NEW YORK – In January 2020, the National Audubon Society welcomed Dean Fischer, founder and chairman emeritus of West Monroe Partners, and Steffanie Munguía, biologist and Audubon’s Pan-Flyway regional director, to its national board of directors. The newest board members bring notable expertise and experience in student-focused and minority outreach to the organization.
“Young leaders around the globe are inspiring the next generation of environmental and climate advocates. The future of the conservation movement depends on bringing new, more diverse audiences into the conversation and action,” said David Yarnold (@david_yarnold), president and CEO of the National Audubon Society. “With their combined backgrounds and proven leadership, our newest board members bring respected perspectives that’ll only enrich Audubon initiatives to reach the leaders and environmentalists of tomorrow through birds and avian life.”
Dean Fischer has led the Audubon Great Lakes Board of Advisors as its chairman since 2014. He has also served for seven years on the national board of the Student Conservation Association, including three years as its chairman, as well as on the board of Openlands, a Chicago-based conservation nonprofit. Dean is chairman emeritus of West Monroe Partners, a Chicago-based business and technology consultancy he co-founded in 2002. He was also a partner at Arthur Andersen during his 23-year tenure with that firm. He is a graduate of Valparaiso University and lives in the suburbs of Chicago with his wife, Jenny.
Steffanie Munguía, a native of Puerto Rico, grew up in central Florida, where in middle school she became involved with the Lake Region Audubon Society and volunteered for the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey. Over the past 13 years, she has dedicated her efforts to increasing youth and minority engagement in Audubon, co-coordinating the state’s Conservation Leadership Initiative for several years. As a biologist, Steffanie has conducted research across the United States, participating in songbird research in the Great Plains and New England, and is currently studying the management of important stopover sites in coastal wetlands of the Caribbean. Through her range of experiences, she has learned that Audubon is not just about birds; it is also about people who dedicate their time and energy to conserving birds and their habitats. Now in the second year of her doctoral studies, Steffanie is excited to bring this energy to increasing student and young-professional opportunities as Audubon’s Pan-Flyway regional director.
As one of the world’s oldest, largest conservation organizations, Audubon has an unparalleled wingspan of 23 state offices, 41 nature centers, more than 450 local chapters, and 23 wildlife sanctuaries. As of December 2019, Audubon’s reach includes more than 1.7 million members and 2 million followers on its main social media account as well as hundreds of thousands of additional supporters through state and regional Audubon pages and accounts.
In 2019, Audubon members took more than half a million actions to promote vital climate policies, on federal, state and local levels, to protect birds and their habitats. In October, Audubon’s climate science team released Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink, revealing that two-thirds of North American bird species are at risk of extinction from climate change, but shared a message of hope that we can significantly improve the chances of 76 percent of those species if we take climate action now.
Audubon celebrated numerous conservation wins last year. In 2019, the EPA released the Great Lakes Initiative Action Plan III, which will specifically work to benefit marsh birds for the first time due to the advocacy efforts of Audubon members, as well as secured $320 million in funding for Great Lakes restoration. Additionally, Audubon worked with partners to increase federal funding for Everglades restoration from $63 million to $200 million, with the President’s FY2021 budget proposal recommending $250 million.
The Audubon on Campus Chapter Program, which launched in 2018, continued to expand rapidly, growing from ten pilot programs to being active on more than 100 campuses nationwide in just 18 months. The growth of Audubon’s college campus initiative shows a strong interest in bird conversation among the next generation of leaders and advocates – the future of the environmental movement.
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using, science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more about how to help at www.audubon.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.
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