Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Adirondack Council Seeks New Conservation Director

After five years as Director of Conservation for the Adirondack Council, John Davis will be leaving his post at the end of the year to commence a conservation project aimed at improving the wildlife habitat connections between the Atlantic, Appalachian and Adirondack landscapes.

Wildlife migration is gaining in importance as climate change alters the locations of suitable homes for many species of animals and plants.

Davis’s departure creates a job opening on the Program Team at the Adirondack Council, a leading environmental research, education and advocacy organization based in Elizabethtown. Founded in 1975, the Adirondack Council has fourteen full-time staff members.

“It saddens us to say goodbye to John Davis,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director Brian L. Houseal, who hired Davis in November, 2005, in a press release last week. “He is a highly valued member of our staff, a well-respected conservationist and national leader in the area of wildlife habitat connectivity. More than that, he has become part of our family here at the Council and we will miss his companionship and his sense of humor. We wish him the greatest success in his future endeavors. We hope he will continue to be a part of this organization, even if he can’t remain an employee while undertaking his new project.”

Anyone interested in the position can send a resume and cover letter to Susan Hughes at the Adirondack Council’s main office at PO Box D-2, Elizabethtown, NY 12932; or via email at A detailed job description is now posted on the Council’s web site.

Having commuted to and from work some 25,000 miles by bicycle and ski in the last five years at the Council, Davis said he will undertake a somewhat shorter but more varied trek in early 2011, hiking, paddling, cycling, and skiing to and through the East’s greatest remaining wild lands and waters and studying biological connections between them.

Davis’s continental wildways trek will be sponsored by the Wildlands Network and partner groups, with the Adirondack Council being a charter sponsor and lead regional partner. Davis will be guided in each region by naturalists, conservation biologists, and the conservation advocates who are working to protect, restore and reconnect remaining strongholds of biological diversity. He will be writing accounts of his journeys throughout, profiling wildways and their champions – human as well as four-legged, finned, feathered, and flowered.

Among the stories he aims to tell are of Florida’s growing reserve network and what more needs to be done to save the Florida Panther; Red Wolf recovery in the Southeastern Coastal Plain; grand but imperiled old-growth forests in the Southern Appalachians; re-wilding the Northern Appalachians with wolves, cougar, lynx, and salmon; and how the Adirondack Park can be an anchor in a regional nature reserve system stretching from New York’s Tug Hill Plateau to Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula.

Davis began his conservation career in the early 1980s with various grassroots conservation groups, including Kentucky Rivers Coalition, Appalachia-Science in the Public Interest, the Mt. Graham Coalition, and Preserve Appalachian Wilderness. From 1900 to 1996, he was co-founder and editor of Wild Earth magazine. He has served as the editor of various conservation books, including Eastern Old-Growth Forests: Prospects For Rediscovery And Recovery, The Big Outside, A Conspiracy of Optimism (a history of the US Forest Service), and Defining Vermont.

From 1997 through 2003, Davis was the biodiversity and wilderness program officer for the Foundation for Deep Ecology, based in Sausalito, California, where he helped identify conservation projects deserving of the foundation’s financial support. For several years, Davis has served as land steward for the Eddy Foundation.

In August of 2003, Davis won an award from the Adirondack Council for “Distinguished Achievement in Open Space Protection.” The award was based on his work at the Split Rock Wildway.

Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Davis spent much of his youth in New Hampshire. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Saint Olaf College in Minnesota in 1985.

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