Marshall Johnson

Chief Conservation Officer

Marshall Johnson serves as Audubon’s Chief Conservation Officer. In this role Marshall oversees overall programming and strategies for hemispheric-wide conservation science, education, policy, and delivery to address the unprecedented climate change and biodiversity crises facing birds and people.

Since assuming the Chief Conservation Officer role, Marshall has led the development of Flight Plan, Audubon’s new organization-wide strategic plan which aims to bend the bird curve and recover bird species and associated habitats across the western hemisphere. Marshall also oversaw the development and implementation of Audubon’s first Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging principles to guide all Audubon’s conservation work, ensuring equitable impact and benefits.

Before assuming the Chief Conservation Officer role, he previously served as Vice President for Audubon Dakotas. In this capacity, he raised more than $50 million, spearheading the development and launch of the Northern Great Plains Grasslands project, which has conserved

more than 500,000 acres across the Dakotas, enrolling over 300 farmers, ranchers, and communities. Marshall has also served as Vice President of Audubon’s Conservation Ranching Initiative, now America’s largest regenerative, bird-friendly land certification, spanning more than 3.5 million acres across 16 states. Marshall led the creation of the Urban Woods & Prairies Initiative which has created over 36 new nature parks across North Dakota, creating safe passage for migratory birds, while returning over 2,000 acres back to nature and increasing recreational access and ecosystem services across 5 communities.

In addition to overseeing key Audubon partnerships throughout the US, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean, Marshall serves on the North American Wetlands Conservation Council and the Neotropical Bird Conservation Advisory Group, supporting the Migratory Bird Act and the Neotropical Bird Act, laws instituted to protect migratory birds across the Western Hemisphere. 

In 2021, Marshall was honored to serve on the Bush Foundation’s inaugural Community Trust Panel, awarding $100 million to two organizations that demonstrate a deep understanding of and connection to Black and Native communities across the tri-state region of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. These organizations will be charged with designing programs that will eventually provide grants directly to individuals to help them with wealth-building opportunities such as furthering their education, buying a home, or starting a business. An avid outdoorsman, he is also an alternate member of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Council. Marshall resides in Fargo, ND with his fiancée and their dogs.  

Articles by Marshall Johnson

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework Represents a Meaningful Step Toward a Cleaner Future for Birds and People

July 22, 2021 — While funding levels for some programs are insufficient, the framework is a 'down payment' on future clean energy and resilience investments.