Thursday, July 29, 2010


David Yarnold To Join Audubon September 1

New York, NY, July 29, 2010 - EMBARGOED UNTIL 2PM ET ---The National Audubon Society today announced that David Yarnold has been named its new President and Chief Executive Officer, giving new momentum to efforts to connect people with nature and their power to protect it. A passionate conservationist, Yarnold currently serves as Executive Director of Environmental Defense Fund and President of Environmental Defense Action Fund. Prior to that, he was a Pulitzer Prize-winning editor at the San Jose Mercury News.

"David brings proven leadership in the for-profit and non-profit sectors to Audubon at a time when efforts to protect birds, habitats and the resources that sustain us are needed more than ever;" said Holt Thrasher, Audubon's Board Chair. "His leadership ability, his passion for conservation and grassroots action, his communications skills and his organizational expertise all make him the perfect fit for the Audubon of 2010 and beyond."

"David is a boundary-crosser, the kind of flexible thinker and values-based executive that a complex conservation and fundraising landscape demands right now," Thrasher said. "He shares Audubon's traditional passion for birds and its visionary understanding that helping people to protect them will safeguard our own future as well. I have no doubt that David will lead Audubon in expanding its reach to new audiences and elevating its conservation successes to new heights."

Yarnold has been at EDF since April 2005, where he is responsible for all operations, from programs, to development and marketing/communications. He helped expand EDF's innovative corporate partnerships work, focused on EDF's international programs, particularly in China, and helped the organization grow from $52M to $117M in revenue. He is also President of the organization's Action Fund, its political action arm.

"Audubon's mission has never been more relevant. From the grassroots to state houses to national and regional policy, its wingspan is unparalleled," Yarnold said. "I'm excited by the opportunity to work with a nationwide network of Audubon Chapters and Audubon Centers that combine local concern, knowledge and action to equal conservation that makes a difference on a grand scale. It will be an honor to lead an organization whose name has meant 'trust' and 'conservation achievement' for more than a hundred years."

Yarnold's San Jose Mercury News was consistently ranked as one of America's 10 Best Newspapers. His paper was called, "America's Boldest Newspaper" by a panel of international judges. During his time in San Jose, the Mercury News was widely recognized for its commitment to diversity and for its in-depth coverage of technology. He was also one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists for editorial writing in 2005.

"For me, going to Audubon is like going home. Community-based education and action that breeds broader changes has always been engaging and rewarding for me and those are the things Audubon does best," Yarnold said.

He will assume the Presidency of Audubon on Sept 1.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Exploring the Jungle of Panama- Part 3

Every day spent in Panama was filled with tremendous fun and adventure as well as A LOT of sweat, as anyone who has birded or visited the tropics can tell you. Generally when birding, it is best to venture out in the early, EARLY morning, remain indoors or near a pool for the afternoon hours which are often scorching, and then depart for some late-evening hikes in search of animals. When available, night tours are usually productive and worthwhile since a large portion of wildlife is active at night which inlcude many spectacular things such as owls, an array of insects, caimans, kinkajous, oppossums, nightjars, felids, and in Panama, night monkeys! When I disembarked on one of the night tours that the hotel offered, I didn't know exactly what to expect. Although there were no sightings of jaguars or night monkeys, we did get exceptional views of Common Pauraques(a species of nightjar), Oppossums, Spectacled Caimans, nine-foot American Crocodiles, fist-sized Tarantulas, Bats, and Capybara, the largest rodents in the world reaching a size of four feet.

We engaged in other activities as well. It was nice meeting a couple from the states, Jim and Arlene, and a man that tagged along with them named Larry. Of course when I met them, the only english-speaking birders around, I wanted to share my experiences with them. And as I did, they exchanged some of their wonderful sightings. Turns out, they were staying during the same time frame as my dad and I. Since we all bonded and liked each other, we decided it was only natural to go birding together. And birding we did. We traversed the rainforest, grasslands, and marshes sprinkled on the grounds of Gamboa. We picked up some fascinating creatures. Everywhere we turned there were animals, each one different in their own way. With my young, keen eyes and intuitive knowledge of tropical fauna and their awesome sense of humor and stamina, we ticked off 165 species of birds in a 8 day window. Now that number can be viewed in two different ways: high and low. Low in comparison to dogged birders traveling across the isthmus of Panama in hopes of ticking off as many species as possible from the high-altitude cloud forests to the humid rainforests of the lowlands and everything in between; and high in comparison to people who just manage to escape to a paradise like Panama and passively watch the birds. I could be placed in the middle. Although checking off the variety of birds was great, I did not just cross it off my list and move on, but rather studied their intriguing behavior and admired their mesmerizing plumages.

From every aspect you could possibly look, Panama is astounding. Anyone visiting this amazing country would leave happy because they can participate in practically every single hobby enjoyed by Homo sapiens. The multitude of tourists in the country can include but is no way limited to rugged hikers, mountain climbers, surfers, sport fishermen, birders, herpers, scenic-enthusiasts, ecotourists, researchers, and night-lifers. People like you can enjoy the myriad activities offered in Panama like the ones listed above by consulting your local travel agent. I was lucky enough to experience this dream-of-a-country for eight days. Now it's your time to get out and inquire more about Panama. Maybe in the near-future you can, too, enjoy the luxury of this stupendous country!

If you haven't already, read Parts 1 and 2 of my Exploration of Panama.
Also, feel free to have a look at the entire album of my Panama Pics by clicking the link below.