In 2022, the National Audubon Society announced Kristal Stoner as Executive Director for Audubon Great Plains, a new regional office that combines the Dakota and Nebraska offices. As head of Audubon Great Plains, Kristal oversees conservation strategies spanning across the state’s prairies, rivers, working lands, and bird-friendly communities. Kristal has been with the National Audubon Society since 2018 and additionally serves as the Audubon Nebraska Executive Director and as Vice President.
Through her leadership at Audubon Nebraska, Kristal developed a strategic plan that aligned state-level goals with National Audubon Society’s conservation strategies, forged multiple local and state partnerships, launched an internship program, and secured funding to expand strategies.
In Nebraska, Kristal launched their working lands program focused on the Denton Hills tallgrass prairie surrounding Spring Creek Prairie. She forged a strategic partnership with the Center for Resilience in Working Agricultural Landscapes and secured funding to collaboratively expand their working lands strategy in eastern Nebraska which focuses on supporting landowner cross-fence collaboration with emphasis on facilitating prescribed fire. Kristal supported her team’s effort of growing their tribal partnerships through the Plants for Birds initiative to collaborate on indigenous programming and events.
Kristal is also responsible for two nature centers, Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center and Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary where education, bird conservation and habitat enhancement are elevated. Kristal organized and now serves as past chair of the Nebraska Conservation Roundtable, which represents 24 conservation organizations and serves to educate decision-makers about pressing threats. She is a board member of the Nebraska Master Naturalist Program, Rainwater Basin Joint Venter, and the Playa Lakes Joint Venture.
Prior to Audubon, Kristal served as the Wildlife Diversity Program Manager at the Game and Parks Commission where she implemented the State Wildlife Action Plan to conserve at-risk species by developing and coordinating initiatives across multiple divisions, landscapes and public and private partnerships. Kristal is an adjunct professor in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and holds a MS in Ecology, Evolution, and Animal Behavior from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and a B.S. in Biology from Nebraska Wesleyan University.