Melanie Smith leads projects and teams that synthesize and visualize geospatial data to educate broad audiences, identify conservation priorities, and inform decision-makers. She has an interdisciplinary background with 20 years of experience in conservation, wildlife ecology, environmental policy, geospatial analysis, and cartographic data visualization.
Her lifelong love of birds brought her to Audubon in 2008. She is the Program Director for the Bird Migration Explorer at Audubon's Migratory Bird Initiative, and previously spent ten years at Audubon Alaska, most recently as the Director of Conservation Science. Before that Melanie worked for five years as an environmental consultant on collaborative forest management and energy development issues in the Rocky Mountain West.
Her notable products include Audubon’s award-winning ecological atlas of the Arctic seas, the Bird Migration Explorer, and the Southeast Alaska Birding Trail. The work by Melanie and her team to synthesize spatial data across broad geographies, identify landscape conservation priorities, and communicate policy objectives has guided the protection of millions of acres for Arctic birds and wildlife.
Her master’s work in Geography at the University of Montana focused on individual-based modeling of habitat and population dynamics for Northern Goshawks. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Prescott College and also holds certificates in sustainable energy and permaculture from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.