Thank you for your leadership, Gail Gatton!

It is with deep gratitude that Audubon Washington honors Gail Gatton, our Vice President and Executive Director, who retired on September 1st, 2019.

Over the last 14 years, Gail Gatton has taken Audubon to new heights in Washington, first as the founding director of the Seward Park Audubon Center and then as the state director who galvanized our incredible statewide chapter network into a powerful bipartisan voice for birds. 

“Gail’s leadership transformed Audubon’s work in Washington. She built Seward Park from the ground up and made it a model of inclusivity where everyone feels welcome and invested in our work,” said David Yarnold, President and CEO of the National Audubon Society.  “Gail resuscitated a struggling state office and with laser-like focus she set our sights on winning a state-wide 100% clean energy policy – that bill’s passage this spring is a well-earned capstone to her career as a conservation advocate. Thank you Gail for all your work on behalf of birds, conservation, and Audubon.” 

As Chair of the Audubon Washington Board of Directors, I’m incredibly proud of the work we have done with Gail’s guidance. Together under her leadership, we

  • Stopped the use of pesticides in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, an area of hemispheric importance for migrating shorebirds. We continue to work with decision-makers and the local community to identify solutions for a sustainable shellfish industry.
  • Stepped out and supported policies to address climate change, both at the ballot and in the legislature, culminating with legislation passed this year to put Washington on a path to 100% clean electricity.
  • Introduced tens of thousands of youth and adults to birds and what they tell us about the health of our environment. 
  • Completed a multi-year volunteer survey of songbirds in eastern Washington that covered a million acres of public and private lands, and provided information that will be critical for siting of renewable energy in this sagebrush landscape.
  • Engaged a network that is 35,000 strong and 25 local chapters deep in taking actions to protect birds and their habitats, from speaking up at hearings, writing letters to the editor, restoring habitat values, and contacting elected officials.

Thanks to Gail, Audubon Staff, and our grassroots supporters, these victories have propelled Audubon Washington as a leader for bird conservation, and we are excited to carry on the work of protecting birds and the places they need, today and in the future.  

We have begun the search for the next leader of Audubon in Washington. In the interim, Charley Wilkinson, our talented development director, will take the reins guiding our work in the state. 

With gratitude,

Doug Santoni

Board Chair

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