Springfield, IL – The Illinois Audubon Society Board of Directors today announced the hiring of Dr. James Herkert as the new Illinois Audubon Society Executive Director. Herkert will join the organization on October 17, 2016.
“Dr. Herkert is well versed in Illinois conservation programs and will provide a seamless continuation of the Illinois Audubon Society’s work to protect and conserve some of Illinois’ rarest and most valuable habitats and species,” said Shelly Knuppel, Illinois Audubon Society board president. “His extensive knowledge of conservation programs within Illinois, and broad experiences working with conservation partnerships with state, federal and NGO partners, align perfectly with our mission.”
Herkert has more than 25 years of experience in the field of conservation. He has worked for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources since 2009, most recently as Director of the Office of Resource Conservation. He previously worked for the Illinois office of The Nature Conservancy and the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board.
Herkert is also a nationally recognized authority on grassland birds that breed in the Midwest. He has published numerous scientific papers on the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on grassland birds, and has received multiple state and national awards recognizing his work. He holds a Master’s in Biology from Illinois State University and a PhD in Ecology, Ethology and Evolution at University of Illinois-Champaign.
“Dr. Herkert’s scientific specialty is Illinois birds and conservation of their habitats,” Knuppel explained. “His research activities, field work, successful fundraising experiences, and professional relationships with birding organizations will strengthen the Illinois Audubon Society’s role as a partner in preserving the nature of Illinois.”
The mission of the Illinois Audubon Society is to promote the perpetuation and appreciation of native plants and animals and the habitats that support them. The Society is an independent, member supported, not-for-profit, statewide organization. Founded in 1897, the Society is Illinois’ oldest private conservation organization with 2,200 members, 18 chapters and 19 affiliate groups. The Illinois Audubon Society has protected 3,500 acres by investing $8.8 million to protect land and water throughout Illinois.