Melanie Smith

Melanie A. Smith

Director, Digital Science & Data Products

Melanie's lifelong love of birds brought her to Audubon in 2008. She has an interdisciplinary background in geospatial science, wildlife ecology, and environmental policy with over 20 years of experience leading teams that synthesize and visualize ecological patterns to identify conservation priorities and inform decisions. She led the development of the Bird Migration Explorer, the  Ecological Atlas of the Arctic Seas, and the Southeast Alaska Birding Trail as well as numerous spatial analyses, maps, and reports that have guided the protection of millions of acres in Alaska.

As the Director of Digital Science & Data Products she manages interdisciplinary teams to guide the strategic and innovative use of geospatial and quantitative data, producing science products that translate ecological knowledge into decision-relevant information. Former roles include five years as Program Director for the Bird Migration Explorer within Audubon's Migratory Bird Initiative, and ten years at Audubon Alaska as a Spatial Ecologist and the Director of Conservation Science. Before that she worked for five years as an environmental consultant and GIS lead on collaborative forest management and energy development issues in the US Rocky Mountain West.

Her master’s degree in Geography with Emphasis in GIS and Cartography at the University of Montana focused on individual-based modeling of habitat and population dynamics for Northern Goshawks. She has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Prescott College. She also holds certificates in nonprofit technology, sustainable energy, and permaculture. When she is not at work you might find her on cross-country skis, a dog sled, or a hiking trail.

Articles by Melanie A. Smith

Finding Wisdom in A Century’s Worth of Bird Banding Records

August 12, 2022 — The U.S. Geological Survey's Bird Banding Lab "puts a ring on it" and reveals the wonders of birds migration.

Esri Puts Audubon's Migratory Bird Initiative on the Map

August 12, 2022 — By providing and advancing the technology behind increasingly accurate maps, the GIS giant plays an integral role in effective nature conservation.

A Virtual Wild Goose Chase Like No Other

April 21, 2022 — A leader of Audubon's Migratory Bird Initiative details her incredible chance encounter with one unlucky goose's GPS tracker.