For Release Monday 23 December 2013
Dec. 23, 2013
Contact: Scott Gillihan (AOUBusinessmanager@gmail.com; 505-326-1579)
American Ornithologists’ Union Hires First Executive Director
Melinda Pruett-Jones to provide leadership in organization’s new direction
Chicago – (Dec. 20, 2013) – The American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU) announces the appointment of Melinda Pruett-Jones as its first executive director. The move signals its important progression from an all-volunteer-based society to one guided by a executive leader.
Pruett-Jones comes to the AOU from Chicago Wilderness, where she served as the regional alliance’s first executive director. Chicago Wilderness is a cross-sector alliance of organizations, which formed in 1996 to restore and protect nature, and to connect people to it across the greater Chicago region. Melinda also established the Metropolitan Greenspace Alliance, a network of regional conservation coalitions leading the national dialogue on urban conservation.
“The AOU is delighted to welcome Melinda Pruett-Jones as our new Executive Director, ” said Susan Haig, President. “ Melinda brings an effective combination of executive expertise in the nonprofit world, a solid grounding in avian behavioral ecology, and a large network of relationships across North America. She has a wealth of experience and success in building programs for prestigious organizations and leading engagement with diverse members. We look forward to her leadership”, she said.
Pruett-Jones has served in senior positions at the Field Museum, the Chicago Zoological Society/ Brookfield Zoo, and other mission-based organizations. Her ornithological research ranges from the ecology of birds of paradise and bowerbirds in Papua New Guinea to population biology and conservation of urban birds. She sits on several regional and national advisory boards.
“Melinda will bring her considerable organizational expertise to the AOU at a time when we are undergoing change in every aspect of the society. I am confident that she will facilitate implementation of the extensive new conservation and education programs we are planning throughout North America,” said John Fitzpatrick, former AOU president and executive director of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.
Pruett-Jones will operate the AOU organization from Chicago when she joins the organization in March.
Her first task will be to guide the AOU Council of elected members and formers presidents in strategic planning to advance the society’s bold vision for the field of ornithology.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS’ UNION
The AOU is the oldest and largest professional ornithological society in the western hemisphere. The mission of the American Ornithologists' Union is to advance the scientific understanding of birds, to enrich ornithology as a profession, and to promote a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds. Although primarily an organization for professional ornithologists, it welcomes to its ranks many students, conservationists, birders and others who cherish the birds of the world. Visit AOU at www.aou.org.
For additional information, contact Scott Gillihan, AOUbusinessmanager@gmail.com (505-326-1579).