President and Chief Executive Officer, National Audubon Society
David Yarnold became Audubon’s 10th president in September 2010, charged with leading a turnaround that would expand Audubon’s effectiveness while building on the organization’s strong conservation legacy. Under his leadership, Audubon’s distributed network is becoming a coordinated, collaborative force for hemispheric conservation. With 463 local Chapters, 22 state offices and 44 Audubon Centers across the country, Audubon connects nearly four million people using science, advocacy and education. “We are all Audubon,” Yarnold says. “No other organization has our wingspan when it comes to being able to drive conservation action, whether in individual backyards or in Congress.”
Under Yarnold’s leadership, Audubon is aligning its conservation work along migratory flyways, the “superhighways in the sky” that millions of birds travel each spring and fall. ”Flyways transcend geographical and political boundaries,” he said. “They give us a literal birds-eye view of environmental issues and trends, and help direct our work. Sometimes this leads us to hands-on restoration, like keeping Nebraska’s Platte River vital for the Sandhill Cranes and many other species that depend on it, and sometimes it leads us to critical legislative needs, like ensuring that penalties from the gulf oil catastrophe are used to fund gulf restoration.” Yarnold oversees Audubon’s Important Bird Area program, which protects 370 million acres along the flyways in the US and frames our work with BirdLife International and other conservation organizations around the globe.