Joe Liebezeit joined Portland Audubon in 2013 as staff scientist and avian conservation manager, and possesses a master’s degree in wildlife management. Prior to his position with Portland Audubon, Joe worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society, leveraging on-the-ground science efforts to protect wildlife in the Alaskan Arctic. During his 10 years here, Joe has grown the coastal marine program at Portland Audubon: he helped establish west-coast-wide protections for forage fish species (important prey for seabirds), facilitated the designation of eight rocky habitat protection areas, and worked to uplist the Marbled Murrelet from threatened to endangered under Oregon’s Endangered Species Act. Additionally, he has built a statewide community science program coordinating with over 300 volunteers from the coast to the Portland Metro Region. These community science efforts help support the benefit of habitat restoration to wildlife in the Portland area, contribute to the recovery of the endangered western Snowy Plover, and help minimize impacts on the Black Oystercatcher, a species of conservation concern. Joe represents statewide conservation on the Ocean Policy Advisory Council, which provides the governor with recommendations on management of our state waters.
In Joe’s interim role, he will be leading Portland Audubon’s statewide conservation and policy efforts, including maintaining his leadership on coastal conservation initiatives and overseeing our eastern Oregon work, statewide forest initiatives, and other relevant work across Oregon. He will continue to oversee the community science program but will be delegating much of that work to our very competent staff.
Micah Meskel came to Portland Audubon in 2010 as a volunteer in the Wildlife Care Center, where he immediately got hooked by the innovative Living with Wildlife conservation program that proactively resolves conflicts with wild animals who share our urban landscape. He transitioned to staff in 2012 and worked in numerous roles within the conservation department and Wildlife Care Center before stepping into his most recent role with Portland Audubon’s Activist Program as its manager in 2018. He has been instrumental in supporting the department’s ambitious conservation agenda by connecting the organization’s members, activists, and broader community to advocacy opportunities. In addition, he has led his own portfolio of urban policy campaigns and on-the-ground collaborative conservation projects, and has represented Portland Audubon in countless community-based coalitions. Micah’s experience in multiple roles throughout the organization over more than a decade gives him insight into how inter- and intradepartmental collaboration is instrumental to Portland Audubon’s success, and it has helped inform his conservation campaign and program development.
In Micah’s interim role, he will be leading Portland Audubon’s urban conservation policy and advocacy agenda, managing programmatic staff who oversee the Backyard Habitat Certification Program (co-led with partner Columbia Land Trust), the BirdSafe and Lights Out programs, and the Wildlife Care Center.
Joe and Micah are excited about heading up the conservation program as we search for new leadership to continue our 120-year conservation legacy. They look forward to building on the extraordinary work that Bob Sallinger accomplished during his 30 years at Portland Audubon, as well as the work of the entire conservation team, all of which places us at the forefront of Oregon’s conservation efforts.