The National Audubon Society has hired Krysten Zummo of La Crosse, Wisconsin, as the organization's new grassland ecologist for Minnesota. Zummo works under Audubon’s Minnesota-Iowa-Missouri regional office, and her primary focus will be working with private landowners in spearheading the implementation of the organization’s wildlife habitat certification program, Audubon Conservation Ranching.
Zummo will work closely with farmers and ranchers in Minnesota to establish and enhance grassland bird habitat on their lands. The Audubon Conservation Ranching program, Audubon's flagship grassland habitat initiative, is a collaborative effort between farmers, ranchers, and Audubon to address the decline of grassland bird populations. Over 100 ranches, encompassing nearly 3 million acres, have earned Audubon Certified status as bird-friendly land. This certification includes the Audubon Certified bird-friendly seal on beef and bison products, highlighting their origin from lands managed to support birds and biodiversity. Building on the program's success in 14 other states, Audubon is expanding it to Minnesota in 2023.
Zummo joins the National Audubon Society from the Mississippi Valley Conservancy, where she served as a conservation associate. Her dedication and expertise in working with landowners in voluntary conservation efforts and her commitment to habitat restoration and public outreach make her an exceptional addition to the Audubon team.
A wildlife biologist, Zummo holds a Bachelor's degree from SUNY Cobleskill and a Master's degree in Wildlife Science from New Mexico State University. Throughout her career, she has conducted research on various wildlife populations across the United States, from New York to Oregon, focusing on how different management practices impact local ecosystems. Zummo also previously worked as a Farm Bill wildlife biologist with Pheasants Forever in northeast Colorado, collaborating closely with landowners to create and maintain high-quality habitats. Her role as part of the Conservancy's Land Protection Team further solidified her commitment to land protection and conservation.
Dr. Dale Gentry, Director of Conservation for Audubon Minnesota-Iowa-Missouri, said this wealth of experience in landowner relations, combined with her love of birds and their habitats, puts Zummo in a position to make the Audubon Conservation Ranching program’s entry into Minnesota a success. “Her dedication to grassroots conservation aligns perfectly with Audubon's mission, and we are thrilled to have her on board," said Dr. Gentry.
Passionate about birds and their conservation, Zummo expressed her excitement about joining the National Audubon Society and working to protect grassland birds. "Working for the National Audubon Society has been a career-long dream. I am excited that I will be a part of the important work of conserving grassland habitats in Minnesota," said Zummo. "Audubon Conservation Ranching is an ideal opportunity to show how working lands and birds can work together to improve grassland ecosystems for all. I am eager to collaborate with landowners, stakeholders, and communities to ensure the long-term survival of both. Together, we can make a difference."
Zummo can be reached via email and at (631) 813-0045.
About Audubon Minnesota-Iowa-Missouri
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 at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.