These awards acknowledge two of our legacy volunteers and recipients who embody the spirit of our Wake Audubon mission.

Being an all-volunteer organization, Wake Audubon relies on members of our community to help us achieve our mission of conservation, education and advocacy. We’re immensely thankful for every volunteer who has helped us to host programs, educate others and champion our initiatives.

In late 2019 we established two awards in honor of two extraordinary volunteers who have selflessly served Wake Audubon and our community for decades.

Paulette Van De Zande was a Wake Audubon board member for more than 35 years who supported fundraising projects, sought in-kind financial contributions and nurtured a synergistic relationship with Raleigh Garden Club. For decades Paulette baked scrumptious desserts that delighted attendees of our free monthly community programs.

Wake Audubon honors deserving volunteers with the Paulette Van De Zande Volunteer Award.

Current honoree: Keith Jensen

Keith Jensen embodies a spirit of fellowship with others. As a Research Technician at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Keith works alongside many organizations and gets to connect people with birds through a host of outreach programs. He has also been instrumental in raising community awareness of declining species like the Chimney Swift and Brown-headed Nuthatch. Learn more about Keith’s contributions in our latest blog.


John Connors served as a Wake Audubon board member for more than 40 years and had led numerous conservation initiatives including our annual Christmas bird count, maintenance of woodcock courtship grounds, monitoring of our chimney swift roost tower at Prairie Ridge eco-station and planting milkweed for monarchs among many more. John has inspired both children and adults with his educational programs and prized storytelling that instill knowledge, appreciation and enjoyment of nature.

Wake Audubon honors deserving volunteer educators with the John Connors Conservation and Environmental Education Award.

Current honoree: Marti Kane

Marti Kane has dedicated her life to conservation and environmental education. After retiring as the Annie Wilkerson Nature Preserve Park Director, Marti has channeled her endless energy into rescuing raptors, caring for Bluebirds, and educating others about our chapter and how to take care of birds. Learn more about Marti’s contributions in our latest blog.


 Curious about volunteering and making an impact like Paulette and John? We’d love to have you!

See the conservation initiatives  and community events we lead and support. Please join us in any that are of interest to you. Reach our volunteer coordinator to receive our periodic volunteer newsletter. You’ll find events in need of volunteers posted to our calendar  as well.