About Our Staff

Mike Lynes, Executive Director, joined Golden Gate Audubon in November 2008 as Conservation Director. Mike grew up in Fresno, California, and graduated from U.C. Davis in 1994 with a B.S. in Biological Studies. He has studied birds and their habitats throughout California , primarily as a biologist with the Point Reyes Bird Observatory (now PRBO Conservation Science), and actively engaged in statewide and local conservation planning. In 2000, Mike enrolled in Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco , where he focused on environmental law and policy. After graduation, Mike joined the Law Offices of Andrew L. Packard, a Bay Area firm that represents non-profit groups in consumer protection and environmental enforcement actions.

Ilana DeBare, Communications Director, joined the Golden Gate Audubon staff in January 2012 after more than 20 years as a journalist. Ilana worked as a business reporter and columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle, and as a political and business reporter at the Sacramento Bee. A co-founder of the Julia Morgan School for Girls in Oakland, Ilana is author of the book Where Girls Come First: The Rise, Fall and Surprising Revival of Girls’ Schools (Tarcher/Penguin, 2004). She has a B.A. in English from Harvard College and a Master’s in Journalism from U.C. Berkeley.

Anthony DeCicco, Education Director, joined Golden Gate Audubon in September 2006. He has an extensive background in bilingual instruction and in teaching children and adults in underserved communities about the environment and conservation. At KIDS for the BAY, Anthony directed a program that introduced urban youth to the local watershed and strategies for combating pollution, and helped develop curricula fostering environmental stewardship. His passionate commitment to environmental justice also derives from teaching students in other countries. Anthony holds a degree in language and education from the University of California-Santa Cruz, and recently completed his master’s degree in environmental education from California State University-East Bay.

Marissa Ortega-Welch, Environmental Education Program Coordinator, joined Golden Gate Audobon in November 2010. Marissa returned to the Bay Area after living in Washington for four years. She taught environmental education at the Olympic Park Institute, as well as conducted bird surveys in northwest National Parks for the Institute for Bird Populations. Prior to that, she taught bicycle-based environmental education for Cycles of Change here in the East Bay. Marissa is from San Diego. She loves to share her passion for the outdoors and is committed to empowering youth to work towards positive change.

Noreen Weeden, Conservation Project Manager, was formerly a Golden Gate Audubon board member who served as chair of the San Francisco Conservation Committee and board secretary.  She is an active volunteer for Golden Gate Audubon, the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, Hungry Owl Project and Wild Equity Institute.  She worked in technology in large corporations and for a small, local business.  Noreen has a B.A. in International Relations and a M.S. in Telecommunications.

Benjamin Sisson, Office Manager, joined Golden Gate Audubon in February 2014. Benjamin has managed office operations in Bay Area nonprofits for 10 years. Originally from eastern North Carolina, he received his Bachelor’s in Urban Studies from the San Francisco Art Institute. He is a practicing artist and is passionate about human geography and urban planning. Some of his artwork can be seen at