National Audubon Society today announced the appointment of Rebeccah Sanders as Executive Director of Audubon Chicago Region. Her leadership will complement Audubon's focus on diverse communities and advance the mission to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and other wildlife, and their habitats.
Sanders brings a wealth of experience in leading organizations, building collaborations and engaging culturally diverse audiences. Prior to joining Audubon, Sanders served as Executive Director of Chicago Cultural Alliance (CCA) where, through vision and entrepreneurship, she transformed the organization from a start-up into an influential consortium serving 50 of Chicago's ethnic communities and major institutions. By activating this new model of collaboration, Sanders led CCA to national recognition, named semi-finalist for the Lodestar Collaboration Prize. Previously, she was Executive Director of the International Business Council and served as instructor of Anthropology at University of Maryland University College University in Catania, Italy.
"I am thrilled to join Audubon and excited for this opportunity to support Chicago's strong environmental community," Sanders said. "Audubon's dedication to diverse communities gives me the opportunity to unite my past work with my passion for the environment. By aligning diverse voices with Audubon's conservation model and mission -- and with exciting regional sustainability plans -- Audubon Chicago Region will benefit birds, Chicago's natural areas and our communities in new ways."
In addition to leading its work in the Chicago metropolitan region, Sanders will integrate Audubon Chicago Region's efforts into the overall strategies and programs of Audubon's Mississippi Flyway. The flyway is a key migratory pathway and system of important, interdependent bird habitats that spans from northernmost regions to Patagonia. With 200,000 acres of conservation land, the Chicago metropolitan area is a key component and encompasses many of the largest tracts of native tallgrass prairie, oak savanna, woodland and wetland left in the Midwest.
"It is an exciting time for the Chicago Region as we address conservation challenges and opportunities," said Chris Canfield, vice president of National Audubon Society's Gulf Coast and Mississippi Flyway region. "Led by the vision and collaboration talents of Rebeccah Sanders, and with the support of its chapters and members, Audubon Chicago Region will achieve new levels of bird conservation success and expand its engagement of vital communities."
Rebeccah Sanders is highly engaged in Chicago's civic community. She currently serves on the Cultural Tourism Commission of Choose Chicago and the Advisory Councils of the Mayor's Office of New Americans and Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. She also serves on the Board of the Chinatown Museum Foundation.
Sanders holds a Master's Degree in Anthropology from University of Georgia, a Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology and Environmental Science from University of Notre Dame, and a Certificate in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law from American University, Washington School of Law. She was the recipient of noteworthy fellowships: a Chicago Community Trust Emerging Leader and a Fulbright Scholar in Israel.
A native of the south suburbs, Sanders resides in Chicago with her family and enjoys time outdoors with her three children, who are avid birders.