Keynote Session—Tuesday, February 14
Location: Hall C, Lower Level
The Internet of Conservation Things: Wiring a Legacy Network
President & CEO
National Audubon Society
How does a 112-year-old organization ensure its relevance in a wired world? In 2011, the National Audubon Society embarked on an organizational odyssey to apply geographic thinking across its diverse network. Today, Audubon's 463 chapters, 41 education centers, and all 23 U.S. state offices benefit from a common GIS platform. GIS has enabled Audubon and their partners to better access authoritative data, embrace robust scientific modeling, and further engage volunteers, donors, government partners through improved field solutions and story maps. Explore Audubon’s journey and the implications
In September of 2010, David Yarnold became the 10th president of the National Audubon Society. Founded in 1905, Audubon brings its trusted centrist brand to conservation action through millions of members who protect the ecosystems that birds and people rely upon.
David Yarnold was executive director at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) for five years. He helped pioneer the creation of greenhouse gas markets in China, a nation-changing idea that is coming to fruition today. He also championed EDF’s signature corporate partnerships programs with companies ranging from Walmart to Cisco Systems.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning editor, Yarnold worked for 26 years at the San Jose Mercury News, serving as executive editor of one of the nation’s premier newspapers. At the Mercury News parent company, Knight Ridder, he was one of America's first digital journalists. David is known for his understanding of climate science, his passion for diversity and his unique boundary-crossing career.
Yarnold was hired to lead a turnaround at Audubon and he has brought a bold, unifying vision—Audubon's first shared conservation goals in more than two decades—to its powerful grassroots network. Under his leadership, Audubon's distributed network is becoming a coordinated, collaborative force for hemispheric conservation. Audubon connects five million people, using science, advocacy and education. He has launched numerous innovative social media efforts, including a national movement called "Conservation Doesn’t Have a Party." And he has put cutting-edge mapping technology at the center of Audubon's reinvention.
Recently, Audubon chalked up three significant conservation victories. Its policy team was a leading force in the adoption of the RESTORE act, which will send up to 80% of BP's penalty monies to the Gulf Coast states; Audubon created the plan and the mapping to preserve almost 50% of Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve; and it worked with the wind industry, the Interior Department and other NGOs to publish the first guidelines for wildlife-friendly siting of wind turbines.
His global background has deepened Audubon’s alliances with BirdLife International and other partners to build a hemispheric air bridge for birds as they migrate across the flyways of the Americas. He writes op eds and columns for Huffington Post, forbes.com, CNN, McClatchy News Service, and others. NPR's "Morning Edition" quoted Yarnold, "This is not your grandmother's Audubon—and she'd be proud of us." He has appeared on CNN, Fox News, BBC, PBS NewsHour, and The Colbert Report. He is a marathoner, an earnest birder and he still reads sports news in the morning before anything else.