Maine Audubon announced Friday that its executive director will leave in January after less than a year with the Falmouth-based environmental group.

Ole Amundsen III said his resignation was a “very difficult” decision based on quality of life. He’s been making a 2½-hour round trip daily from his home in Waterville on Interstate 95 and an increasingly congested Interstate 295 – a commute that contributed to a very busy year professionally and personally.

“(It’s) the right move for me and my family,” Amundsen said of his resignation in a statement.

Maine Audubon hired Amundsen in January and he started in March, bringing more than 25 years of experience in conservation leadership, planning and finance, including eight years with The Conservation Fund, a national land trust.

During his brief tenure with Maine Audubon, Amundsen oversaw critical financial and legal reviews, planning and restoration of the organization’s sanctuaries and upgrades to internal systems and processes.

“Many leaders have made important and valuable contributions to Maine Audubon over its 173-year history,” said Jerry King, president of Maine Audubon’s board of trustees.

“Ole has earned his place among their ranks and the board thanks him for his service.”

The board has tapped Deputy Director Andy Beahm, himself a former board member and chairman, to serve as acting director during the search for a new executive director in the coming year.

Beahm joined Maine Audubon’s staff in August after 34 years at L.L. Bean, where he held various executive positions, including assistant treasurer, director of strategic planning and vice president of business transformation.

Beahm also has served leadership roles with several other nonprofits, including Portland Nordic, Greater Portland Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Cancer Community Center, where he is board chairman.

“We are fortunate to have Andy ready and well-prepared to step in,” King said.

“We look forward to working with him and the dedicated Maine Audubon staff on the important work ahead.”

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