NextGen Advisory Council

Cedar Waxwing / Ron Gard / Audubon Photography Awards 

Home 9 About 9 NextGen Advisory Council

Seattle Audubon established the NextGen Advisory Council in the fall of 2018. The council elevates the perspectives and expertise of young professionals and student activists in progressing towards a more inclusive, welcoming organization that engages diverse audiences with our focus on birds and nature in the city.  As a 100-year-old organization, Seattle Audubon has a rich history of conservation achievements, but our programs have not been sufficiently informed by or served diverse audiences. This is not the Seattle Audubon of the future. The strategic plan that will guide our work over the next three years includes an increased commitment to intentional collaboration with communities that have been excluded or sidelined by the mainstream environmental movements of the past. The NextGen Advisory Council is one part of these efforts.

The council is currently recruiting new members through March 8, 2021. The council meets regularly, currently online.

For general questions, please contact Community Engagement Manager Wendy Walker via email or phone at (206) 523-8243 ext. 110 (messages only). 

Erin Irby

Erin Irby

Council Member

Erin’s story coming soon 

Cole Jackson (he/him)

Cole Jackson (he/him)

Council Member

Cole is a lifelong PNW resident, currently living in Capitol Hill, Seattle. His passion for birding began 5 years ago on a rainy day in the Port of Tacoma and ever since, he has worked to engage young people with the birds in their backyard. Cole has worked in the sciences as a Field Technician on the Skokomish River, Field Programs Teacher with Mercer Slough, and most recently as Youth and Family Programs Supervisor with Pacific Science Center. Cole also enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and the delicious culinary scene in Seattle.

Anna Vallery

Anna Vallery

Council Member

Anna is brand new to the Seattle area and excited to be a part of Seattle Audubon’s NextGen Advisory Council! After growing up overseas, Anna came back to the U.S. for school, studying animal behavior in Florida. In 2015 Anna accepted a biological science internship at Midway Atoll NWR working with the seabirds that nest there, and got hooked on birds! From there, Anna moved to Houston, Texas where she studied colonial waterbirds for her master’s and then began working at Houston Audubon with the organization’s Bird-Friendly Communities program, waterbird research, and native plant nursery. Anna is also an enthusiastic member of the Pacific Seabird Group and the Waterbird Society. In her free time, Anna loves hiking and exploring with her partner and their two rescue mutts!

Amanda (Virb) Virbitsky

Amanda (Virb) Virbitsky

Council President

Virb is originally from Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the 2019 Seattle Audubon Master Birder class. She is excited about conservation, and thinks that birds are a great way to get more people outside and to connect them to the natural world. In her work life, she has focused on sustainability as well as the outdoor industry. In addition to serving on the NextGen Council, she is also a member of the Board of Directors, the Equity and Justice Committee, and the Strategic Planning Committee, and has volunteered for the Neighborhood Bird Project and the Puget Sound Seabird Survey. When she’s not looking at birds, she’s probably hiking, cooking, or making art.

Suzannah Yu

Suzannah Yu

Council Member

Suzannah’s admiration of birds began in her youth when, with binoculars in hand, she was delighted to discover that the “little brown birds” in her backyard were not a single species, but instead a great multitude of them. She brought her passion for wildlife with her to the University of Washington where she graduated with a degree in Biology, and works towards protecting birds and other organisms through education. She believes in and strives toward a world where all organisms – feather, fur, scales, of all shapes and colors, are respected and diversity is celebrated. With the council, she works to ensure individuals of all backgrounds have access to inclusive programming, with a focus on introducing and welcoming a broader audience to the wonder and delight of birding.

Join the NextGen Advisory Council

People of color, LGBTQ people, and other applicants from historically under-served groups are encouraged to apply. This application period is open until March 8, 2021. Click here to apply