Audubon New York Selects Erin Crotty as New Executive Director

Former DEC Commissioner becomes first woman to lead NY’s largest bird conservation organization

Erin Crotty
Published: Mar 15, 2013
Albany, NY - 
Audubon New York, the 50,000 member state program of the National Audubon Society, announced today that Erin Crotty will become the organization's Vice President and Executive Director and first woman leader, ushering in a new era of conservation for Audubon's leading state program. Ms. Crotty, who was the first woman to lead the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), currently directs Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's (RPI) State and Community Relations program.

"We are delighted that Audubon will be the beneficiary of Erin's vast experience and enthusiasm for conservation," said Alex Zagoreos, Chairman of Audubon New York's Board of Directors. "Her knowledge of New York's environment and impeccable leadership skills will be instrumental in advancing our goals to protect the birds of the Atlantic Flyway, and we have no doubt that Audubon New York's future is in good hands."

Audubon's mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats, for the benefit of humanity and the Earth's biological diversity. Audubon New York achieves this mission by engaging people in bird conservation through science, policy, education, and on-the-ground conservation action. Through an extensive grassroots network including a staff of more than 30 professionals, 8 Audubon Centers and Sanctuaries, and 27 local Audubon Chapters, the organization has been leading the charge to advance sustainable solutions to the state's most pressing environmental problems, and continuing to educate future generations on the importance of protecting birds and the environment.

"Erin brings a deep knowledge base -- along with her reputation for being relentless in pursuit of conservation solutions," said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold. "And those are just the qualities Audubon New York needs right now. She'll find a terrific staff and a committed board, and we see nothing but upside for an environmental entrepreneur like Erin."

With experience in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors, Ms. Crotty brings decades of experience to Audubon New York. A recognized leader in the environmental field, Ms. Crotty

was Commissioner of DEC from 2001-2005, leading a professional staff of over 3,300 and managing an annual budget of approximately $1 billion. During her tenure, Ms. Crotty led the first in the nation eleven state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), to develop a cap and trade program for carbon dioxide emissions, which is now a national model. In addition, Ms. Crotty oversaw the largest land conservation agreement to protect more than 260,000 acres of former International Paper property in the Adirondacks. After years of inaction, Erin helped craft the Superfund/Brownfields Law of 2003, and developed and led the integrated business, public, and legislative strategy that led to the law's successful passage. While Director of Special Environmental Projects for Governor Pataki, Erin led the negotiations of the historic New York City Watershed Agreement.

Ms. Crotty was recognized on numerous occasions for her conservation leadership, including with the New York State Bar Association's Environmental Law Section award, Audubon's Long Island Sound Guardian Award, and she was profiled in the National Journal's May 2004 Special Report for her work to combat climate change. Ms. Crotty holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Russell Sage College and a Master of Science in Urban and Environmental Studies from RPI. Ms. Crotty is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of Emma Willard School, her alma mater, and resides in Rensselaer County with her family.

"I am honored to lead Audubon New York at a time of tremendous growth and opportunity," said Erin Crotty. "Audubon's strategic plan is an audacious and inspiring call to action for hemispheric conservation of migratory flyways. I am looking forward to working with the talented and dedicated Audubon staff, unparalleled network of centers, sanctuaries, chapters, members, and partners to build on Audubon New York's impressive conservation track record in new and creative ways for the protection of Atlantic Flyway birds," Crotty continued. "I want to thank the Audubon New York Board of Directors and Audubon President and CEO, David Yarnold, for their vision, leadership, and confidence in me to take the reins of Audubon's leading state program. I also would like to thank Al Caccese for his outstanding leadership of Audubon New York. I am excited about the important work ahead," Crotty concluded.

Ms. Crotty, who will begin work in early April, is replacing outgoing Executive Director Albert E. Caccese, who announced his retirement earlier this year after ten years with Audubon New York. Mr. Cacccese joined Audubon New York in February, 2003 as Director of Conservation and Government Relations and became Executive Director in 2007, succeeding founding Director David J. Miller.

"It has been an honor and privilege to lead what I think is the most effective bird conservation organization in New York State," said Caccese. "Audubon New York has an extremely talented staff, an incredible Board of Directors, and a powerful grassroots base and I can't think of anyone more capable than Erin to lead and grow this dynamic organization."

To arrange interviews with Audubon staff or Ms. Crotty, please contact Sean Mahar at 518-669-1768 or

Audubon New York, the 50,000 member State program of the National Audubon Society, is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitats that supports them. Our national network of community-based nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in positive conservation experiences.

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