Press Room

Audubon Names Natalie Dawson as Executive Director of Alaska State Office

Proven conservation leader and public servant leads the way to protect Alaska’s birds and the places they need.

ANCHORAGE — Today, the National Audubon Society announced the appointment of Natalie Dawson as executive director of Audubon Alaska, the state office of the 119-year-old conservation organization. Dawson comes to Audubon with more than fifteen years of experience in science, education, public policy, communications and outreach within Alaska and across the United States.

“Natalie’s energy is contagious, she is an exceptional communicator and—best of all—a devoted conservationist. She cares deeply about Alaska, its people and its remarkable birdlife,” said David O’Neill, chief conservation officer for National Audubon Society.

“Natalie’s expansive scientific credentials, combined with a commitment to engage people in policy solutions, are just what we need to address the conservation challenges facing us today. We are thrilled to have her join our talented Alaska team.”

Dawson was previously the director of the Wilderness Institute and a professor of Wilderness Studies at the University of Montana. Before her tenure at UM, Dawson was a research biologist with the US Geological Survey at the Alaska Science Center, a wildlife biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Forest Service in Alaska, and a public policy fellow with the American Institute of Biological Sciences in Washington, D.C.  She received her PhD from the University of New Mexico while studying the impacts of forestry practices on endemic mammals on the Tongass National Forest.

“The Board was very excited when we learned Natalie was interested in the position. She is a dynamic and passionate leader who has the right combination of skills to lead Audubon Alaska’s initiatives,” said John Schoen, Chair of the Audubon Alaska Board. “When we met with Natalie, we knew we had found the right person for the job, and we are happy to welcome her to the team."

Dawson will officially start her new role in mid-February. As the executive director, she will lead Audubon’s conservation strategies and initiatives in Alaska. The state office is well-known for using innovative science and mapping technology to identify important ecological areas and guide policy efforts to protect birds, other wildlife, and their habitats in Alaska.    

"I'm excited to return to Alaska, amid the communities, salmon-rich rivers, old-growth rainforests, Arctic ranges, and relationships that have built my conservation ethic over decades. The natural resource challenges facing Alaska are incredible opportunities to grow Audubon Alaska's impressive science portfolio and outreach activities into new places, with new people, in new directions,” said Natalie Dawson, incoming executive director for Audubon Alaska. “I can't wait to be on the ground with Audubon Alaska's incredible staff, driving conservation priorities and building new partnerships across our diverse state to protect birds and the places they need." 

Dawson succeeds Nils Warnock who was executive director for eight years. He is now the director of conservation science at Audubon Canyon Ranch in California.   


About Audubon

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more how to help at www.audubon.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.

Since 1977, Audubon Alaska's mission is to conserve the spectacular natural ecosystems of the state, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats, for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations. Audubon Alaska uses science to identify conservation priorities and support conservation actions and policies, with an emphasis on public lands and waters. Audubon Alaska is a state office of the National Audubon Society. Learn more at www.AudubonAlaska.org.

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Media Contacts

Rebecca Sentner, Communications Manager, Audubon Alaska, rsentner@audubon.org, 907.276.7034

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