Policy: From Midnight to Morning
Water: Drinking Problem
Interview With Holt Thrasher: He Means Business
Everglades: Off Again, On Again
Sea Life: Sub Plot
iPhone birding; spiritual energy; elk Casanova dies; more.
He Means Business
Meet Audubon’s new chair, B. Holt Thrasher.
Earlier this year the National Audubon Society’s board of directors elected B. Holt Thrasher to succeed the departing Carol Browner as chair. Thrasher, a successful businessman with more than a quarter-century of experience in investment banking and consulting, founded and now manages Mooreland Partners in Greenwich, Connecticut, where he lives with his wife, Juliet, son, Cameron, 11, and daughter, Annabel, 9. During the past decade he has served on the boards of Audubon Connecticut and National Audubon, while globetrotting 80,000 to 100,000 miles a year studying companies, primarily in the information technology field. When he’s not working, he is drawn to hundreds of kinds of animals, often through his impressive knowledge of their tracks. A big prize was a fresh jaguar paw print in Belize.
Have you always been interested in nature?
I grew up in Atlanta and spent my childhood running around in the woods. We had an enormous creek where we would catch everything. We were on a catch-and-release program from age three. I joined the Boy Scouts just to go on the camping trips. I was highly influenced by my father. He would drag us out as kids to field after field.
What’s your main goal for Audubon?
The current administration has a very broad recognition that we’re living on a planet smaller than most of us thought. This gives Audubon an opportunity to support biodiversity and habitat conservation more than ever. We have a large and devoted following oriented around fact-based bird conservation, as well as around a broader, science-based conservation agenda.
What challenges does Audubon face?
We have the benefit of a large grassroots network and multiple centers and chapters. The key for us now is resource management and focus. One of the benefits we have is a relatively strong balance sheet. We’re going to put as many resources as we can to make short-term conservation progress while continuing our membership’s long-term education. We can utilize the wide touch of the magazine, which has about 400,000 subscribers and a national readership four times that. This is balanced with a center or chapter where we may have a population of 700,000 to 800,000 living within 20 miles, and there may be 20,000 schoolchildren who visit over a 12-month period. What we really need to focus on is what we want to invest in. A growing avenue for Audubon will be e-based community development, advocacy, and media distribution strategies that will let us reach broader audiences more effectively.
What brings you the most pleasure in nature?
Probably my favorite thing in the world to do is to be out during the two-hour transition between night and day. It’s like the factory changeover point. All the nocturnal animals go home and sleep, and all the diurnal animals wake up and go out to work. And there’s a huge amount of traffic to enjoy.
You have a big interest in global warming. What’s the outlook?
This is what I call the great mammal problem: Humans are mammals, and they don’t change very easily. When they do it’s usually because of enormous incentives or enormous problems. My hope is that through greater education we’ll solve global warming through incentives, which means we’ll stay ahead of potentially disastrous curves.
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