Audubon is a community of people: children, adults and elders, who believe that a
healthy environment is essential to the well-being of all life on earth.
To our members, supporters and volunteers – thank you for sustaining Audubon and helping us to be
a catalyst for for helping San Miguel secure a sustainable future.
If you would like to take a more active role in Audubon, please consider becoming a volunteer.
Board of Directors
April moved to San Miguel de Allende in 2010 and joined the Audubon Board of Directors soon thereafter. She has served as its president since 2014.
Mike is the founder and former president of Amigos de la Presa, AC, which in 2014 became a permanent program of Audubon de México.
Rodrigo has been a member of the Audubon Board of Directors for nearly 6 years and is especially proud of its Niños y Naturaleza program and work in promoting habitat conservation.
Irais enjoys nature and animals and one of her favorite pastimes is to walk along the beautiful streets of San Miguel. As an engineer, she loves numbers which particularly suits her for the role of Audubon treasurer.
Birding Committee Chair
After retiring and moving to San Miguel in 2009, Norman quickly became active both in Audubon and El Charco, guiding birdwalks and tours for two of San Miguel’s most important environmental organizations.
Director at Large
Geoff is a professional photographer and documents many of the Audubon events to provide current imagery for the Audubon website and newsletters. Geoff is also a leader in our Amigos de la Presa kayak outings and shoreline cleanups.
Director at Large
Arturo’s expertise in waste management and recycling are a perfect fit for Audubon. He has consulted with corporations and educated people all over Mexico on recycling and waste reduction.
Wildlife Care Specialist
Ellen has been caring for wildlife since 1998, working at wildlife sanctuaries and nature centers in the United States and Australia. She is now working with us in helping prevent the pain and suffering of wildlife.
Muriel directs Audubon’s Niños y Naturaleza program. She is a creative and talented leader who enjoys helping children open their eyes to the wonders of nature.
Mila helped Audubon start the Niños y Naturaleza program in 2015. In 2017 she left to pursue freelance work, while continuing to work with Audubon on special projects, including guiding students in the design and painting of school murals.
Irais Andrade was born in Querétaro city but raised in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato where her heart belongs. She is an Industrial Engineer, working for a local company that manufactures auto parts for international clients, and is a part of the maintenance team. Irais enjoys learning new things and face new challenges so she enjoys the tasks of this demanding job.
Irais really enjoys nature and animals and one of her favorite pastimes is to walk along the beautiful streets of San Miguel. As an engineer, she loves numbers and math too, which particularly suits her for the role of Audubon treasurer. As a personal goal, she has always wanted to be part of an association to help others, and she thinks Audubon was a perfect opportunity to use some of her skills in support of this amazing team that helps keep our ecosystem safe.
As her work schedule becomes more flexible, she would like to participate in all the events that Audubon does to create the awareness of the care of our planet, especially with children (the future of our society).
Norman Besman has been birding since spending the summer of 1972 in the Vermont countryside. He spent a dozen years while living in Seattle watching birds through his law office window.
After retiring and moving to San Miguel in 2009, Norman quickly became active both in Audubon and El Charco, guiding birdwalks and tours for two of San Miguel’s most important environmental organizations. He served as Audubon treasurer for several years, and now serves as a frequent guide with Audubon’s eco-travel partner Travelian Tours.
Arturo Buenrostro is the owner of BIO Imaginarte which makes beautiful purses, jewelry and clothing from the pull tabs on aluminum can and other recycled materials. Realizing that the environmental issues in Mexico were a bi-product of poverty, through his company he is addressing environmental issues and providing local jobs at fair wages.
Arturo’s expertise in waste management and recycling are a perfect fit for Audubon. His concern with Mexico’s trash problems, led him to become an expert on the topic and he has consulted with corporations and educated people all over Mexico on recycling and waste reduction. In addition to this issue, he is especially interested in water, but the overall health of our environment drives him in his personal and professional lives.
Muriel Fonesca directs Audubon’s Niños y Naturaleza program. She is a creative and talented leader who enjoys helping children open their eyes to the wonders of nature and engaging them in a myriad activities to encourage expressions of care for all living beings and to strengthen their sense of self.
Before working for Audubon, Muriel worked as the office manager and intake coordinator for the S.P.A. in San Miguel. She and her husband, Alfredo, lived in Playa del Carmen for many years, where Muriel conducted social and environmental outreach programs for children.
April Gaydos moved to San Miguel de Allende in 2010 and joined the Audubon Board of Directors soon thereafter. She has served as its president since 2014. April brings her background in community development and environmental communication and education to the Audubon Board, along with her experiences as a small business owner.
Before moving to San Miguel, April lived in Palm Springs, CA, where she served on the Sustainability Commission and as president of her neighborhood organization. During this time she helped establish a volunteer group that successfully advocated for a trail and linear park alongside a neglected creek and was deeply involved in a campaign that led to the preservation of several hundred acres of land within the city’s iconic landmark, Chino Canyon. These experiences helped her understand the importance of citizen involvement in shaping a city.
For most of her life April lived in Portland, Oregon. Growing up around rivers, forests and mountains instilled in her a life-long love for nature and wildlife. She believes that when you love something, you want to care for it. Helping children and adults form caring connections with nature through recreation, education and environmental service is the vision she brought to Audubon, resulting in the development of Audubon’s Niños y Naturaleza and Nature in the City programs, which includes the Audubon pollinator garden at Parque Juarez.
Mike Lambert is the founder and former president of Amigos de la Presa, AC, which in 2014 became a permanent program of Audubon de México.
Mike’s combined his love for water sports of all kinds and his concern for the health of San Miguel’s water resources to create the Amigos program. Its purpose is to raise awareness of our water security issues through water recreation and by engaging citizens to take action in helping to protect our water resources.
Although the context is much different, this is the same successful formula he employed i as the founder and executive director of the Three Rivers Rowing Association in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With masters degrees in social work and public health, Mike didn’t exactly envision this career path, but as a natural leader he had a vision of what this organization could become, and he followed both his intuition and passion to lead Three Rivers to great success.
Mike continues to lead Amigos as Vice-president of Audubon. He and his strong volunteer team lead kayak outings and shoreline cleanups each month. Mike is also responsible for leading the effort to map a Rio Laja trail system which follows the river from the northern shores of the Presa to Dolores. He was instrumental in forming OCAS (Citizens Observatory for Water and Sanitation), which continues today as a collaboration between non-governmental organizations working to improve our water quality and security.
Rodrigo Lopez is passionate about nature, Mexican culture, fine folk art, photography and children’s education. He has been a member of the Audubon Board of Directors for nearly 6 years and is especially proud of its Niños y Naturaleza program and work in promoting habitat conservation.
Rodrigo brings many skills and aptitudes to the Audubon board. He is the owner of Travelian Tours, a sustainable small group tour company based in San Miguel de Allende, which leads birding adventures all over central and southern Mexico. Rodrigo is on a mission to let the people know that Mexico is a mega-diverse country that holds more than 10% of all the birds of the world and helping Mexico stand out in the world map of birding destinations.
Before moving to San Miguel he gained 10 years of experience in Corporate Sales and Corporate/Client Problem-solving with Telmex.
Geoff Nilsen grew up in “The Great Northwest”, living in Seattle and Portland before attending Whitman College in the state of Washington where he majored in biology. After a post college backpacking adventure through Europe, he embarked on a second degree in commercial photography at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California. He then apprenticed in New York, ultimately opening a studio in Soho. Here Geoff honed his skills as a commercial photographer before returning west to San Francisco in 1989. During the next 30 years in California, Geoff collaborated on many commercial ad campaigns specializing in product work with an emphasis in food and beverage photography. After a successful four-decade career, Geoff and his wife, Stella, retired and moved to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
In San Miguel, Geoff and Stella were quick to participate in outdoor activities such as the local hiking club and Amigos de la Presa, the local kayaking group. Due to Amigos affiliation with Audubon de México, Geoff then was able to see a greater use for his skills, combining his interest in environmental issues with a creative background. Now he is documenting many of the Audubon events such as school programs, shoreline cleanups and birding events to provide current imagery for the Audubon website and newsletters.
Ellen Schultz has been caring for wildlife since 1998, working at wildlife sanctuaries and nature centers in the United States, and while living in Australia, earning a degree in veterinary nursing and working for the foremost bird veterinarian in Australia.
She has dedicated much of her life to helping prevent the pain and suffering of wildlife and helping youth develop connections with wildlife and nature to build their respect and appreciation for all of life.
Mila Villasana helped Audubon start the Niños y Naturaleza program in 2015. In 2017 she left to pursue freelance work, while continuing to work with Audubon on special projects, including guiding students in the design and painting of school murals.
For the past two years Mila has been maintaining a nearly zero-free waste lifestyle and is now helping to develop and pilot Audubon’s new Limpia San Miguel curriculum for 6th grade students at Montes de Oca school. She is a talented artist, who loves nature and people.