Jeff Wells

Vice President, Boreal Conservation

Jeff Wells is Vice President for Boreal Conservation, where he leads National Audubon's work to protect the Boreal Forest, a biome comprised of more than one billion acres of northern forests, wetlands, lakes, and rivers that spans from the interior of Alaska across Canada to Newfoundland. His subject-area expertise and experience include Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas and Indigenous Guardians programs, biodiversity, conservation science, carbon storage, and links between Western Science and Indigenous Science/Traditional Knowledge. He guides Audubon’s team efforts on Boreal-focused applied science and strategic communications to leverage public support for Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas and Indigenous Guardians programs across the Boreal Forest biome. Jeff also builds and maintains strategic partnerships with Indigenous organizations and governments and with other conservation organizations that advance Boreal conservation goals. His work includes engaging fellow researchers, conservationists, and policy experts at universities, other organizations, and government entities on science-based issues and the importance of conservation of the Boreal Forest.

Previously, Jeff led science and policy for the Boreal Songbird Initiative and the International Boreal Conservation Campaign (a project of the Pew Charitable Trusts), where he researched and published reports, science and policy briefs, and academic publications to educate the public and policy makers about Boreal conservation needs based in science. Before that he was Senior Conservation Scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Jeff's current role is a return to Audubon, where previously he had served as National Bird Conservation Director and before that, Director of Bird Conservation for Audubon New York.

Jeff received his PhD as well as his Master's in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University, and his undergraduate degree from the University of Maine, Farmington. He is co-author of the award-winning book, "Birds of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao: A Site and Field Guide," (Cornell University Press, 2017); co-author of "Maine's Favorite Birds" (Tilbury House, 2012); editor, "Boreal Birds of North America," (California University Press, 2011); author, “Birder’s Conservation Handbook,” (Princeton University Press, 2007); and author, “Important Bird Areas in New York State,” (National Audubon, 1998). Most recently he co-authored the monumental new book "Birds of Maine," (Princeton University Press, 2020).

Articles by Jeff Wells

Cliff Swallow peeking out of nest.
Boreal Forest Provides Hope in the Face of an Insect Apocalypse
May 07, 2024
Boreal landscape, trees, shrubs, near water
Taking a Closer Look at North America’s Boreal Forest
March 20, 2024
Aerial view of James Bay.
A Proposed Marine Conservation Area along Hudson and James Bays Makes Significant Progress
February 29, 2024 — Audubon celebrates a recent conservation victory in Canada with benefits for migratory bird species across the hemisphere!
Marbled Murrelet swimming with a fish.
Federal Court in Canada Rules on Important Migratory Bird Law
February 22, 2024 — Good news for birds and bird lovers across Canada!
Mega-flock of Semipalmated Sandpipers taking flight.
United Nations Wildlife Conference Focuses on Migratory Species
February 15, 2024 — The theme “Nature Knows No Borders” encourages international collaboration
Fox Sparrow sitting on a tree branch.
The Fox Sparrow
March 20, 2023 — Celebrating this beloved sparrow on World Sparrow Day!
COP15 sign outside of the Palais de Congres in Montreal.
A Conservation Gift to the World Was Wrapped in Montreal
December 20, 2022 — Reflections on COP15 and the new Global Biodiversity Framework.
A bird with a black head and black-and-white body swims on water alongside some purple flowers
A New Indigenous Protected Area Emerges on Hudson Bay
June 03, 2022 — The Seal River Watershed Alliance will help protect 12 million acres of lakes, rivers, and lands.
Red-winged Blackbird are early spring arrivals in Maine.
Flying North
May 12, 2022 — Migratory birds are on the move and many are bound for the Boreal.
Boreal Forest of Canada.
Breathing In, Breathing Out
April 21, 2022 — Our deep relationship with the trees of the Boreal Forest.