Meet Our New Director of Conservation and Science
Dr. Partridge on the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center green roof. Photo: NYC Audubon
MEET OUR NEW DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION AND SCIENCE
This article appears in the summer 2022 issue of The Urban Audubon.
By Dustin Partridge, PhD
We are happy to announce that Dustin Partridge, PhD, who has managed NYC Audubon’s green roof research over the past decade, recently became our new director of conservation and science. Read more about Dr. Partridge on our website at nycaudubon.org/our-staff.
Starting when I was about three years old, “Want to talk about birds and nocturnal animals?” was the first thing I would ask anyone I encountered. And to be honest, not much has changed since then! Although now I’m more likely to start conversations about ecological community formation, protecting rare birds, and engaging all New Yorkers in conservation, the drive is still the same. I love the natural world around us and I look forward to sharing this lifelong passion as the new director of conservation and science at NYC Audubon.
I have wanted to work in conservation from a young age, but never expected to be doing it in an urban setting. However, after spending some time traveling and working in remote areas as a young professional, my interest in urban ecology was sparked at a saltwater wetland in Queens, across the street from Alley Pond Park. As part of my work as a scientist at a consulting and engineering firm, I was involved in restoration of the site, which had been used as a dumping ground in the early 1900s, and since then had become dominated by invasive Phragmites australis.
Despite the marsh’s degraded state, I was blown away by its biodiversity—Black Skimmers, Monarchs, long-legged wading birds, Painted and Snapping Turtles, leafcutter bees. I started thinking critically about the ecological dynamics of urban green spaces—and how to protect, enhance, and create more of them. This interest led me to Fordham University for my biology doctorate researching wildlife use of green infrastructure, and eventually, to NYC Audubon.
I have been with NYC Audubon in various roles since 2014, starting with a then “pilot” study monitoring biodiversity at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center’s original green roof. Over time that pilot study has grown into one of the major pillars of NYC Audubon’s conservation efforts: Green Infrastructure. As the new director of conservation and science, I have a unique opportunity to join this incredible team of scientists, educators, and advocates in a new role, but with my own institutional knowledge. I am excited to further build the organization’s scientific research programming to support our important work: making New York City a safer place for birds, and protecting the critically important bird habitats that make the City unique.