Executive Director

Tom Kartrude
Phone: 713 274 2666

Tom has served as the Executive Director since 2008, rounding out a career path that has spanned oil and gas, environmental remediation and regional government. Along the way Tom logged volunteer hours with California State Parks, the Seattle Aquarium and the US Forest Service. Trained as an earth scientist at Cal State Fullerton, he later added an MBA from Pepperdine. He was a founder of the Seattle Aquarium Docents and Perpetua Foundation nonprofit volunteer organizations. He currently serves as a board member for both Houston Wilderness and Bayou Preservation Association, and sits on advisory committees for Galveston Bay Foundation and Texas Obesity Research Council.

Stewardship Coordinator

Mark Kramer
Phone: 713 274 2672

Mark is a native of Pasadena Texas who serves as Stewardship Coordinator. His job includes managing the natural and cultural resources of the nature center.

Mark was honored with the 2015 Terry Hershey Bayou Stewardship Award for his life-long service in conservation, preservation, restoration and advocacy of Houston's waterways.

Stewardship Biologist

Zach Roper
Phone: 713 274 2673

Zach joined the ABNC team in the spring of 2013 all the way from his home state Nebraska. Zach received his bachelors of science in wildlife biology from the University of Nebraska. As Stewardship Biologist, Zach works in habitat restoration, preservation, wildlife management, and stewardship volunteer management. Zach enjoys many outdoor activities in his down time including paddling, hiking, camping, and bird watching.

Education Director

Heather Millar
Phone: 713 274 2667

Heather is responsible for growth and maintenance of educational programs, classes, workshops and camps at ABNC. She enjoys spending time outdoors, camping and discovering new areas to explore with her family.

Program Manager

Kathy Gardner
Phone: 713 274 2668

Kathy a graduate from the University of San Diego in French Literature has always loved the great outdoors. A retired Army Officer after 24 years of service, she started out as a volunteer, EcoCamp Instructor and Scout Leader, before becoming our Program Coordinator. 

As Program Coordinator, Kathy schedules field trips, scout classes and EcoCamp classes. She ensures that the scheduled program is staffed, has the space reserved and the needed supplies are on hand for the class.  In conjunction with the Education Director, writes and reviews lesson plans.

Kathy, a Texas Master Naturalist is very passionate about Nature.  She enjoys sharing her knowledge with children and adults alike.  In her free time, Kathy enjoys gardening for wildlife at her home.

Animal Collection Specialist

Jessica Collier
Phone: 713 274 2676

Jessica started as a volunteer feeding the animals and helping in the lab. She then started helping with weekday education while continuing to help with the animals and eventually moved into the Animal Collection Specialist position.

Visitor Services Coordinator

Susan Millsap
Phone: 713 274 2663

Susan has always been interested in animals, the natural world, and protecting the environment. In college, she majored in environmental biology. During graduate school, Susan spent time in the Brazilian Amazon pursuing a study of neotropical rainforest ecology.

Susan started at ABNC as a volunteer, feeding and caring for the animals. She then began working in weekday education and reptile demonstrations. She also served as Outreach Coordinator for 4 years. In 2009, Susan completed her Texas Master Naturalist certification.

Susan eventually assumed the role of Visitor Services Coordinator, where she is responsible for taking reservations for EcoExploration programs, admissions, answering visitor inquires, and training front-office volunteers.

Donor Development Coordinator


This position is currently open.

Volunteer Coordinator

Liz VanOrstrand
Phone: 713 274 2664

Liz has been volunteering here at Armand Bayou Nature Center since September 2006. She has volunteered as a trail guide, owl prowl/night hike guide and deck hand. In 2008, she was asked to join the Volunteer Board and has held the positions of Trail Coordinator, Administration and Chair Person. Liz has also been on our Martyn Farm Harvest Festival committee since 2008, and Chaired the event in 2014 and 2015.

2015 was a very special year for Liz as she was able to complete the Master Naturalist program for the Galveston Bay Chapter. For more years then she would like to say, Liz was a staff accountant and not able to enjoy the spring season at ABNC. That ended when, in June of 2015, Liz joined the staff at ABNC as the new Volunteer Coordinator.


Dave Kovach
Phone: 713 274 2671

Web Master

Web Master

Thank you!

We wish to thank the following individuals for contributing photographs for the benefit of the Armand Bayou Nature Center web site*:

*Due to the graphically heavy nature of this site ALL acknowledgments for photographs are listed here. Thank you again for your creative eye and assistance!