An Important Message from Rich Kauffeld, NJ Audubon Chair

Dear Friends,

At last week’s meeting of New Jersey Audubon’s Board of Directors, the Board unanimously promoted Alex Ireland, PhD to President & CEO.  Alex had served as New Jersey Audubon’s Vice President of Stewardship since September 2021.   

In April, the Board appointed Alex as Acting President & CEO and established a Leadership Transition Workgroup to ensure continuity of executive leadership, identify and recruit a new President & CEO.  As this Board committee interviewed search firms and defined the experience and capabilities required for the CEO role, it quickly became clear that Alex was already demonstrating these qualifications.  Alex exhibits a deep passion for conservation, strong leadership and management abilities, expertise in environmental sciences, and a commitment to New Jersey Audubon’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) values. The Leadership Transition Committee found Alex to have all the capabilities of a strong CEO, and he was promoted to President & CEO with unanimous and enthusiastic support from our Board and senior staff.  

Alex holds a PhD in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Lehigh University and completed post-doctoral training and research at Lehigh and Penn State. His 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. The Board of Directors is excited about New Jersey Audubon’s prospects for further expanding our conservation impact under Alex Ireland’s leadership. 

I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to lead New Jersey Audubon into the future, Alex states. Clearly, we are facing monumental challenges at the nexus of climate change, biodiversity loss, and social inequities.  However, facing these challenges presents a generational opportunity to build a better future. Fortunately, New Jersey Audubon is well positioned to make meaningful contributions within our domain of expertise. We have a 125-year record of conservation success, a remarkable staff, passionate volunteers, and a visionary board of directors.  I am fully committed to serving this organization with an open heart and mind, maintaining what has served us well while pivoting toward fresh approaches where beneficial. Let’s do great things together!  

Please join us in congratulating Alex and wishing him great success in leading New Jersey Audubon!  




Rich Kauffeld, Board Chair