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 served as the Global Managing Director of The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Climate Change program. 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, from founding TNC’s first urban conservation program in Washington, D.C., to empowering the next generation of conservation leaders through a young professional’s network and youth advocacy program, to serving as one of five members of TNC’s Global Gender Equity Council. She holds a PhD in ecology from the University of Washington and an AB with highest honors in psychology from Harvard University. 

Articles by Elizabeth Gray

Students paint a large mural depicting multiple birds.
Audubon Is Powered by People
September 21, 2022 — Our chapters, our members—you—are what make Audubon successful, and our collective power can accomplish great things for everyone.
Introducing The Birdsong Project: What the Birds Tell Us
July 29, 2022 — For the Birds: The Birdsong Project are streaming now to benefit Audubon’s bird conservation mission and celebrate the joy of birds.
An Indigo Bunting sings on top of a sunflower.
Listen to the Birds Today
July 08, 2022 — Some days, they sing messages of peril. But some days, they sing songs of beauty and hope.
In a landscape of shrubs and palms, one person stands atop a ladder holding the top of a small tower with three antennas, while two others stand at the base of the tower.
Where Do the Birds Go?
April 14, 2022 — Audubon’s Migratory Bird Initiative has already started to find out.
Women In Flight
March 28, 2022 — Women conservationists have long been at the forefront of the movement to protect birds, but there is so much more we can and must do for the future of the movement.
At left, Elizabeth Wanjiru Wathuti, in a blue jacket and brightly colored headband, speaks from a podium. In the right image, Iniquilipi Chiari poses for the camera.
Birds and Bold Activists Take the World Stage in Glasgow
December 16, 2021 — At the U.N. climate summit, Audubon’s CEO urged leaders to hear what birds are telling us and learned from youth and Indigenous campaigners.
Heeding the Call of Young Climate Defenders and Indigenous Voices at the Glasgow Climate Conference
November 05, 2021 — While their words and works are vital to the conversation, they remind powerful leaders of the responsibility to deliver meaningful change.
Taking the Messages that Birds Tell Us to the World’s Stage at COP26
November 01, 2021 — Audubon's acting CEO joins global leaders in Glasgow for the UN Climate Conference.
A bright red Vermilion Flycatcher perches on a tree branch against a clear blue sky.
Birds Are Telling Us to Act
October 05, 2021 — A summer of brutal extremes drove home the urgency of the climate crisis, as well as the benefits of collaborative action to address it.