by Max Brantley
After nine years of outstanding conservation leadership, Ken Smith is leaving his post as Executive Director of Audubon Arkansas and Vice President of the National Audubon Society.
Ken joined Audubon in March 2001. As Executive Director, he led Audubon Arkansas in building the new Audubon Center in Little Rock and in creating a statewide system of Important Bird Areas (IBA) including Little River Bottoms, the IBA where Audubon for the past three years has been fighting the construction of the John W. Turk coal-fired plant in Hempstead County. He and the Audubon Arkansas State Board of Directors also played a major role in saving the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas development. And, in the last few years, he led conservation efforts in Arkansas to develop climate and energy policies at the state and federal levels. He is most proud of the work by his staff to reach children and educators all over Arkansas with community-based environmental education through Audubon Arkansas’s Common Ground Initiative.
He will leave Audubon March 26 and plans to spend time playing with his three grandchildren and catching up on several projects, and then assessing what he would like to take on next. Ken wishes to leave his Audubon colleagues with this message. “I love the Audubon story, its history of conservation achievements, and the commitment of its employees. These nine years with you have been wonderful. Thank you.”
“Ken has led conservation with a tremendous record of contributions and commitment,” said Audubon President Frank Gill. “There is no doubt that he will be the author of conservation success stories yet to be written.”