Martin Hagne

Executive Director

Martin Hagne was born and raised on the Swedish west coast, where his grandfather instilled a love for nature at an early age. He moved to the United States, and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, in 1979 and turned his focus towards wildlife viewing and conservation concerns.
Martin served as the Executive Director of the Valley Nature Center in Weslaco, Texas, and environmental education facility, for 13 years. He then moved to Bandera, Texas where he led the Flying L Resort and Conference Center. He has also worked as a Field Biologist doing baseline studies for many years, including avian, herp, mammal, T&E, and habitat studies.
He enjoys leading birding field trips in the US and Mexico and has served on several state, regional and local environmental appointments, committees, and boards. Birding, nature viewing, native plants, conservation issues and environmental education are his great passions.

mhagne at


Susan Heath

Director of Conservation Research

Sue is a native Texan who returned to the state in 2007 after being transplanted to Virginia for 24 years. She received a Master’s in Biology from George Mason University for her work on wintering waterfowl on the Northern Virginia Piedmont and a Ph.D. from the same institution in the spring of 2008. Her dissertation involved the effects of pesticides on birds that nest in agriculture in the north central states. She is thrilled to be back in her home state of Texas. At GCBO, she coordinates all conservation research including American Oystercatcher Stewardship, Beach Nesting Birds, Non-breeding shorebirds, Motus Tower Network, Eastern Willet Migration, and the Smith Point Hawk Watch.

sheath at

Tricia Patton

Tricia Patton

Office Manager

Tricia brings a wealth of office management experience with her from both the corporate and non-profit sector. As Office Manager, Tricia takes care of all our accounting and administrative tasks and keeps the office and organization running smoothly. She handles all recordkeeping of donations, memberships, and grants, and handle all income and outgoing expenses. Her position is in many ways the backbone of the organization. Her enthusiasm and energy keep us all going!

tpatton at

Taylor Bennett

Shorebird Technician

Taylor grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia but moved to Humble, Texas in 2015. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology (focus on Marine Biology) from Old Dominion University. She is very passionate about all biology especially wildlife. For the past six years, she interned for various organizations mostly through the Student Conservation Association. She worked with the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and non-profit organizations such as Audubon Texas. Her main focus has been conservation, especially for endangered and threatened species. She has worked with various organisms of all types and sizes from microscopic invertebrates such as the Roswell spring snail to mammals such as the Mexican gray wolf. Most of her internships also involved surveying birds, but she preferred working with shorebirds the most, especially with plovers and oystercatchers. At GCBO Taylor will be working on our Nonbreeding Shorebirds and Beach Nesting Birds projects.

Jennifer Horton

Jennifer Horton

Education & Outreach Manager

Jennifer has been involved with environmental education in a number of capacities throughout her life, most memorably as a park interpreter leading school programs at a state park. She’s especially passionate about helping people connect with the healing power of nature and has herself enjoyed spending time in nature for as long as she can remember. This love for the outdoors led her to major in environmental studies in college, after which she worked for more than ten years as a freelance writer specializing in topics related to sustainability and the outdoors before deciding to pursue a masters degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism management. As a new resident of Texas by way of Georgia and South Carolina, she is excited for the opportunity to add some new birds to her life list. In addition to birding and spending time outside, she enjoys reading, writing poetry, snuggling with her cat, and biking.
jhorton at


Denise Kaplan

Development Associate

Denise Bownds Kaplan grew up in Galveston County, and recently returned to Texas after 40+ years in California. During that time, she earned a BA in mass communications, and honed her expertise in communications management and development. Her 20+ years of experience includes work in community journalism, marketing communications, web content production, community outreach, and nonprofit development, including grant writing, special events, and donor relations.

dkaplan at


Carol Jones

Director (retired)

Carol has been employed at GCBO since mid-2004. Over her years at GCBO, she has assisted with every aspect of operation for the GCBO which positions her as a strong leader for the organization. She is a biologist and life-long student of natural history and as such has conducted many avian field studies. She spearheaded the organization and implementation of seven Great Texas Birding Classics that resulted in raising $439,000 for on the ground habitat conservation projects along the Texas coast. She created the GCBO curriculum for Summer Bird Camp and has organized all education, outreach, and fundraising events held at GCBO. Carol has a BA from the University of Texas Austin in Zoology.


Cecilia Riley

Director Emeritus

A native Texan, biologist and avid bird watcher, Cecilia has committed her life’s work to avian research and natural history in both North America and Latin America. Cecilia’s educational background includes a B.S. in Ecology from the University of Texas at Arlington and a M.S. in Zoology from the University of Arkansas. Prior to her position at the GCBO, she spent 2 years as the state coordinator for Texas Partners in Flight and 8 years as a research associate of marine studies at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas.

Cecilia led GCBO for nearly 20 years before retiring in 2015. Through her leadership GCBO established its 71 member Site Partner Network, established permanent endowments for land acquisition, assisted partners throughout the Americas in protecting more than 17,000 acres of tropical forests in 10 countries as well as thousands of acres in the U.S., conducted many avian field studies, spearheaded the completion of the new Avian Conservation Science Center, and of course much more.

Board of Directors

Allan Berger
ExxonMobil (retired)
Port O’Connor, TX

Rita Burke
Houston, TX

Jan Cato
Community volunteer
Houston, TX

Andy Dietrich (Vice President)
NRG Energy (retired)
Pearland, TX

Lucinda (Cindy) Freeman
JP Morgan – retired
Houston, TX

Bob Friedrichs
Chevron (retired)
Palacios, TX

Michael Heather
Dow Chemical Company (retired)
Lake Jackson, TX

Jackie Hicks
Dow Chemical Company (retired)
Lake Jackson, TX

Amanda Linford
Phillips 66
Lake Jackson, TX

Tom Morris (Treasurer)
Dow Chemical Company (retired)
Houston, TX

Joellen Snow
Attorney at law
Houston, TX

Tom Taroni
Dow Chemical Company (retired)
Lake Jackson, TX

Ron Weeks (Secretary)
Dow Chemical Company
Lake Jackson, TX

Mike Williams (President)
Sugarland, TX

Advisory Board

Lynne Aldrich
Community Volunteer
Grand Prairie, TX

William J. Baker Jr
NRG Energy (retired)
Houston, TX

David J. Brandes
Dow Chemical Company (retired)
Lake Jackson, TX

David Cagnolatti
Manager, State Government Relations
Phillips 66

Stephen Carroll
Fullbright & Jaworski, L.L.P.
Houston, TX

Gary Clark
Lone Star College – North Harris
The Woodlands, TX

Tom Collins
Dow Chemical Company (retired)
Center Point, TX

Jeffrey Dalla Rosa
Centerpoint Energy
Houston, TX

Mickey Dufilho
Brazosport College
Lake Jackson, TX

Stephen Gast
ConocoPhillips (retired)
Houston, TX

Kay Hale
Houston, TX

Cindy Wyman Jordy
Phillips 66
Sweeny, TX

Kay Lookingbill
Dow Chemical Company (retired)
Lake Jackson, TX

Robert Lookingbill
Dow Chemical Company (retired)
Lake Jackson, TX

Christopher J. Lowman
Attorney at law
Houston, TX

Lalise Whorton Mason
Scenic Galveston
Houston, TX

John O’Neill
Louisiana State University (retired)
Linn, Tx

Claudia Thornton
Community Volunteer
Lake Jackson, TX

Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Wylie C. Barrow, Jr.
Research Scientist, Ornithologist
National Wetlands Research Center
Lafayette, Louisiana

Dr. Sidney A. Gauthreaux, Jr.
Director, Radar Ornithology Lab
Clemson University
Clemson, South Carolina

Dr. Dale Gawlik
Associate Professor and Director Environmental Science Program
Florida Atlantic University
Boca Raton, Florida

Dr. M. Clay Green
Associate Professor of Biology
Texas State University
San Marcos, Texas

Dr. Frank R. Moore
Avian Biologist
University of Southern Mississippi
Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Dr. James Brent Ortego
Wildlife Diversity Biologist
Retired Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Victoria, TX

Clifford Shackelford
Nongame Ornithologist
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Dr. Mark Woodrey
Research Biologist
Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center
Moss Point, MS