Meet Ann Redelfs
By Miyoko Chu
Lab welcomes new associate director of public programs

Photo by Diane L. Tessaglia-Hymes
Her passion for birds crystallized in a singular moment when Ann Redelfs, a young ichthyologist at the time, was walking across the campus of Oklahoma State University with one of her professors, Helen Miller. "We heard a mockingbird in a tree," says Ann. "Helen touched my arm and said, 'I don't know how anyone could hear that call and not want to know what that bird is.' And it was like a bolt of lightning - it affected me in such a profound way that after that I was simply addicted to birds."

It's a fortuitous addiction, one that paved the way to Ann's eventual arrival here to direct the Lab's external relations and public programs. One of Ann's central goals is to help develop and integrate the Lab's diverse and burgeoning programs in citizen science, research, conservation, information technologies, education, and communications and outreach - listening to the dreams of every staff member and helping to develop a vision to help them realize those dreams.

In turn, the Lab offers a fitting place for Ann to continue her career in developing programs to enhance the public's understanding and appreciation of science and nature. For example, she sees the Lab's citizen-science programs as a vital and exciting way to engage the public and researchers in producing data that can be used to gain insights on bird populations and conservation.

Ann has long experience in science, administration, and public affairs, beginning with her undergraduate degree in wildlife biology with a minor in public relations. Her master's thesis, Wetland Values and Losses in the United States, was distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to more than 500 natural resources professionals and offices. In 1982, she won the first Young Conservationist of the Year Award from the National Audubon Society for her volunteer efforts, including the development of educational programs, at the Payne County Audubon Society in Oklahoma.

Ann spent 16 years leading external relations and educational programs in high-performance computing at the Cornell Theory Center, the Center for Research on Parallel Computation (Rice University), and, most recently, the San Diego Supercomputer Center (University of California, San Diego).

Now Ann, a long-time Lab member, feels like she has come full circle. "It's very rewarding to have my background, my training, and my passions all coming together in the same place," she says. We feel lucky indeed to welcome Ann to the Lab.

For permission to reprint all or part of this article, please contact Miyoko Chu, Editor, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Rd., Ithaca, New York. Phone (607) 254-2451. Email