The Puffin Man
Stephen W. Kress is Vice President for Bird Conservation for the National Audubon Society.
An expert in seabird conservation, Dr. Kress is also known as “The Puffin Man” because of his extraordinary success leading Audubon’s Project Puffin in Maine. Begun over three decades ago, the innovative restoration project has served as a model around the world for rebuilding colonies of seabirds. Steve Kress is also a prolific author, publishing several books with expert tips for creating bird-friendly habitats in your own backyard, bird houses and bird feeders, and garden landscaping.
Steve’s interest in nature began as a fourth-grader, and grew as he saw natural habitats near his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, being overcome by suburban development. In junior high school his interest in birds led to membership in Columbus Audubon, where he led field trips and lectured. Audubon camps introduced him to a variety of mentors, including artists, wildlife biologists and university professors, who not only inspired his teaching style but opened his eyes to the possibility of pursuing a career with wildlife and wild places. Through connections at Audubon, Steve was elected the youngest member of the Wheaton Club, a group of sage naturalists in central Ohio. One of his mentors was senior Wheaton member Irving Kassoy, a passionate birder and friend of Roger Tory Peterson, who later visited Dr. Kress on location in Maine.
In addition to his work as Director of the Audubon Seabird Restoration Program, Dr. Kress is an associate at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology where he developed and teaches a popular Spring Field Ornithology course.
A widely-respected ornithologist, Steve Kress has served on a multitude of committees and advisory groups, and has been selected for numerous conservation awards, fellowships and scholarships. He received his undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Wildlife Management from Ohio State University and his Ph.D. in Environmental Education from Cornell University. He lives with his wife, Elissa, and daughter on a 33-acre rural property near Ithaca, NY, but during the summers is based on Hog Island, Maine.