|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
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.