Elizabeth Gray

Chief Executive Officer and Ex Officio Board Director

Dr. Elizabeth Gray serves as Audubon’s Chief Executive Officer. In this role Elizabeth leads Audubon towards its vision of a future where birds thrive. Elizabeth is a champion of science-based conservation and renowned expert in the field of global conservation and climate change. Elizabeth joined Audubon in March 2021 as President and Chief Conservation Officer; she was named Chief Executive Officer later that same year. She is the first woman since Audubon’s founding in 1905 to hold the role. She leads more than 700 staff working together across the Americas to alter the course of climate change and habitat loss. Since her arrival, she has led the completion of a landmark $826 million campaign, the release of the groundbreaking Migratory Bird Explorer, and the organization’s unifying Flight Plan strategy which underscores Audubon’s commitment to a hemispheric approach to conservation. Under Elizabeth’s leadership, Audubon has elevated Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (EDIB) as a driver of the organization’s work across the Americas, codified in a set of EDIB Conservation Principles.

Prior to joining Audubon, she most recently served as the Global Managing Director of The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Climate Change program. Under her leadership, TNC completed the $130 million Cumberland Forest Impact Investment Fund, founded Washington, D.C.’s, first urban conservation program, and launched climate adaptation and natural climate solutions across North America. Trained as an ornithologist, she has spent 30+ years as a dedicated conservationist, spending considerable time in the field nationally and abroad. Elizabeth has been a leader on equity issues throughout her career, including empowering the next generation of conservation leaders through a young professional network and youth advocacy program. She has also been a global spokesperson for conservation and climate issues, speaking at COP events for over a decade. Elizabeth is a proven fundraiser of major gifts, including securing $100 million from the Bezos Earth Fund for TNC's climate work. She holds a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Washington and an AB with highest honors in psychology from Harvard University.

Articles by Elizabeth Gray

Two bluebirds perch next to each other, one holding a bug and the other a bunch of grassy material in their beaks.
Spring Into Action
March 26, 2024 — Migration reminds us of what we’re all collectively working to build: a world where birds thrive.
Landscape with a blue lake and forest seen through colorful fall foliage in the foreground and mountains in the background.
On Our Flight Path
December 05, 2023 — How we are setting ourselves up for even greater success in 2024.
To Protect Our Planet, COP Needs to Recognize the Intersection of Climate Impacts and Biodiversity Loss
December 04, 2023 — The climate and biodiversity crises cannot be addressed separately.
Six black and white ducks with pink beaks with wings spread out land in an agricultural field in Colombia.
We Go Where Birds Go
October 03, 2023 — Colombia is a major biodiversity hotspot in the Americas, and the successful work we do there can serve as a model for effective conservation across the Western Hemisphere.
Flock of birds flying high above a long row of wind turbines against an orange sunset
Our Next Five Years of Climate Action
July 11, 2023 — Audubon is ready for swift and bold action on renewables and natural carbon storage at this critical time for the planet.
A flock of gray Sandhill Cranes take flight while others stand in shallow water in the soft pink light of sunrise.
A Roadmap for the Future
March 31, 2023 — Our bold strategic plan will achieve new levels of impact for birds, people, and the planet.
Open Letter from the CEO on Audubon’s Name
March 16, 2023 — Hear directly from Dr. Elizabeth Gray on why Audubon is keeping its name.
How a Century-Old Winter Tradition Could Help Protect People and Birds for Another Hundred Years
December 23, 2022 — The Audubon Christmas Bird Count has generated more than 120 years’ worth of data showing how bird populations change over time.
A Swallow-tailed Kite, a white and black raptor, catches a bug in mid-air.
Reflecting on a Year of Success
December 16, 2022 — Audubon’s work in science, policy, advocacy, and conservation has helped create lasting change for birds and has set us up for greater impact in 2023.
Elizabeth Gray bands a female Redwinged Blackbird during her graduate field studies.
I'm Proud To Be Part of Your Flock
November 03, 2022 — An introduction to Elizabeth Gray, the first woman to hold the title president or CEO at Audubon.