Bill Tilles - President

Andy Gregory - Secretary


Billy Gridley - Treasurer

Michael Aurelia

Mike served as the Director of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency, Town of Greenwich, CT until his recent retirement. He currently works as an environmental consultant. Mike received a BS in Geology from The Johns Hopkins University and an MS in Geological Science from Brown University. He joined the AF Board in 2003. Mike is a Certified Wetlands Scientist and has served on the national Society of Wetland Scientist’s Certification Committee. He has been a board member of the Stratford CT Conservation Commission, the CT Audubon Council, and the CT Assoc. of Conservation and Inland Wetland Commissions. He has been a Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America in Greenwich for over ten years. He served as president of Aton Forest from 2007 to 2017.

Fran Zygmont

Former president of the Audubon Council of Connecticut, and Litchfield Hills Audubon Society; Board of Directors, Litchfield Hills Audubon Society; Member of Audubon Connecticut's Important Bird Area technical committee.

Fran has led many bird walks and trips over the past 25 years and has extensive knowledge of birds in northwestern Connecticut and bird migration. He has traveled internationally to seek birds - Iceland, Australia and Venezuela - and maintains a life list of over 1,000 bird species and participated in many bird censuses and competitions including the NJ World Series of Birding, and, currently holds the Connecticut State Big Day birding record (with a team of 5) with 192 species in a 24-hour period.

Birding is his hobby; his day job is Assistant Director if Digital Marketing for a prominent insurance company.


Richard Golin

Elizabeth Corrigan and Matthew Johnson

Leslie Watkins

Leslie Watkins is an artistic descendant of the Old Lyme Art Colony, considered the bedrock of American Impressionist landscape painting whose luminaries include Child Hassam, William Metcalf, and Frank Vincent DuMond. At the Art Students League of New York, DuMond taught Georgia O’Keeffe, John Marin, Norman Rockwell, and Frank Mason. Mason later taught at the League, where Watkins studied the prismatic palette, alla prima (wet on wet) painting, and techniques of the Old Masters. Watkins continues in this cherished tradition.

Watkins is a plein-air landscape painter. When a scene attracts her attention, she paints an oil sketch in one session, and sometimes returns for several more studies. In the studio, these studies serve as reference for larger compositions in which she attempts to capture a sense of place, and the quality of the day.

Watkins’ botanical watercolors and nature studies have decorated note cards, placemats, textiles, Battersea enamel boxes, and educational materials. Her illustrations have appeared internationally on postage stamps, and in books and magazines. Clients include Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Tiffany & Co., Caspari, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Nickelodeon.

She has instructed enthusiastic students for over 25 years. Both aspiring and experienced painters benefit from the classes, and have fun learning. Leslie has taught at the Wethersfield Academy for the Arts, The Lyme Art Association, the Washington Art Association, the Garrison Art Center in NY, the Berkshire Botanical Garden, the Housatonic Valley Art League, and at Noble Horizons in Salisbury, CT.

Watkins has exhibited at The Columbus Museum, The Lyman Allyn Art Museum, The National Arts Club, The Salmagundi Club, The Union League Club, The Hudson Valley Art Association, The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, The Lyme Art Association and elsewhere, including Japan.

Watkins is the founding director of the newly formed NWCT-Berkshire Plein Air Painters and offers plein-air painting and watercolor workshops throughout New England, the Berkshires, and in and around Norfolk, CT.

Leslie is also a gardener. She owns and maintains Dandelion Cottage, her home and art studio, where you will find various perennial borders, a kitchen garden, a native woodland garden, and an orchard. She grows specialty cut flowers and offers bouquets by appointment.

Watkins is a Connecticut Master Gardener, and holds a certificate in horticulture from Northwestern Connecticut Community College. She designs, paints, and maintains gardens in NWCT.

Watkins' garden design illustrations have been published in Rodale's "Perennial Combinations", and in magazines including Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Kitchen Gardener, and in The New York Times. Her botanical watercolors have appeared on notecards, placemats, wallpaper, and postage stamps.

When not gardening, Leslie is a plein air landscape oil painter, botanical illustrator, and teaches watercolor classes and art workshops. For more information about Leslie's artwork please visit: www.lesliewatkins.com

Leslie keeps an amusing flock of bantam chickens, and speaks publicly on gardening with chickens. Several of her articles and illustrations have been featured in Backyard Poultry magazine, and a column, "Through the Garden Gate" is published monthly in Norfolk Now.