Conservation leader becomes Audubon Arizona director

Sonia Perillo (submitted photo)

Sonia Perillo (submitted photo)

After an intensive year-long national search, Audubon Arizona’s new executive director is Scottsdale resident Sonia Perillo.

Ms. Perillo stepped into this position March 28. She most recently served as executive director of Desert Foothills Land Trust in the north Valley since 2009, according to a press release. She brings to her new position two decades of experience in environmental science, conservation, community engagement, and nonprofit leadership.

“We’re delighted to hire such an acclaimed leader who balances applied knowledge of the state and its challenges with a national profile,” stated Audubon Arizona Board of Directors Chair William Auberle, in the release. “Sonia brings a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit, plus the necessary depth, breadth, and creativity to take Audubon Arizona to its next level of excellence.”

Ms. Perillo worked as associate director and in progressively responsible positions over seven years at the Catawba Lands Conservancy in North Carolina, where she developed expertise in land protection and related issues. She has also served a variety of other conservation-related organizations as a consultant.

She serves on the boards of the Environmental Fund for Arizona, as well as the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, chairing its policy council. She was also named a member of the national Land Trust Alliance Leadership Council in 2012, the release stated.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife science from Purdue University. During her college years, she also participated in the establishment of a 1,000-acre habitat restoration project along the Lower Colorado River in Parker, Ariz.

“Audubon Arizona is clearly poised for growth and broader service to the state, so I’m delighted to have this wonderful opportunity,” Ms. Perillo stated in the release. “There are many strengths to build upon through continued team effort with the staff and volunteers.”

Ms. Perillo succeeds former Audubon Arizona Executive Director Sarah Porter, who now serves as Director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Arizona State University.

Audubon Arizona is a nonprofit organization that connects more than 15,000 people annually to nature using science, education, and advocacy, simultaneously protecting Arizona’s birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and earth’s biodiversity.  For more information visit

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