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Pioneers in Space, Philanthropy, Advocacy Join National Audubon Society Board of Directors

Leading conservation nonprofit welcomed five distinguished industry leaders to national board of directors.

NEW YORK - In 2018, the National Audubon Society added five new members to its national board of directors – each bringing unmatched expertise to the storied conservation organization. Elected members include: lifelong naturalist and philanthropic leader Mary Daugherty, government affairs expert Sara Fuentes, William Penn Foundation chair Janet Haas, M.D., Pearson executive Kate James, and scientist and astronaut Kathy Sullivan, Ph.D. 

“From leading conservation efforts to breaking through countless barriers across the U.S., the globe and even in space, each new Audubon board member has demonstrated leadership and command in their respective fields,” said David Yarnold (@david_yarnold), president and CEO of the National Audubon Society. “The invaluable expertise these members offer will take Audubon’s work – in the fight to address climate change, defend landmark conservation policies and protect birds and the places they need – to a new level.”

Mary Daugherty is a lifelong naturalist, who has dedicated her philanthropic career to furthering the relationship between humanity and the natural world, including being the first woman to preside over the Nebraska Human Society to chairing fundraisers for the world-class Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. She is a long-standing member of the Board of Governors at the Joslyn Art Museum and is a friend of the Alaska Whale Foundation and the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, D.C.

Sara Fuentes is the regional director of the National Audubon Society’s Atlantic-South region, as well as the staff vice president for government & external operations for the Navy League of the United States. She has extensive volunteer experience with Women in Aerospace, serving as the vice president of programs and the vice president of professional development. She holds a master’s degree in security policy studies from George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a degree in politics and a certificate in women & gender studies.

Janet Hass, M.D. is chair and a past president of the William Penn Foundation, a regional foundation that protects and improves the Delaware River Watershed, as well as invests in the education of low-income children particularly from birth to age 8; develops accessible, vibrant public spaces; and supports arts and culture. In addition to her work with the Foundation, Dr. Haas practices palliative medicine at the Abramson Cancer Center of Pennsylvania Hospital, part of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. She also serves as trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, Morris Arboretum and the Free Library of Philadelphia, and is on the board of advisors for Audubon’s newest nature center in Philadelphia, The Discovery Center.

Kate James is the chief corporate affairs and global marketing officer at Pearson, as well as director of the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund. In related work, she has served as chief communications officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and led the advocacy and sustainability practice at Standard Chartered Bank. As an active leader in the non-profit community, she also serves on the boards of Vital Voices Global Partnership and America’s Promise Alliance and is the chief spokesperson for Project Literacy, a global campaign convened by Pearson to help close the global literacy gap by 2030.

Kathy Sullivan, Ph.D. is a distinguished scientist, astronaut, and executive, who holds the distinction of being the first American woman to walk in space after joining the NASA astronaut corps in 1978. During her 15-year NASA tenure, she flew on three space shuttle missions, including the mission that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope. Dr. Sullivan’s many honors and awards include election to the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Astronaut Hall of Fame, Women Aviators Hall of Fame, Women Divers Hall of Fame, and Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. She has also been recognized as one of the 46 distinguished First Women by Time Magazine in 2017; the 15 Women Changing the World by the World Economic Forum in 2015; and Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2014. Dr. Sullivan holds a Bachelor of Science in Earth Sciences from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Ph.D. in Geology from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia.

About Audubon

In 2017, Audubon continued its growth as one of the world’s oldest, largest conservation organizations, which is comprised of an unparalleled wingspan of 23 state offices, 41 nature centers, more than 450 local chapters and 23 wildlife sanctuaries. Audubon has also earned Charity Navigator's highest ranking of four stars for the fourth year in a row (2014 – 2017).

Building on the organization’s strong conservation legacy, Audubon’s 2016-2020 strategic plan aligned its conservation work along migratory flyways that drove critical conservation and legislative wins in 2017, including: innovative marsh restoration projects in the Chesapeake Bay, successfully advocating for $200 million in funds to restore the desiccated Salton Sea, and working with ranchers to certify more than 250,000 acres of native grasslands as bird-friendly ranchland.

Audubon has broadened its reach and membership among a more diverse, younger audience by expanding programming and increasing engagement among local and new communities. As written in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “One of ways [Audubon] is becoming more diverse is by creating special Let’s Go Birding Together walks for the LGBTQ community… [and] hired African-American environmental justice pioneer Deeohn Ferris to be its first vice president of equity, diversity, and inclusion.”

National Audubon Society boasts 1.75 million followers on its main social media account and reaches hundreds of thousands of additional supporters through state and regional Audubon pages and accounts.

To learn more about Audubon and its new strategic direction, please visit here.


About the National Audubon Society

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 and @audubonsociety.

Media Contact: Chandler Lennon,, (212) 979-3063

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