National Audubon Society Announces Creation of Audubon Delta, New Executive Director Dawn O’Neal

Audubon Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi join forces on region-wide conservation efforts with Dawn O’Neal at its helm.

JULY 20, 2021 – The National Audubon Society announced the merger of three state offices – Audubon Louisiana, Audubon Arkansas, and Audubon Mississippi - to create Audubon Delta, a unified regional headquarter that will continue to protect birds and the places they need. Dawn O’Neal has been named Vice President and Executive Director of the newly formed Audubon Delta.  

Prior to joining Audubon, O’Neal served as director of strategic Initiatives at The Nature Conservancy, where she developed and stewarded several long-term strategies to help Conservancy scientists build emotional intelligence, enhance technical capacity, and develop skills to enrich collaborations with stakeholders and increase the impact of conservation outcomes.  She has experience directing projects and leading research efforts at national and international levels with research experience in climate change biology, life history evolution, disease ecology, and eco-physiology.  

“There is a ton of great work happening in the Delta region, arguably one of the most important areas for bird conservation in the country. I am honored to be entrusted with building this new office and amplifying the voices of staff and this community as we create an equitable and sustainable vision and goals to guide us into the 2020s and beyond,” said O’Neal. 

“Dawn’s wealth of experience will enhance our ability to protect birds, and help more people experience and deepen their relationship with the outdoors.  Dawn is an ideal leader for our organization and our time,” said Suzanne Dixon, Audubon’s Mississippi and Central Flyway Vice President.   

“We have found in Dawn the right combination of innovation, leadership, and heart to advance our efforts.  Dawn’s strong management experience, along with her deep commitment to conservation, community engagement and to ensuring equity and inclusion in everything we do, makes her a wonderful choice to step into this crucial leadership role for Audubon.” 

As Vice President and Executive Director of Audubon Delta, O’Neal will lead Audubon’s regional efforts in habitat conservation and conservation strategy that emphasizes coastal resilience and stewardship, bird-friendly communities, climate, and conservation science. The Delta forms one of the most critical bird and waterfowl migration corridors on the continent and supports North America's largest wetland area and bottomland hardwood forest; therefore, Dawn’s leadership within the Delta is of utmost importance to protect this unique and vital ecosystem. 

O’Neal holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Washington University and a Ph.D. in Ecology from Indiana University. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the University at Albany – State University of New York. 


The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive.   

Contact: Lauren Bourg,

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