The Kingfisher Award is Kitsap Audubon Society’s highest honor, and is awarded each year to an individual or couple for outstanding dedication and service to KAS and its mission for at least five years. The award is presented at our annual general membership dinner meeting in May. To be considered, the candidate should have demonstrated the following characteristics:

  1. Has actively participated in the chapter for at least 5 years.

  2. Has produced work of high quality.

  3. Has demonstrated the ability to complete tasks responsibly and in a timely fashion.

  4. Has advocated for wildlife and for the environment.

  5. Has shown a dedication to the KAS chapter.

If you have any nominations for the next Kingfisher Award please send them to Many people work very hard to make KAS the great chapter it is, and we want no one to be overlooked. Thanks! We appreciate your help.  See below for pat winners.

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2019 Winner

 Diane Bachen

The 2019 Kingfisher Award will be presented to Diane Bachen at the May 9th general membership meeting. It is Kitsap Audubon’s highest award, and is given annually to an individual or couple in recognition of outstanding service to Kitsap Audubon over a period of five or more years.

Diane has served on the Kitsap Audubon Board since September 2013, including two terms as President, one term as Vice President, and two terms as Secretary.

Under Diane’s gentle, persistent leadership, the Board has completed a major revision and updating of the chapter’s bylaws and policies. In addition, she has represented Kitsap Audubon on the Marbled Murrelet Working Group, part of a coalition that is working with the Washington Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to develop a long-term conservation strategy for the survival and recovery of this endangered bird.

Diane also works with Sharron Ham to collect donated yarn, which KAS member Kathy Swartz delivers to the women’s prison in Purdy. Volunteers there knit the yarn into items of clothing, which they donate for our Holiday Mitten Tree. Diane and Sharron then distribute Mitten Tree donations of food and clothing to Kitsap community groups that serve those in need.

Diane is known for her self-effacing warmth and thoughtfulness, notes one Board member. She is often one of the first to volunteer her time; and she is someone who is intensely diligent and committed when it comes to following things through to completion.

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2018 Winner

 Al Westphal

Al has been Field Trip Chair
since September 2012 and a
member of the KAS Board since February 2013. He has been a Christmas Bird Count leader since November 2015. During the recent launch of the Port Gamble/North Kitsap CBC circle, Al organized multiple teams to
accommodate a flood of Hansville first-time CBC volunteers. He and his son Andrew are known for their exceptional birding skills and ability to mentor and encorage beginning birders. Not surprisingly, they are very popular leaders.
Al and Andrew became
fascinated with birds following Al’s retirement
as a Naval officer after serving as commander on several warships. His skills as a
leader have been invaluable
to the Kitsap Audubon Board.
His wisdom and patience have been a powerful
influence on Board decisions.
He often takes the lead in the
detailed analysis that underlies good decision making, and has written the
drafts of a number of important KAS policies, including our “Endowment Spending” policy.

2017 Winner

Michael Szerlog

Michael has served as our
webmaster since 2003, working behind the scenes to maintain the virtual face of Kitsap Audubon. He has been involved with KAS since 1995 when he helped with the purple martin project
installing/cleaning nest boxes/
gourds. When the job of maintaining KAS’s website became available, he quickly jumped into that role working to purchase a domain name (; secured free hosting from a local
internet provider; and obtained website design software. Over the past fourteen years he has
maintained the site, adding photos from members; updating links to area birding locations; and providing online access to the Kingfisher newsletter. In 2016, when our internet rovider discontinued free hosting, he researched options and put forward a proposal to use Squarespace for our website hosting. While there was now a
cost to this service, it allowed for a more professional looking site with additional design features. Check it out!

Michael also has served as
the president of the Hansville
Greenway Association since
2015, working with a small
board of volunteers in charge of maintaining a corridor of county-owned natural areas, trail and conservation easements reaching from Puget Sound at Norwegian
Point Park to Hood Canal.

Michael currently works at
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 10 office in Seattle where he is the program manager for the Wetland Program. He lives in Hansville with his wife Jennifer and their dog Sara where they enjoy backyard birding, in addition to many hikes to Point-no-Point
and the Hansville Greenway.
He is the father of twins, Dylan and Mackenzie who are college students studying at Western Washington and Washington State Universities.

Past Kingfisher Award Winners:

  • 2015 - Sharron Ham

  • 2014 - Milly (Renee) Bellemere and Bob (Robert) Schumacher

  • 2013 – Judy & Don Willott

  • 2012 – Vic Ulsh

  • 2011 – Byron & Sara Kane

  • 2010 – Jim Ullrich

  • 2009 – Sandy & Gene Bullock

  • 2008 – Dawn & Hans Hansen

  • 2007 – Dee & John Finkbeiner

  • 2006 – Glenn Anderson

  • 2005 – Richard Anderson

  • 2004 – Fay & Ernie Linger

  • 2003 – Nancy Ladenberger

  • 2002 – Morry Walsh

  • 2001 – Morna Blessing

  • 2000 – John & Claudia McDonald

  • 1999 – Ivan & Phyllis Summers

  • 1998 – Paul & Joan Carson

  • 1997 – Jack & Martina Hendry

  • 1996 – Ken Short

  • 1995 – Frank Beyer