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. Kristal Stoner joined the National Audubon Society in 2018 as the Audubon Nebraska Executive Director and Vice President. Kristal’s leadership of the new Audubon Great Plains office will expand strategies between North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. Through her leadership at Audubon Nebraska, Kristal developed a strategic plan that included aligning state-level priorities with National Audubon Society’s conservation strategies, she forged multiple local and state partnerships, launched an internship program, and secured funding to expand their reach.
“My career and personal mission are dedicated to wildlife conservation,” said Kristal Stoner, Executive Director of Audubon Great Plains. “Audubon’s mission to protect birds inspires me. I grew up on a farm, and it’s important to me that my children and grandchildren can enjoy vast prairies and hear the buzzing call of a grasshopper sparrow just as I did. I’m eager to dive into a new chapter of conservation across the Great Plains. The Great Plains are known for great waterfowl migrations and iconic bird species like the Sandhill Cranes. They are also home to grassland birds that desperately need our help to conserve the prairies they call home. With the new regional office, our growing wingspan throughout the region will only strengthen Audubon’s influence, impact and ability to advocate for birds and the environment they need – for decades to come.”
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 grow their working lands initiatives which focus 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. Additionally, Kristal manages Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center and Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary where education, bird conservation and habitat enhancement are elevated.
“Kristal’s proven record of strategic planning is the perfect fit to coalesce Audubon Dakotas successful state-level efforts into the conservation plan needed to protect birds throughout their life cycle,” said Suzanne Dixon, Vice President of the Central Flyway of the National Audubon Society. “Kristal will lead an incredible team and develop and execute conservation policy, initiatives, and public programming. The Dakotas are critical to birds throughout the year, providing vital breeding, wintering, and migratory stopover habitats. Kristal brings years of experience in developing and stewarding several long-term strategies to develop skills to enrich collaborations with stakeholders and increase the impact of conservation outcomes, we’re thrilled to have her expertise and leadership at Audubon.