Audubon Nature Institute is a 501(c)3 not for profit that operates a family of ten museums and parks dedicated to nature. We serve our visitors, our community and our world as an educational resource, an environmental guardian, a leader in economic development and a venue for family entertainment. The success of the Audubon family lies within the individual strengths of its facilities. Working together, they are helping to create a bright future for generations to come.
Audubon Commission is, in effect, a board of trustees. Appointed to a six-year term by the Mayor with the consent of the City Council, the Commission is composed of 24 registered voters of the City of New Orleans.
The Audubon Nature Institute Board oversees Audubon Nature Institute, the 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation currently managing day to day operations for all of the Commission’s facilities through a management contract between the Board and the Audubon Commission.
The Audubon Nature Institute Foundation is a 501(c)3 support organization whose mission is to manage and increase the Audubon Nature Institute endowment while it provides additional operating revenues for Audubon’s facilities.
Audubon Nature Institute's purpose of Celebrating the Wonders of Nature is woven into our vision of creating a family of museums and parks dedicated to nature. This vision is fulfilled by eight objectives that support our mission:
The museums and parks Audubon Nature Institute operates on behalf of Audubon Commission include:
L. Ronald Forman, President and Chief Executive Officer
A past president of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, Ron Forman began his tenure with Audubon Park and Zoological Garden in 1972 as City Hall liaison. Made Deputy Director in 1973 and Executive Director in 1977, the major transformation of Audubon Zoo from an "urban ghetto" to an "urban Eden" was underway.
Today, Ron Forman oversees a family of attractions and facilities that make up the dynamic Audubon Nature Institute, leading a staff of 600 people in the Audubon mission of conservation and education.
Forman serves locally on the New Orleans Business Council, is Chairman of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District and the Immediate Past Chairman of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau. A past member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Museums, he is also on the Advisory Committee of Chimp Haven.
Audubon Nature Institute Senior Staff
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science and recreation. As part of AZA's mandatory accreditation process, AZA members like Audubon Nature Institute meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, veterinary care, wildlife conservation, scientific research, education, expert staffing and safety.
AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums—such as Audubon Zoo and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas—are leaders in the protection of endangered species. Twenty years ago, AZA established the Species Survival Plan Program™ (SSP), which is a long-term plan involving conservation breeding, habitat preservation, public education, field conservation, and supportive research to ensure survival for many of the planet's threatened and endangered species. Currently, AZA members are involved in 116 SSPs working on behalf of 172 species.
Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting an institution dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things.
In December 2015 Audubon Zoo received the AZA Quarter Century Award recognizing the Zoo’s 25 years of continuous accreditation. The award states “Audubon Zoo’s dedication to best modern zoological practices and philosophies is a hallmark of AZA accreditation, and we applaud your continuous commitment to uphold AZA standards and policies.”
Audubon Nature Institute is committed to transparency. As a successful example of the public/private partnership model, Audubon values its role as a steward of the public trust. A fiscally responsible 501(c)3 non-profit, Audubon Nature Institute is an enduring and ethical community partner which effectively manages its collection of attractions and facilities on behalf of Audubon Commission.
Audubon Nature Institute Board and Commission Manuals
Audubon Nature Institute's rating from Charity Navigator
Contact the Louisiana Legislative Auditor Hotline if you suspect the misappropriation, fraud, waste or abuse of public funds.
In 2005, Audubon Nature Institute launched a special community relations program designed specifically to engage minority/underserved residents in the New Orleans metropolitan area.
Since then, over 2.3 million minority/underserved visitors of all ages have experienced the wonders of nature through Audubon's family of parks and museums.
Through special partnerships with local businesses, schools, churches, health organizations and social service organizations, African American, Hispanic American and Asian American families are able to make life long connections to nature and enjoy family entertainment they would not otherwise be able to access.
Whether it be discounted field trips for underpriviledged schools, a health information booth at Soul Fest, a business expo for local minority owned businesses, a UNCF Walk for Education, or a citywide Easter Egg hunt, Audubon Nature Institute remains committed to the minority/underserved populations in our community.
Magic, wonder, connection—Audubon Nature Institute attractions inspire these feelings. Connection to nature; a sense of wonder at the incredible world around us; the magic of the continuing circle of life—each visit to an Audubon attraction is filled with all this.
Audubon's guests have grown to expect the sense of wonder that comes with the discovery of new and exciting features. These capital projects are important for a number of reasons. New features throughout Audubon Nature Institute generate visitation, which in turn generates revenue to keep Audubon at the leading edge of conservation, education and quality family attractions. New projects implement the latest in enrichment and technology, incorporating newest and best practices in management for Audubon's cherished collection of animals, many of which are critical to breeding programs to stem the tide of extinction. These projects also fuel the economy of our region, providing jobs and economic impact.
2017 Completed Projects:
Capital Projects in Construction:
Capital Projects Planned for the Future:
Audubon Nature Institute is a 501(c)3 not for profit that operates a family of museums and parks dedicated to nature. It has its roots in historic Audubon Park, a natural setting for family recreation since the 1800s, and Audubon Zoological Gardens, which evolved from a single flight cage built in 1916 to a 58-acre jewel ranking among the nation’s best zoos. Along the way, Audubon grew into a respected steward for economic leadership, conservation and environmental education.