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Longtime conservationist Don Barry to join Defenders of Wildlife as executive vice president

WASHINGTON (05/13/2011) -

Don Barry will join Defenders of Wildlife this June as its new executive vice president. This is part of an ongoing leadership transition following President Rodger Schlickeisen’s announcement of plans to retire after 20 years on October 1, 2011 -- handing over the reins to Defenders’ current executive vice president, Jamie Rappaport Clark.  

“Jamie and Don will make a formidable team at the helm of Defenders,” said Schlickeisen. “They will be a powerful force in advocating for wildlife and biodiversity conservation in the years to come.”

Barry has spent the past 36 years working on wildlife and public land conservation issues as a senior governmental official, in the nonprofit community and as a senior staff member in Congress. He has played a major role in numerous environmental issues facing this country, including the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980, the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the implementation of the Endangered Species Act, and the management of our national parks, forests and wildlife refuges.

Barry has spent more than a decade working in the nonprofit conservation community, including senior leadership positions at The Wilderness Society, World Wildlife Fund and most recently at Environmental Defense Fund.

He was assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks at the U.S. Department of the Interior during the Clinton administration. In that capacity, he oversaw the policies and budgets of the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Barry was also a career attorney in the solicitor’s office at the Interior Department, serving as the chief counsel for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. During this period, Mr. Barry helped draft key implementation regulations for the Endangered Species Act and was the department’s lead counsel for the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Finally, Barry spent six years working in House of Representatives for the Chairman of House Committee with jurisdiction over all fish and wildlife conservation matters.

“I’ve known Don for many years as we worked together on conservation issues through numerous administrations,” said Clark. “His vast experience in the conservation community, in combination with his executive branch experience and time on the Hill, makes him a great advocate for our issues. Don knows how to make things happen.”

“I am thrilled to be teaming up with Jamie again to tackle the pressing conservation issues of our time,” said Barry. “Moreover, Defenders’ focus on Endangered Species Act and public land management issues brings me back full circle to the very issues that I began my career on more than 36 years ago.”

Barry graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Arts in American Institutions in 1971 and from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1974. He lives in Alexandria, Va. with his wife, Teiko Saito.


Learn more about Defenders' leadership transition.


Jared Saylor, Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 772-3255

Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org.