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Photo by Tom Grey

Who We Are

The Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society was founded in 1926, and with over 3,000 members, is one of the largest National Audubon Society chapters in California. Our programs and conservation activities are supported by our generous members and donors. SCVAS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your dues and donations are fully tax-deductible.

Our Mission

The Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society promotes the enjoyment, understanding, and protection of birds and other wildlife by engaging people of all ages in birding, education, and conservation.


To accomplish this mission we will...

  • • Promote scientifically sound conservation strategies for the protection of native ecosystems and demonstrate the value of conservation to the community.
  • • Educate our diverse community about the benefits of preserving and enjoying nature, focusing on youth education programs, public outreach, and field trips.
  • • Support research into maintaining, restoring, and understanding native ecosystems, particularly those of birds.
  • • Collaborate with the National Audubon Society, Audubon-California, Audubon Chapters, and other organizations to accomplish our common goals.

Our Bylaws

Our bylaws govern our chapter operations.

Our Yearly Accomplishments

We have a long list of yearly accomplishments made possible by our many generous supporters and volunteers. Help us continue this trend through the coming years by donating to our year-end appeal!


Ralph Schardt of Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society
Ralph Schardt

Ralph Schardt, Executive Director, has been an Audubon member for nearly 20 years. He led bird watching trips for a variety of local businesses and nonprofits. As the only photographer covering the relocation of the California condor at Pinnacles National Monument, Ralph's work was widely published. He brings over 15 years of leadership and development in nonprofit business to SCVAS, including running a small private nonprofit foundation supporting environmental education for youth over the last nine years. He is passionate about nature, birds, and the outdoors. Contact Ralph at (408) 252-3748 or


Kelly Alfrey of Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society
Kelly Alfrey

Kelly Alfrey, Education and Outreach Manager, graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in Animal Science. Prior to joining SCVAS, Kelly worked on commercial crabbing vessels out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, where she enjoyed Bald Eagles and Steller's Eiders while monitoring crabs and other marine life. She is happy to have migrated back to sunny California. Kelly is eager to promote conservation within the Bay Area and expand our community presence to advance SCVAS's outreach programs! Contact Kelly at (408) 627-7172 or


Kelsey Frey of Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society
Kelsey Frey

Kelsey Frey, Education Programs Coordinator, graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. in psychology and a minor in wildlife, fish, and conservation biology. Before joining SCVAS, Kelsey taught 4th graders about watersheds and native plants followed by a stint in the conservation corps. She is excited to inspire future generations to get involved in conservation, especially that of our feathered friends! Contact Kelsey at (408) 252-3740 or


Shani Kleinhaus of Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society
Shani Kleinhaus

Shani Kleinhaus, Environmental Advocate, works to protect and promote wildlife habitats and to include avian conservation in local development plans. She represents the Chapter before local governments and decision makers, addressing issues of land use, birds, wildlife habitat, and environmental impacts. Shani (pronounced shaa-knee) works closely with our Environmental Action Committee and volunteers on a plethora of conservation issues throughout Santa Clara County and its cities. Shani earned her Ph.D. in Ecology from UC Davis and has contributed to conservation research, advocacy and planning in a variety of ecosystems in the US and overseas. To join our group of advocates or to alert us to ecological concerns and opportunities in your community, contact Shani at (650) 868-2114 or


Mackenzie Mossing of Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society
Mackenzie Mossing

Mackenzie Mossing, Environmental Advocacy Associate, grew up in San Jose and graduated from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in Animal Science. Mackenzie discovered her passion for protecting birds while caring for permanently injured raptors at a wildlife rescue and education facility in Paso Robles, California. She went on to gain experience in wildlife conservation while interning for the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia and Save the Elephants in Kenya. Now, Mackenzie is focused on helping to establish a future for birds, wildlife, and nature in the Bay Area. Contact Mackenzie at


Tracy Neher of Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society
Tracy Neher

Tracy Neher, Office Manager, was the Executive Assistant at Filoli where she had the pleasure of meeting and working with Ralph Schardt. She started volunteering for SCVAS and was delighted to hear of this position-opening. The Nature Shop is such a good fit for her skills. Along with her administrative experience, she worked for Nordstrom, Williams Sonoma, Talbots, and owned her own gift stores in Nevada City. She and her husband Bob lived in many spots on the West Coast and have two grown daughters. She currently resides in Los Altos with her two Siamese cats (bird watchers, not bird catchers). She has a lot to learn about birding, but she is very eager to learn. Contact her at (408) 252-3747 or




Board of Directors

The SCVAS Board of Directors is always open to new ideas and suggestions from members. We work hard to uphold our bylaws, maintain fiscal solvency, ensure that our programs support our mission, promote local conservation, and provide fun and exciting educational experiences for both children and adults.


The Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society is seeking Board members and welcomes expressions of interest from anyone who supports our mission. While your enthusiastic contribution of time and energy is the major qualification, the Board particularly needs expertise and experience in fund-raising, environmental education, and social media. Contact us if you are interested in joining our Board.


The Board of Directors includes: Diane Hart (President), Don McDougall (Vice President), Joan Leighton (Secretary), Peter LaTourrette (Treasurer), Mike Armer, Gabrielle Feldman, Tom Grey, Peter Hart, Bob Hirt, Vivek Khanzode, and Marlene Macek.


Meetings are typically held the second Tuesday of the month at 7:30 PM.