A Message From The Board Chair

At a Special Meeting of the Board yesterday, New Jersey Audubon’s Directors voted unanimously to appoint Alex Ireland, PhD as Acting President and CEO effective May 1st. Alex joined NJA last year as Vice President of Stewardship and has impressed Board members, NJA’s leadership team, and staff with his deep expertise in environmental sciences, collegial leadership style, and management capabilities. As Acting President and CEO, Alex will assume all the responsibilities and authority of this position until such time that the Board appoints a permanent President and CEO after evaluating potential external candidates. Until June 30, Eric Stiles will support Alex as Emeritus President and CEO, helping to ensure an effective transition of all executive leadership responsibilities.

Alex Ireland

Alex was recruited to NJA for his depth of experience and knowledge in habitat stewardship. He holds a PhD in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Lehigh University and completed post-doctoral training and research at Lehigh and Penn State. Alex’s research has deepened understanding of wetland response to human and climatic disturbances and pioneered new methods for evaluating the ecological potential of forested landscapes. Alex also has strong planning, budgeting, and management abilities, honed during eight years of corporate experience at ExxonMobil in his roles as a Senior Environmental Scientist, Planning Advisor, and Environmental Section Head. At New Jersey Audubon, Alex has demonstrated that he is a quick study with strong interpersonal and leadership skills.

The Board’s Leadership Transition Workgroup has been empowered to select and retain a search consultant to help screen external candidates that would augment capabilities and diversity on NJA’s senior team. We congratulate and thank Alex as he assumes his new responsibilities to lead NJA and look forward to benefiting from his perspective and leadership.

In mid April, New Jersey Audubon’s Board of Directors met to discuss CEO Eric Stiles’ intent to leave us at the end of June to head the Friends of Acadia. We congratulated Eric on his opportunity to lead another great conservation organization and thanked him for twenty-one years of strategic leadership. The Board immediately mobilized a Leadership Transition Committee to ensure a seamless and successful leadership transition at New Jersey Audubon.

Rich Kauffeld

New Jersey Audubon marks our 125th anniversary this year with a long history of strong conservation leadership and expanding impact. We began in 1897 with a single purpose – to stop the slaughter of birds for their feathers. Today, New Jersey Audubon preserves habitat and ecosystems across forests, farms, wetlands, and towns to protect threatened wildlife and ensure nature for all throughout NJ. During Eric’s leadership, New Jersey Audubon has led coalitions, policies, and programs to restore and steward forests, protect migrating shorebirds, preserve the Delaware River Watershed, reintroduce Northern Bobwhite in the Pinelands, and expand environmental education throughout the state. We have continued to advance our ethos of “nature for all”, expanding protection of open space in urban areas and environmental education for lower-income and ethnically diverse students in Title 1 schools.

The Board is fully aligned and committed to sustaining New Jersey Audubon’s strategies to expand our conservation impact, grow a more diverse membership, and continue to invest in capabilities while increasing our financial resources. We have great confidence in New Jersey Audubon’s talented and committed executive leadership, staff, and volunteers. We enter this leadership transition in a strong financial position, with growing membership, excited about our future! We look forward to celebrating nature and Eric’s contributions to New Jersey Audubon during our World Series of Birding and the Cape May Spring Festival in May. We will continue to keep you informed as the Board works with the senior leadership team to guide a transition that ensures continuity while adding new talent to our team. As always, we sincerely appreciate your support as we strive to conserve and protect nature for all in NJ.


Rich Kauffeld, Board Chair