Josh Lefers

Director of Conservation

As Director of Conservation, Josh Lefers manages all of Audubon Great Plains’ conservation programs, including habitat conservation, working lands partnerships, and strategies for clean water, sustainable energy, and bird-friendly communities. In his previous role as Working Lands Program Manager, he worked closely with private landowners, coordinating landowner engagement and enrollment, and coordinating habitat management, plan development and implementation, and securing grants for agricultural programs.  

Joshua Lefers has been with Audubon since May 2017. Joshua earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from South Dakota State University, runs a small ranch in south central South Dakota, and has years of experience in both the natural resource and agricultural sectors.

What is your conservation influence?
I grew up on a dairy farm in south central SD. During my grade school years most of the northern plains was in an unusually wet cycle, and our area was no exception. A large wetland near our house held fish and water birds, and I spent quite a bit of time watching and pursuing them. I especially remember watching the pelicans in the spring and fall as they stopped over on this wetland during migration. The wet cycle also help shaped my hobbies as an outdoorsman as I chased fish and ducks across multiple wetlands in the area. Those fish and wildlife depend on habitat and clean air and water, much like we do. Those resources in the Dakotas are dominantly affected by agriculture, another passion of mine. Working at the intersection of agriculture, the land, and wildlife can be difficult, and more often than not I’m left with more questions than answers around what success looks like and how to make a difference so the next generations can enjoy the outdoor experiences I’ve been blessed with.

To try to give credit to the many people who have influenced and guided me through the years would be an exercise in futility, as few whom love the land like I do fail to leave me richer in knowledge. 

Favorite Bird and why:
Northern Pintail-they are one of the few ducks that have struggling populations over the last couple decades of good habitat, they are elegant in flight and can be extremely wary of hunters.

To contact Josh, please email him at


Articles by Josh Lefers

Grasslands and You-Introducing the Prairies

Grasslands and You-Introducing the Prairies

— The American author, Willa Cather said, “Anybody can love the mountains, but it takes a soul to love the prairie”.