Norman Bird Sanctuary names Kaity Ryan new Executive Director

Midtown Oyster Bar

The Norman Bird Sanctuary announced to friends and followers on Wednesday that they have appointed a new Executive Director.

The announcement

The Norman Bird Sanctuary Board of Directors announced the appointment of Kaity Ryan as the organization’s new Executive Director. Beginning September 9th, Ryan will lead the nonprofit’s mission in wildlife habitat conservation and environmental education.

Kaity Ryan is a passionate preservation and conservation advocate. She brings extensive experience in nonprofit management to Norman Bird Sanctuary. Most recently, Ryan served as Deputy Chief of Staff for The Preservation Society of Newport County where she oversaw the organization’s policy and advocacy efforts for seven years.

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During that time, Ryan led the effort to improve the resiliency of one of Rhode Island’s most significant cultural landscapes, “Paradise Valley,” by raising $1.2 million to bury 1.5 miles of coastal utility lines adjacent to Second Beach in collaboration with several nonprofits, a private foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and municipal leaders.

A certified architectural historian with a master’s degree in Historic Preservation from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Ryan has lectured widely on the intersection of historic preservation and conservation. In 2018, she was appointed by the Governor of Rhode Island to the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission. She also serves on the Board of the Aquidneck Land Trust and the Town of Smithfield Zoning Board.  

“This is an exciting time for Norman Bird Sanctuary. An incredible depth of long-range planning now guides every aspect of our work to protect this special place,” said Anne Howell, chair of the board. “Kaity’s background in operations management and conservation, and in her depth of knowledge about this particular landscape, makes her uniquely qualified to lead the organization forward. She literally wrote the book on Middletown’s Paradise Valley.”

“Norman Bird Sanctuary plays a critical role in the natural and cultural ecosystem of Aquidneck Island. I am honored and delighted to lead the organization as Executive Director alongside the dedicated staff team and Board of Directors,” said Ryan.

Ryan will take over for Interim Executive Director and Board member Patricia Galuska who has served in the role since the departure of Natasha Harrison in April.

About Norman Bird Sanctuary:

Norman Bird Sanctuary is a 325-acre non-profit wildlife refuge and environmental education center featuring seven miles of hiking trails in Middletown, Rhode Island. Its mission is to preserve and protect its native habitats for the benefit of the environmental and to provide environmental education programs for learners of all ages.

Dear Friend of NBS,

On behalf of Norman Bird Sanctuary’s Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that the Board has appointed a new Executive Director. Kaity Ryan will take on the role effective September 10th.

Kaity has most recently served as Deputy Chief of Staff for The Preservation Society of Newport County, where she has overseen policy and advocacy efforts for the last seven years. She brings extensive experience in conservation and nonprofit management to her leadership of Norman Bird Sanctuary’s mission of habitat protection and environmental education.

In her time at The Preservation Society of Newport County, Kaity led the effort to improve the resiliency of one of Rhode Island’s most significant cultural landscapes, “Paradise Valley,” by raising $1.2 million to bury 1.5 miles of coastal utility lines adjacent to Second Beach in collaboration with several nonprofits, a private foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and municipal leaders.
Kaity is a certified architectural historian with a master’s degree in Historic Preservation from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. She has lectured widely on the intersection of historic preservation and conservation. In 2018, she was appointed by the Governor of Rhode Island to the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission. She also serves on the Board of the Aquidneck Land Trust and the Town of Smithfield Zoning Board.

Kaity joins Norman Bird Sanctuary at a time of record success in educational programming and unprecedented achievements in both planning and implementing stewardship for the natural and cultural resources in our care. We are grateful for your support for this special place and look forward to being in touch about opportunities to welcome Kaity Ryan in person this fall.

Best regards,

Anne Howell
Chair, Board of Directors


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