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Portland Parks Foundation executive director leaving to head Audubon Society of Portland

By Andrew Theen
The Oregonian

Nick Hardigg is leaving the Portland Parks Foundation to head the Audubon Society of Portland.

Portland Parks Foundation executive director leaving to head Audubon Society of Portland

Nick Hardigg leaves Portland Parks Foundation for Audubon Society of Portland (Courtesy of Edis Jurcys Photography)

Nick Hardigg is leaving the Portland Parks Foundation to head the Audubon Society of Portland.

Hardigg spent four years as the executive director of the nonprofit parks foundation, which helps raise money for the Bureau of Parks & Recreation through private philanthropists and other partnerships.

His first day at the Audubon Society, the venerable protection and conservation charity with more than 100 years of advocacy work focusing on native birds and their habitat, is March 23.

Hardigg, who previously led the Alaska Conservation Foundation before leading the three-person staff of the parks foundation, called the new job a big promotion.

"They have a steady stream of success getting people engaged in nature, and a strong team is in place," Hardigg said. "My job is to help them continue that tradition."

The Audubon Society has 31 employees, dozens of seasonal educators and annual revenue of $5.7 million, according to the latest financial report.

Hardigg said he feels like the parks foundation, founded in 2001, is on firm footing -- citing the popular volunteer Parke Diem program and other initiatives.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who oversees the Parks Bureau, said she looks forward to working with Hardigg in his new position. "He was a key partner and leader in getting the Parks Bond passed last November. The Audubon Society is very fortunate to have Nick as their next Executive Director," Fritz said in a statement.

Hardigg said he believes the foundation should play a larger role in advocacy for parks, citing equity of access to parks and funding problems as top priorities. He said the new executive director should "continue our growth" and make the organization more visible.

Before his work in Alaska, Hardigg worked in finance for the Nature Conservancy in Oregon and as chief of tourism and concessions management at Grand Canyon National Park and Denali National Park, according to Audubon's website.

Hardigg graduated from Yale University with an MBA and received his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University.

The parks foundation plans to start a national search for a new executive director by the end of March.

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