Audubon Florida News

Audubon Mourns the Passing of John C. Ogden

posted on April 2, 2012 in Chapters,Everglades,Everglades Science

In some sad news, former National Audubon Society Director of Ornithology John C. Ogden passed away over the weekend. John worked for Audubon twice – In 1974 he began a 14-year stint as National Audubon’s senior research biologist and director of the Ornithological Research Unit in Tavernier. There he conducted long-term ecological studies of wetland vertebrates while overseeing NAS’s national avian research programs in Maine, New York, Florida, Texas, and California.

Ogden spent the first half of the 1980s in California, where he co-directed the California Condor Research and Recovery Program for NAS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. From 1988 to 1995, he was senior research scientist for the National Park Service at Everglades National Park, serving on multi-agency technical planning teams dealing with Everglades restoration. He signed on with the SFWMD in 1995, working as the senior ecosystem restoration scientist for twelve years and incorporating science and the concept of adaptive management into Everglades restoration planning.  He returned in 2007 to Audubon as Director of Bird Conservation for Audubon of Florida. There John shifted Audubon’s approach to Everglades restoration toward ecological results. He used his position to make the case to state and federal agencies that a new ecological approach to Everglades restoration planning was needed.

Audubon of Florida Executive Director Eric Draper said, “John Ogden’s love of birds and the Everglades and his commitment to science influenced everyone he worked with.  His passion and approach will not be forgotten.


  1. John Ogden’s dedication to wildlife was a gift to all Floridians. We could never thank him enough in life, and now mourn his passing.

    Comment by Sanne Collins — April 2, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

  2. the birds have lost a great friend, and I have too

    Comment by Paul Gray — April 2, 2012 @ 7:21 pm

  3. John was an inspiration to me as a young wading bird ecologist in Florida. He always had good advice and a kind word. I will miss him.

    Comment by Stefani Melvin — April 2, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

  4. The Everglades and all of us miss him greatly.

    Comment by Nick Aumen — April 2, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

  5. John taught me much about the Everglades that he knew so well.  He will be missed. His legacy will live on. 

    Comment by Susan Bullock Sylvester — April 2, 2012 @ 11:16 pm

  6. A great loss to all who care about restoration of our ecosystems.

    Comment by Pete Quasius — April 3, 2012 @ 6:53 am

  7. John’s passion for birds and the Everglades was contagious. The warmth with which he shared his knowledge was admirable, and the way in which he found every bird–no matter how many times he’d seen it–just as beautiful as the first is something we can all learn from. He will not be forgotten.

    Comment by Megan Tinsley — April 3, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

  8. John inspired and mentored a generation. His vision of a renewed Everglades and his unrelenting commitment to science will find voice through others for years to come. We’ve lost a hero and a friend, but the arrow of his life still flies.

    Comment by Lorraine Heisler — April 3, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

  9. John was respected by everyone – and that’s saying a lot. He was a great human being with a wonderful personality. I never heard anyone say anything except the very highest praise for John. I will miss him.
    Gene Duncan

    Comment by Gene Duncan — April 3, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

  10. John Is an inspiration . . . A conservation mind ahead of his time . . . An extraordinary bird scientist . . . A restoration confidant . . . A kind, dedicated, and passionate soul . . . A man of conviction . . . A friend who made my life richer . . .

    Rest in peace John . . . Soar high with the stork in the Everglades sky . . .


    Comment by Paul Souza — April 3, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

  11. It is not possible to think of the Everglades without thinking of John. He is one of the best human beings I’ve met. I’m thankful for his conversations, his presence, and his example and will miss him.

    Comment by Shawn Komlos — April 3, 2012 @ 10:02 pm

  12. Forever grateful for the privilege to have known John as a mentor and a friend. He taught me so much about Everglades ecology and importance of restoration of the key, defining characteristics that make the Everglades unique in the world. His commitment to scientific rigor and principles have forged the basis for Everglades restoration efforts that have had implications nationwide. His legacy and approach to restoration will continue to shape our future if we are to ensure sustainable ecosystems amongst the built environment. A gentle giant, who greatly enriched my life and whose legacy will continue to be an inspiration.

    Comment by Kimberley Taplin — April 4, 2012 @ 12:56 am

  13. Dr. Ogden will be greatly missed, but his soul will always walk among the Everglades.

    Comment by Adele Mauney — April 4, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

  14. John was a true protector of the everglades and a sincere advocate for its preservation. He will be truly missed.

    Comment by John R. Adams — April 4, 2012 @ 8:44 pm

  15. John was a Naturalist, Scientist, and Birder combined. He was also a pleasure to be around. He will be missed.

    Comment by Joe Carroll — April 5, 2012 @ 9:18 am

  16. When you find that you can’t talk to a friend and colleague again, you realize how precious the times were when you could. I will miss John immeasurably.

    Comment by Tom Lodge — April 5, 2012 @ 9:28 am

  17. he was inspired and inspiring… working w/ John Ogden gave a whole new meaning to environmental conservation for me. you will be greatly missed JCO.

    Comment by vicky johnston — April 6, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

  18. I had the great honor of working with John on the Condor Project in 1982, fresh out of grad school. He was a great inspiration to my and I admired his tireless dedication to saving this endangered species. My heartfelt condolences to Mary Ann and the rest of his family.

    Comment by Joe Russin — April 8, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.