity and Inclusion

Sea and Sage Audubon Society is committed to making our activities safe, accessible, and welcoming to everyone. We strive to foster an atmosphere of belonging and to include everyone in our activities — people of any age, sex, physical ability, race, religious belief, gender identity or sexual orientation. 

Learn more at Diversity Equity and Inclusion and see how our Accessible Birding activities focus on accessible birding opportunities.

“The birds Audubon pledges to protect differ in color, size, behavior, geographical preference, and countless other ways. By honoring and celebrating the equally remarkable diversity of the human species, Audubon will bring new creativity, effectiveness and leadership to our work throughout the hemisphere.”  National Audubon Society

Our Location

Our headquarters is located at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, a 300-acre freshwater wetland owned by the Irvine Ranch Water District. Our partnership with the Irvine Ranch Water District enables us to be ambassadors to the public for bird-watching opportunities and environmental education about birds and wetland ecosystems. The Audubon House, a restored historical cottage from the duck hunting era, serves as the visitor center for the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary and includes a bookstore, giftshop, a few educational displays and the Fern Zimmerman Nature Library. Audubon House is open daily except major holidays and is staffed entirely by Sea and Sage volunteers.

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What We Do

Among the many programs Sea and Sage Audubon employs to fulfill our mission are the following:


Monitoring and working to preserve open spaces and areas of ecological diversity throughout Southern California, frequently networking with other Audubon chapters and other conservation organizations.  Partnering with county and municipal parks to effect best practices for land use; for habitat preservation, restoration, and maintenance policies; and for safe trail use. Partnering with state parks to monitor and protect endangered species such as Least Terns and Snowy Plovers.

Adult Education Programs:
Teaching beginning and advanced birding classes featuring identification by sight and sound, accompanied by field trips; bat walks led by a local bat biologist; a full schedule of field trips open to members and the public to local and more distant destinations, including pelagic trips; and naturalist-led walks at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary.

Youth Education Programs:
Focusing on the Outdoor Adventures Program for 4th and 5th graders with an emphasis on under-served communities; and on the Junior Naturalist teen program.

Offering summer camp sessions for ages seven through seventeen, focusing on birds and other wildlife, native plants, habitats and wetland ecology.

Bird Counts and Bird Studies:
Conducting four annual Christmas Bird Counts; the annual Orange County Spring Count; the monthly BirdSeasons phenology study; seasonal Snowy Plover surveys; Least Tern monitoring; monthly Upper Newport Bay and San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary surveys; and the Tree Swallow Nest Box Program.

Academic Scientific Research:
Sponsoring research on ecology and conservation through the Bloom-Hays grant program.

Community Outreach:

Communicating and offering programs and volunteer opportunities:

  • The Sea and Sage website is a continuing resource providing information about chapter programs and activities.
  • Monthly General Meetings and 4th Tuesday Conservation lectures provide opportunities for our members to come together to hear about topics of interest.
  • The Annual Dinner, Pancake Breakfast and Summer Barbeque are welcomed social events.
  • A wide range of committees engage our membership in volunteering to do important work.

Executive Committee

Jonathan Aguayo President
Jonathan Aguayo
Christine Kim Vice President
Christine Kim
Vice President
Melissa Rapp Secretary
Melissa Rapp
Chris Byrd Treasurer
Chris Byrd
Barbara Wasbin 2024 Director
Barbara Wasbin
2024 Director
Sudha Warrier 2026 Director
Sudha Warrier
2026 Director
Catherine Steinberg 2024 Director
Catherine Steinberg
2024 Director
Maia Nguyen 2026 Director
Maia Nguyen
2026 Director
Mary Ellen Wynn2025 Director
Mary Ellen Wynn
2025 Director
Gail Richards Past President
Gail Richards
Past President
Sarah Baker2025 Director
Sarah Baker
2025 Director

Committee Chairpersons

Sharon Rockwell Accessible Birding
Sharon Rockwell
Accessible Birding
Chris Byrd Archives & Records
Chris Byrd
Archives & Records
Doug Lithgow Audubon House
Doug Lithgow
Audubon House
Paula Monroe Aud House Volunteers
Paula Monroe
Aud House Volunteers
Dev Sellin Aud House Volunteers
Dev Sellin
Aud House Volunteers
Sylvia Gallagher Bird Information
Sylvia Gallagher
Bird Information
Darrell Wilson Bird Surveys
Darrell Wilson
Bird Surveys
Scott Thomas Diversity, Equity, Inclusion
Scott Thomas
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion
Susan Sheakley Conservation
Susan Sheakley
Cheryl Thomas Development
Cheryl Thomas
Ellyn Siskind Education
Ellyn Siskind
Mary Joseph Events
Mary Joseph
Mary Joseph Exhibits
Mary Joseph
Gail Richards Field Trips
Gail Richards
Field Trips
Tom Van Huss Finance
Tom Van Huss
Doug Lithgow Human Resources
Doug Lithgow
Human Resources
Vic Leipzig Insurance
Vic Leipzig
Jim Kissinger Membership
Jim Kissinger
Nancy Kenyon Newsletter Editor
Nancy Kenyon
Newsletter Editor
Janet & Al Baumann Bylaws & Related Documents
Janet & Al Baumann
Bylaws & Related Documents
Christine Kim Programs
Christine Kim
Scott Thomas Raptor Research
Scott Thomas
Raptor Research
Amber Heredia Research Grants
Amber Heredia
Research Grants
Bruce AirdScience
Bruce Aird
Chris Obaditch SJWS Liaison
Chris Obaditch
SJWS Liaison
Sandrine Biziaux-Scherson Social Media
Sandrine Biziaux-Scherson
Social Media
Sandy DeSimone Starr Ranch Liaison
Sandy DeSimone
Starr Ranch Liaison
Darrell Wilson Webmaster
Darrell Wilson

Chapter Paid Staff

Trude Hurd Marsh Ed. Project Director
Trude Hurd
Marsh Ed.
Project Director
Mindy Bergen Marsh Ed. Assistant
Mindy Bergen
Marsh Ed.
Catherine Steinberg Sales Manager
Catherine Steinberg
Sales Manager
Sandrine Biziaux-Scherson-Sherson Administrative Aide
Sandrine Biziaux-Scherson-Sherson
Administrative Aide

Contact Information for Sea & Sage Audubon Society

Chapter Email: Nancy Kenyon

Chapter Mail:

Sea & Sage Audubon
PO Box 5447
Irvine CA 92616-5447

Phone: (Chapter Office – Audubon House)


Audubon House is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. except for major holidays
If we don’t answer your call, please leave us a message so that we can call you back.

Education Email: Trude Hurd

Education Mail:

5 Riparian View,

Irvine, CA 92612

Wandering Tattler Newsletter

The Voice of SEA AND SAGE AUDUBON, an Orange County Chapter of the National Audubon Society


The Wandering Tattler Newsletter is emailed or mailed monthly to all 3000 plus members of Sea and Sage to keep them informed of upcoming events and reports of interest. Subscriptions are available to non-members.











Tattler Subscriptions

Non-Audubon members or members from other Audubon chapters who wish to subscribe to our chapter newsletter may do so for $14.00 per year. Make check payable to “Sea and Sage Audubon” and mail to:

Tattler Subscriptions
32 Almond Tree Ln, Irvine CA 92612

Go Paperless!

Sign up to receive your Wandering Tattler newsletter via email — get your issues faster, help save natural resources, reduce waste, and help our chapter save money! You can read it online or print out the pages you need to refer to more frequently. It is in PDF format and will look and print exactly like the original ones. Photos will be in color. Contact Jim Kissinger at and tell him you want to go “Paperless.”

Highlights of 2023

2023 Accomplishments by Committees

Accessible Birding Committee

6 successful bird outings to: Irvine Regional Park (2), Craig Regional Park, Riley Regional Park (Owl Banding with Pete Bloom), Huntington Central East, and a Private Event – Birding by Ear for the Blind with OC Guide.

Archives and Records Committee

  1. 2022-23 was once again a stable year for Archives and Records, with both the Dropbox Archives and Dropbox View accounts being maintained regularly and functioning well in general. However, Dropbox changes in login procedures has had the result that Board members can no longer “generically” log in to the View account for access to the Board Resource Notebook.
    • With the support of the secretary and membership chair, we continue to add monthly board documents and Wandering Tattler copies to the Archives, as well as other documents that are pertinent to major events or the history of the chapter.
    • Several committees use folders in the Archives account actively for their record keeping and for ongoing chapter and committee work, including Membership, Conservation, the Conservation subcommittees for Legislation and Advocacy and Tackling Climate and Trash, Field Trips, and the treasurer.
  2. Contents of the Board Resource Notebook were updated several times during the year and are available to board members through a link to the Archives account.

Audubon House Committee

  1. Successfully recruited volunteers to cover most weekends.
  2. Volunteers worked 2800 hours.
  3. Hosted 4778 visitors

Bird Information Committee

  1. Raptor Identification-taught by Bill Clark Introductory workshop – 25 students
  2. Intermediate/Advanced – 16 students
  3. Birds of Southern California- Oct-Dec 2023 – 56 students in 3 sessions for 10 weeks
  4. Shorebirds of North America-Pt 2 March-August – 48 students in 3 sessions over 19 weeks

Conservation Committee

  1. With the guidance of the Conservation Committee and its Tackling Climate and Trash Subcommittee, Sea and Sage made great progress at 6 in-person events in drastically reducing food waste, trash to the landfill, and single-use plastic/other items used. This was accomplished by using reusable rather than disposable place settings. We invited guests to bring their own place settings and entered those who did in free drawing of eco-friendly prizes. Volunteers manned ‘scrape and rinse’ and ‘wash and dry’ stations. Cold drinks were served in reusable, or recyclable aluminum containers, only. We were careful in the amount of food that was ordered. All organic waste was composted or recycled to a city or county organic-green waste service. At our two major events, over 200 disposable plates, napkins, cups, mugs, and plastic cutlery were not used and did not end up in the landfill! At the Summer BBQ, 29 pounds of organic waste were recycled. At the Fall Pancake Breakfast there was very little organic waste.
  2. The Conservation Committee completed another successful year of offering Sea and Sage’s well-received and informative ‘4th Tuesday’ Conservation Virtual Lecture series. The most recent season had nine lectures on a variety of topics relating to bird or wildlife research and conservation issues. We featured several local programs on climate change and tackling trash. Publicity reaches over 4,000 via the chapter newsletter. Reminders are sent electronically to a growing list of “interested persons” that currently numbers over 1,000. Programs are well received by members and the public, occasionally generating a new membership.
      • Tackling Climate and Trash Sub-Committee
        The Tackling Climate and Trash subcommittee completed its second successful year investigating climate change and trash and pollution; concentrating on what we as individuals can do; and sharing what we learned with our members and the public, through our newsletter and chapter website. We contributed significantly to the chapter’s success in reducing trash and waste at chapter events. We initiated a project to learn what happens in Orange County to what goes into the trash, the recycles, and the green/organics waste buckets.
      • Legislation and Advocacy Sub-Committee
        The Legislation and Advocacy subcommittee of the Conservation Committee successfully completed its second year of operation. We tracked 13 bills through the 2023 session of the California Legislature and during the Legislative process, submitted comment letters (all in support) in about ten instances. We met with one state senator, one assembly member, and one county supervisor.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

The year was marked by a transition from Devin Bradley, who retired as Chairperson mid-year amongst some anxiety within the chapter over the Audubon name change issue, resulting in leadership reverting to Scott Thomas taking back the role as Chairperson in September 2023. The committee is proud of the accomplishment of introducing diversity, equity, and inclusion awareness into the chapter’s major events (Summer BBQ, Art Meets Nature, Fall Pancake Breakfast, and December Holiday Boutique), where we witnessed tangible results verified by new members that praised our small efforts as being successful, welcoming actions.

Events Committee

  1. Members of the Events Committee worked with other members of Sea & Sage and with people outside of the Chapter to sponsor and organize a morning of Plein Air painting, which was followed by judging of the paintings and the awarding of prizes. They worked in coordination with The Southern California Plein Air Painters Association. The event brought people into the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary who otherwise might never have experienced the marsh.
  2. Pancake Breakfast: There are 37 volunteers who have managed the same Pancake Breakfast duties for many years. Last year we had at least 48 volunteers, some of them volunteering for more than one job during the Pancake Breakfast.

Exhibits Committee

We staffed 16 tables at 9 locations. We spoke to 2085 people. Due to the generosity of a local nursery, we received donations of $7,204. Some of the funds came from “round-up” donations given by customers at the nursery and the rest was donated by Roger’s Gardens.

Field Trip Committee

  1. A field trip committee was formed to meet once a month to review our field trip processes and procedures, including: the expansion of field trip offerings; improve publicity; and the development of Field Trip Leader Guidelines.
  2. Online registration has been added through Eventbrite. for all field trips. This facilitates communication and provides trip leaders with a list of participants and their emails for distribution of eBird checklists.
  3. A rating system has been added to describe the Birding Skills required for a particular trip (Advanced, Intermediate, Introductory or All Levels) and the Walking Difficulty (Easy, Moderate, Strenuous). These were developed to allow registrants to pick a trip that is right for them.

Finance Committee

  1. Prepare 2024 budgets for the Chapter and the Marsh Education Project
  2. Review and monitor investment portfolios

Membership and Data Operations Committee

  1. Added 274 people to our mailing list.
  2. Sent 187,445 emails, in support of the chapter.
  3. Launched 63 campaigns.
  4. Maintained 4000 membership records
  5. Designed, monitored, managed over 40 field trips and Chapter Activities on Eventbrite.

Raptor Research Committee

The Raptor Research Committee recruited over 40 volunteers to conduct nesting raptor surveys and monitoring in parks and open spaces across Orange County. Scott and Mina conducted training courses by Zoom and in the field, and by late February 2023, volunteers began searching for, identifying, and logging active raptor nests. They conducted follow-up monitoring on the status of the nest all the way through the end of the breeding season, producing a huge database on raptor nesting activity in Orange County for the 2023 breeding season.

San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary Liaison Committee

The major event was the Plein Air Art Event at the Marsh.

Social Media Committee

Facebook page followers: 5433; we have followers in more than 20 countries.

Instagram supports Sea & Sage reaching a broader audience through content posted to our grid, temporary “stories” that are shared for 24 hours, engagement with followers, and interactions with other accounts. In the last year: posts reached between 145 – 929 accounts per post (average 552). Increased followers by 3% since November 28, 2023. Currently at 1637 followers.

Sea & Sage 2024 Annual Plan


2024 Goals by Committees


Accessible Birding Committee

  1. Plan and implement four birding events with social time to follow.
  2. Have at least one of the birding events at a location new have not tried before.
  3. Ask for volunteers from the accessible birding community to assist with scouting.

Archives and Records Committee

  1. The primary goal of this committee will continue to be the maintenance and support for chapter electronic archives, currently housed in Dropbox.
  2. Maintenance of the Board Resource Notebook will continue as required, with Board member access to the contents facilitated by committee members as needed.

Audubon House Committee

  1. Absorb the duties and responsibilities of the Audubon House Manager among the Volunteer Coordinators and the Audubon House Chair
  2. Continue to canvass for new volunteers through newsletter articles, program announcements and social media.
  3. Update the Audubon House Answer (Resource) Book and have a digital copy stored in Dropbox.

Bird Information Committee

  1. Learning California Bird Sounds-Jan-March 2024
  2. Advanced shorebirds Pt 2 July-September
  3. Birds of Southern California- Oct-Dec 2024

Conservation Committee

  1. Continue to work to protect birds and wildlife and natural habitats and resources and to work with other organizations to accomplish this.
  2. Host the ‘4th Tuesday’ Conservation Lecture series.
  3. Update and improve the Conservation Website to make it more useful and informative for the chapter and its members.

Legislation and Advocacy Sub-Committee
Legislation and Advocacy will track 13 or so state bills, possibly expanding their work to include federal legislation. We will meet with legislators on an as needed basis. We will participate in Audubon California’s advocacy day if it is held.

Tackling Climate and Trash Sub-Committee
The Tackling Climate and Trash subcommittee will continue to investigate climate change and trash and pollution and share what we learn with our members and the public. We will refine materials created for achieving “reusable instead of disposable” for chapter events and will seek better storage solutions to improve accessibility to these materials. We will increase our education and outreach efforts.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

  1. Conduct outreach at local parks in underserved communities.
  2. Conduct several special birding events, i.e. LGBTQ and Friends Sunset Walk and Juneteenth Awareness Bird Walls

Education Committee

Please see MEP Annual Report 2023 FINAL document.

Events Committee

The Events Committee sees a need to involve younger members of Sea & Sage in the planning and execution of the Events. We should make a concerted effort to listen to ideas from the younger members of the Chapter, use them, and ask younger active members of the Chapter to take responsibility for overseeing one or more portions of the Events Committee activities.

Exhibits Committee

Continue working with Roger’s Gardens and with an important, recent venue, the City of Santa Ana.

Field Trip Committee

  1. Continue to expand our outreach with offerings of a wider range of field trips for our membership.
  2. Explore strategies to include Diverse communities.
  3. Continue our outreach to all members with mobility issues and meet their needs for accessibility.

Finance Committee

  1. Review all bylaws and policies pertaining to the Chapter’s finances to ensure that they are up to date, in conformity with California law, and sufficient. Additions and/or changes will be proposed as necessary.
  2. Create annotated Chart of Accounts to provide consistency and accuracy in accounting for the Society’s income and expenses.
  3. Restructure the role of the Treasurer and explore ways to outsource some of the treasury tasks.
  4. Create an operation manual for the Treasurer to clarify all treasury duties and responsibilities, as well as ensuring sustainability.

Membership and Data Operations Committee

Continue the fine work we are doing.

Programs Committee

Continue reaching out for new General Meeting speakers that interest and engage our participants.

Raptor Research Committee

  1. Organize the 2023 and upcoming 2024 data in a user-friendly database.
  2. Continue the Orange County Nesting Raptor Survey and Monitoring Effort
  3. Assist in fund raising for and development of a specialized raptor flight cage for Peregrine Falcons at the Orange County Bird of Prey Center (OCBPC)

Research Grant Committee

Continue to select the Bloom-Hays grant recipients as well as recipients for the new Zembal Wetlands grant.

San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary Liaison Committee

Continue to collaborate throughout the year with the members of the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary Board of directors to address our mutual interests and goals.

Social Media Committee

Facebook: Engage more followers with humorous Sunday posts. Get more content from SAS committee chairs.

Instagram: Increase frequency and consistency of posts (Use app buffer to help schedule posts to have more scheduled, regular content). Develop a graphic to be used consistently for announcements. Better collaborate with other Sea & Sage committees: it helps greatly when others send us info and photos for posts. It is difficult to harvest photos and links from the newsletter or emails, which slows down the frequency of posts. Better organize shared photos: post frequency is sometimes limited by access to appropriate, social media quality, photos.