A Roadmap for the Future

Our bold strategic plan will achieve new levels of impact for birds, people, and the planet.
A flock of gray Sandhill Cranes take flight while others stand in shallow water in the soft pink light of sunrise.
Some populations of Sandhill Cranes migrate in spring and fall, stopping at wetlands along the way to feed and rest. Photo: Rick Derevan/Audubon Photography Awards

This will be a historic year: 2023 will be remembered in Audubon’s story as the year we launched a new strategic direction, fully entered the global conservation arena, and positioned ourselves as an important conservation innovator for the decades ahead. I will cover each of these pivotal milestones in columns throughout the coming year.

As this issue goes to press, the Audubon Board of Directors has just endorsed a strategic plan that reflects the knowledge, passion, and courage of our staff, board, members, and network of chapters. Thank you to everyone who voiced their hopes for the future of birds and the places they need to thrive.

Our new strategic vision brings forward the importance of birds in the lives of people. Birds need the same healthy environments and conditions that we need to thrive. They are sentinels for healthy lands, waters, and communities: When birds are in trouble, we are in trouble.

The science is clear. We are approaching a biodiversity crisis and have a 10-year window to change course. Birds have the ability to unite people across political and ideological divides. Now is the time to harness this ability and push for solutions that lessen the severity and impacts of climate change. It is time to invite all bird lovers under our tent to create an inclusive movement that engages the conservationists of today and tomorrow. We will scale our work to span the Western Hemisphere and protect birds over their entire life cycles and migration routes. These efforts will be woven throughout everything we do moving forward.

Birds have the ability to unite people across political and ideological divides.

I recently joined leaders from organizations across the country at the White House for a conversation on climate and environmental justice. This administration’s vision for tackling climate change in a just and equitable way is inspirational. I was also heartened to hear many connections to our emerging strategic plan in areas like climate-smart agriculture and clean energy permitting. Vice President Harris stressed the importance of membership organizations like Audubon influencing decision makers and ensuring that funds are focused on achieving transformative change in the places that need it most.

We are poised to meet the urgency of the moment before us. This next chapter is built on experience, expertise, and hope. Every day I am reminded that the greatest hope comes from birds themselves. We know they are resilient if we give them a chance. Birds can spring back from the edge of extinction. They show us that we can make a difference when we put our minds to it.

I am thrilled to have such thoughtful partners—including you, our Audubon members—during this time of innovation and focus. I look forward to sharing more of our plans with you over the next few issues of the magazine.

This piece originally ran in the Spring 2023 issue. To receive our print magazine, become a member by making a donation today.