For Birds Forever

Honoring Chris Leahy's 45 Years of Leadership in Bird Conservation

For Birds Forever campaign banner, Meadowlark © Phil Brown
Meadowlark © Phil Brown

The appreciation and protection of birdlife have been core principles of Mass Audubon since its founding in 1896. Today, we are asking for your support to celebrate the career of Chris Leahy as he retires after a 45-year tenure of impact and success at Mass Audubon.

Your gift, pledge, or planned legacy gift will help ensure the vibrant future of birds in Massachusetts and beyond.

Chris Leahy

The Bertrand Chair & Endowment

The Bertrand Chair of Natural History and Field Ornithology was established to honor Gerard A. Bertrand, who served as President from 1980 to 1998.

The Chair celebrates Bertrand’s professional career, deep love of the natural world, and tireless and effective work to ensure the preservation of birdlife for future generations.

  • The Bertrand Chair Charter directly reflects Jerry’s convictions and conservation ethic.
  • The Bertrand Chair Endowment reflects Mass Audubon’s historical commitment to bird conservation, a commitment that is confirmed in its Strategic Plan 2020 and advanced by the Chair’s charter in perpetuity.

bobolink © Shawn Carey
bobolink © Shawn Carey

The Bertrand Chair Today

Christopher W. Leahy was chosen as the first holder of the Bertrand Chair on the strength of his unique combination of expertise, credibility, creativity, and passion for conservation. 

During his tenure, Leahy focused on advancing the Chair’s key mandates and supporting Mass Audubon through broad participation in sanctuary programs, playing an active role in projects of the Bird Conservation and Ecological Management units, contributing to organizational initiatives such as the recent strategic planning process, promoting Mass Audubon in the media, and fundraising.

Baltimore Oriole © Richard Johnson, Mass Audubon
Baltimore Oriole © Richard Johnson, Mass Audubon

The Bertrand Chair Tomorrow

An endowed position in conservation allows for long-range visioning, a consistent agenda, and a healthy amount of experimentation. Since its creation, the Chair has laid a foundation for an increasingly powerful, comprehensive focus on the conservation of birds and bird habitat at Mass Audubon.

The next occupant of the Chair will build on the initiatives described previously but will also be encouraged to seek new opportunities and to develop new programs, such as:

  • Establishing a permanent International Intern Program, bringing promising young people from all over the world to study Mass Audubon’s many approaches to conservation, with special emphasis on birds.
  • Expanding the International Certificate Program in Bird Ecology to other countries as the Certificate Program in Bird Ecology and Conservation.
  • Enabling robust programs focusing on declining species and their habitats by developing new funding for increased staffing of the Bird Conservation unit.
  • Developing standardized curricula on birdlife and bird conservation in collaboration with the Education Department to be offered throughout the sanctuary system to staff as well as members.
  • Engaging new audiences in birding and bird conservation efforts through public speaking, dynamic programs, and birding festivals.
  • Working with the Museum of American Bird Art to maximize the dynamic connection between art and nature and bring new audiences into Mass Audubon’s sphere of influence.
  • Revitalizing a commitment to producing professional quality interpretive materials focusing on birds, birding, and bird conservation, with special emphasis on digital media.

Please make your gift today to strengthen our work in bird conservation and honor Chris Leahy.

More Information

To learn more about how you can help, please contact:

Mass Audubon
Development Department
[email protected]