On behalf of the Illinois Audubon Society’s Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that we have selected Dr. James Herkert as our new Executive Director. Jim will officially join us on October 17, 2016.

We had a rich pool of applicants for this position, but Jim stood out because of his 25 years of diverse conservation experience including work for a major non-profit conservation organization, a state agency, and a Governor-appointed board. 

Jim has served as Director of the Office of Resource Conservation for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources since 2009, leading an office of over 240 resource professionals with an annual budget of over $50 million. He previously spent eight years with The Nature Conservancy, Illinois, including six as Director of Conservation Science, and 11 years on the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board.

Jim is also a nationally recognized authority on grassland birds that breed in the Midwest, with published scientific papers on the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on grassland species, and is active in the American Ornithologists’ Union. He earned a Master’s degree in Biology from Illinois State University and a Ph.D in Ecology, Ethology and Evolution at University of Illinois-Champaign.

We feel confident that Jim’s knowledge, stewardship skills, familiarity with non-profit conservation organizations and Illinois constituent groups, and experience with conservation partnerships involving state, federal and NGO partners are a good match for our mission, staff and members. 

Please join me in welcoming Jim as he leads us into the next chapter in Illinois Audubon Society’s history.

Shelly Knuppel
President, Illinois Audubon Society Board of Directors