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Merger Creates Audubon Mid-Atlantic Uniting 26 Local Chapters, 150,000+ Members; Suzanne Biemiller Named Executive Director

On February 16, the National Audubon Society announced a strategic merger between two storied state programs-- Audubon Pennsylvania and Audubon Maryland-DC, introducing the Audubon Mid-Atlantic regional office.

The merger of Audubon Pennsylvania and Audubon Maryland-DC unites a robust grassroots network of 26 local chapters and more than 150,000 members as advocates for Mid-Atlantic birds.

Audubon Mid-Atlantic will continue to champion community-based initiatives, partnerships, and Bird-friendly Community programs in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington, D.C., including at Audubon’s nature centers like The Discovery Center in Philadelphia, the John James Audubon Center in Audubon, Montgomery County and the Patterson Park Audubon Center in Baltimore. 

Suzanne Biemiller has been named the new executive director of the new regional office.

Biemiller joins Audubon after founding the policy-focused consulting firm, Highland Strategies, and a notable tenure in former Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter’s administration as First Deputy Chief of Staff for the City of Philadelphia.

“My lifelong passion for hiking and canoeing has given me a deep appreciation for the importance of preserving and restoring land and waterways for birds and other wildlife,” said Biemiller. “Audubon’s century-long mission to protect birds inspires me, and I’m eager to dive into a new chapter of conservation across the Mid-Atlantic. With the new Audubon Mid-Atlantic, our growing wingspan throughout the region will only strengthen Audubon’s influence, impact and ability to advocate for birds and the environments they need – from the cities to the rural communities – for decades to come.”

“Whether it’s Red Knots on the shores of the Delaware Bay, Cerulean Warblers in the Appalachian forests, or Saltmarsh Sparrows in the tidal marshes of Maryland, birds tell us where conservation efforts are needed most to protect the diverse habitats that birds – and people – depend on,” said Amy Sobel, vice president of the Atlantic Flyway for the National Audubon Society. “Suzanne’s unique experience is just what we need to create a blueprint for region-wide restoration, climate resiliency action, and policy solutions in the Mid-Atlantic, as we all address the increasingly negative effects of climate change.”

As executive director of Audubon Mid-Atlantic and vice president at the National Audubon Society, Biemiller will build on the successful on-the-ground efforts in Pennsylvania and Maryland to develop a large-scale conservation vision for the Mid-Atlantic-- a critically important region for bird species traveling along the Atlantic Flyway.

She brings more than two decades of experience in the philanthropic, non-profit, and government sectors. 

Biemiller helped spearhead the creation of and wrote Greenworks Philadelphia, which united the city’s sustainability work and became the catalyst for Philadelphia’s innovative sustainability efforts.

It received the 2010 Siemens Sustainability Award. Biemiller's experience also includes tenure as a senior program officer at The Pew Charitable Trusts, where she developed, advanced and oversaw local and national civic initiatives, including the Philadelphia Research and Policy Initiative and the restoration and renewal of the Fairmount Water Works and the National Park Service’s Benjamin Franklin Museum.

She previously held the title of Chief of Staff at the American Board of Internal Medicine.

She served on the board of directors of the Philadelphia Outward Bound School, Audubon’s partner at The Discovery Center, and on additional boards, including the Community College of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority.

She received a master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s degree from Williams College.  

“The Delaware River Watershed spans across multiple Mid-Atlantic states, encompassing more than 13,500 square miles of land and vast forests as well as 400 miles of designated National Wild and Scenic Rivers. As our regional presence grows, so does our capacity to protect and restore a watershed that provides clean water for more than 400 bird species and 13.3 million people,” said Beth Brown, director of the Delaware River Watershed program at Audubon. 

“From improving the management of headwater forests to ensuring the survival of the tidal marshes in the face of sea level rise, Audubon Mid-Atlantic expands our work across the Chesapeake watershed to restore vital bird habitats and improve the region’s first line of defense against the impacts of climate change – its natural infrastructure,” said David Curson, director of bird conservation at Audubon.

“Audubon’s nature centers in Maryland and Pennsylvania are excited for the opportunity to scale up community engagement initiatives in partnership with our local neighbors, growing environmental leadership and greening our cities for birds and communities,” said Susie Creamer, center director of the Patterson Park Audubon Center, and Damien Ruffner, center manager at The Discovery Center.

Visit the Audubon Pennsylvania website to learn more about programs, initiatives, upcoming events and how to get involved.  There are 22 local Audubon Chapters in Pennsylvania and more than 24,000 members.

Related Article:

-- PA Society For Ornithology Announces Inaugural Breeding Bird Blitz For Conservation - June 18-21

[Posted: February 16, 2021]


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