Mary Ellen’s contributions to the Amos Butler Audubon Society span 30 years and include serving as a board member, corresponding secretary, newsletter editor, leading advocacy campaigns, championing the conservation “telephone tree” prior to electronic mail, authoring numerous letters to decision makers, and offering her skills in writing and editing. Of course, most Audubon members may know Mary Ellen from her role as the Birdathon’s International Projects Coordinator, a role she has held since the Birdathon commenced in 1987.
Mary Ellen Gadski is enthusiastic in her drive to “think globally, act locally.” While “local” usually means Indianapolis for MaryEllen herself, she knows that, for neotropical birds, “local” refers to more than one location. Being good stewards means that we need to consider not only the habitat here in Indiana that birds use during migration and breeding, but also the areas where they spend the winter. Mary Ellen has been instrumental in evaluating and recommending suitable Birdathon habitat protection projects in Central and South America, where the Amos Butler Audubon Society has protected approximately 2,000 acres of land. Since 2005, she has worked closely with the American Bird Conservancy on protecting land in Colombia that benefits Cerulean Warblers, among other species.