Ellie Cohen has served as President and CEO of PRBO Conservation Science since 1999. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Ms. Cohen received her undergraduate degree with honors in Botany (focus on ecology) from Duke University. Field studies in butterfly ecology brought her to California in 1979.
She later received her Master in Public Policy degree from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, where she was honored with the Policy Analysis Exercise Award for highly distinguished performance and the first annual Robert F. Kennedy Public Service Award. In 2001, she was awarded a fellowship to Stanford University’s Executive Program for Non-profit Leaders at the Graduate School of Business.
Ellie co-founded and now chairs the Bay Area Ecosystem Climate Change Consortium, bringing together scientists and natural resource managers to cooperatively conserve nature’s benefits in the face of accelerating extremes, for wildlife and our communities. Ellie is an invited member of the National Wildlife Federation’s Climate-Smart Conservation Team and serves as Vice Chair of the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative. She is also incoming Chair of the Central Valley Joint Venture and an Executive Committee member of the SF Bay Joint Venture.
Ellie is the recipient of the BayNature 2012 Local Environmental Hero Award for Conservation Advocacy. As Ellie explained, “This award truly belongs to PRBO’s outstanding staff and Board leaders as well as many of our partners! It is a team effort!”
In 2009 she was named one of the "100 Women Taking the Lead to Save Our Planet" in the United States as part of National Women’s History Month, recognizing her contributions to catalyzing conservation solutions to the impacts of rapidly accelerating environmental change on nature.
Ellie speaks regularly on climate change, ecosystems and adaptive solutions that benefit wildlife as well as human communities. She is an invited keynote speaker in the session on “Integrating Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation” at the July, 2012 Society for Conservation Biology North American Congress to be held in Oakland, California. Among her many honors, Ellie was an invited plenary speaker at the west coast-wide “Climate Change, Coastal Resources and Natural Resources Management” conference sponsored by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Geological Survey in 2009, an invited keynote speaker at the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project in 2008 and an invited member of the Policy Advisory Committee of UCLA's Evolutionary Change in Human-altered Environments International Summit in 2007. Ellie was also an invited participant in The Climate Project trainings in Nashville, TN in January of 2007 with former Vice President Al Gore.
Click here to view a presentation on climate change and adaptation Ellie gave as part of a training for the California Department of Fish and Game in March 2012.
Click here to read an interview with Ellie by Birding Magazine in May 2012.
Ellie and her family live in San Anselmo, California.