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Dr. Madhavi Colton Takes Helm of Audubon California

Veteran conservationist brings a wealth of experience protecting marine and coastal ecosystems.


(Oakland, Calif., Jan. 11, 2023)—The National Audubon Society announced today that it has hired Dr. Madhavi Colton as vice president and executive director of its California office, Oakland-based Audubon California. 

Colton brings deep expertise in conservation and science. Throughout her career, she has used her scientific knowledge and insights into human nature to achieve lasting, measurable conservation outcomes for communities and ecosystems around the world. For the past decade, she has worked with the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL), most recently as executive director. Prior to that, as CORAL’s conservation program director, she managed a large team spread across five countries, navigating different cultures and languages to implement locally appropriate conservation solutions. While at California Ocean Science Trust, she led the development of monitoring programs for the emerging California marine protected area network. In a charged socio-political environment, she brought policymakers, environmentalists, scientists, and resource managers and users to common ground. 

"I'm thrilled to join the Audubon California flock and am looking forward to continuing to grow our exceptional programs that are helping birds both in California and along the Pacific Flyway,” said Colton. “This is a natural fit for me: Audubon California works to protect a wide variety of coastal and inland ecosystems that birds depend on, from beds of eelgrass that allow forage fish to spawn in San Francisco Bay to restoring a tidal marsh at the mouth of Sonoma Creek to protecting Central Valley wetlands for migratory shorebirds.” 

 “Dr. Colton is the right leader for Audubon California at this critical time for birds, habitats, and communities,” said Suzanne Dixon, senior vice president, flyways for the National Audubon Society. “California has a long history of leading the way in conservation, and we know this will continue with Madhavi’s energy and vision. We are fortunate to have her.” 

 Colton received her PhD in marine ecology from the University of Melbourne, Australia. She lives in Berkeley. 

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Jason Howe,; 415-595-9245 

About Audubon  
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety. 


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