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Dave Reynolds



David Reynolds is a parks and protected areas consultant with more than 40 years of experience working in the natural resource management and international capacity development fields.  Most of that time was spent with the National Park Service (NPS).


While in the NPS, Dave worked with the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Global Protected Areas Program 2011-2015. He was instrumental in determining global training needs and in coordinating the production of protected area publications for an international audience.  In addition, he led a World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Specialist Group that developed and launched a 10-year IUCN Strategic Framework for Capacity Development at the 2014 World Parks Congress. 


Dave previously served 1991-2011 as the NPS Chief, Natural Resources and Science, in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Regions, overseeing natural resource scientists and specialists, in diverse areas such as water resources, air quality, coastal geology, wildlife management, integrated pest management, inventory and monitoring and geographic information systems, that supported the 81 parks of the Northeast Region.  He was the NPS lead in organizing two major Department of the Interior Climate Change Workshops 2008 and 2010.


Prior to working in the Northeast Regional Office he created the first natural resource program at the New River Gorge National River in the early 1980’s.  Later he was assigned to the U.S. Peace Corps office in Washington, D.C. in the late 1980’s where he assisted Peace Corps Country Directors in developing assignments and conducting pre-service and in-service training for parks, wildlife and environmental education Volunteers and their host country counterparts.  Dave’s first contributions to protected area management were in 1976 when he served as a Peace Corps park biologist in the Comoe National Park in Cote d’Ivoire and in the St. Floris National Park in the Central African Republic. Over his career, he has carried out long- and short-term protected area assignments for USAID, US Department of the Interior, IUCN, Peace Corps and NPS in more than 30 countries.


In addition to serving as President of the George Wright Society, Dave is a member of the Executive Committee of the IUCN National Committee for the USA.  He has a BSc. in Wildlife Biology from UMass and a MSc. in International Environmental Systems Management from the American University.  Dave and his wife, Mary Lynne, live in Medford, New Jersey.  They have two adult sons and four grandchildren/future conservationists!

Jennifer Thomsen


Board Member

Jennifer Thomsen is an Associate Professor of Parks, Tourism, and Recreation Management in the Department of Society and Conservation at the University of Montana. Jenn earned her Master’s in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology and her PhD in Parks and Conservation Area Management from Clemson University.  Bridging her natural science and social science backgrounds, her research focuses on four main areas: 1) stakeholder collaboration associated with large landscape conservation, 2) sustainable tourism, 3) the relationship between human and ecosystem health, and 4) environmental education and interpretation.

Jenn’s work takes place in many national and international contexts including the Crown of the Continent, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, southern and eastern Africa, India, Peru, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. She has done numerous projects with the National Park Service including the development of the Healthy Parks, Healthy People Science Plan and studies on interpretation and education programs, and international visitation and planning. In her work on large landscape conservation, she has been involved in the revitalization of the U.S. biosphere reserve program and serves on the National Committee. As a board member for the George Wright Society, Jenn is excited to integrate her passions into her professional work and to engage with diverse and dynamic partners!

Mariam Kenza Ali

Board Member

Mariam is the Climate Program Officer at the David and Lucille Packard Foundation.

Ashley D'Antonio


Board Member

Ashley D’Antonio is an Associate Professor of Nature-Based Recreation Management in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University. She has an M.S. and Ph.D. from Utah State in Human Dimensions of Ecosystem Science and Management and a B.S. in Biology from Penn State. Ashley is a recreation ecologist and her research centers on understanding, mitigating, and managing visitor disturbance in parks and protected areas. She hopes that managers can use her research to better protect natural resources while continuing to provide quality recreation experiences to visitors. Ashley specializes in using interdisciplinary and novel spatially-based approaches to understand recreation disturbance. She has worked in numerous national parks across the West (Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Rocky Mountain National Parks). As well as urban-proximate protected areas in California. Ashley lives in Corvallis, Oregon with her partner and their two cats and enjoys knitting and reading during the rainy PNW winters and hiking and backpacking during the beautiful PNW summers.

Michelle Bowden

Board Member

Michelle is the Director, Conservation Programs Branch for Parks Canada.

Niquole Esters


Board Member

Niquole Esters is an environmental conservationist with a passion for the oceans and geopolitics. With a background in international relations, governance, and policy she works in the space between sustainable natural resource management, conservation, and economic development to protect important ecosystems and the services they provide.


Niquole has spent more than 15 years working around the world with Conservation International (CI), specializing in program design and strategy, program management, and fundraising related to oceans and coasts. From 2009-2019 she worked with CI’s Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) Program, taking over as Director of the program from 2013-2019.  CI’s CTI Program supports the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security, a regional initiative between Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste to sustainably manage the global epicenter of marine biodiversity.


After more than 10 years on the technical and programmatic side of the environmental sector Niquole decided to learn a different skill set and began a new role as a Senior Director with CI's Major Gifts Development team in 2019. Under the new role Niquole has expanded into providing private fundraising support to the more than 30 countries where Conservation International and its partners operate, from the forests and mountain tops to the coasts and deep ocean. 


Her personal passion is to expose more people of color to nature, building the next generation of environmental stewards and ensuring equality and equity in global conservation efforts. In her current role she is the Co-Lead of CI’s Development DEI Strategy which focuses on promoting inclusivity and diversity across environmental philanthropy as part of a broader reimagining of conservation. 


Niquole received her B.A. from Washington and Lee University and her M.A. in Geopolitics, Territory and Security from King’s College London. She lives in Oakland, California with a lot of house plants.

Tony Fiorillo


Board Member

Dr. Anthony Fiorillo (Tony) is the Executive Director of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science.  Tony was raised in New England and received his Ph.D. through the geology department at the University of Pennsylvania.  His career has covered several continents largely to study dinosaurs and the environments in which they lived.  For more than two decades he has focused on the Cretaceous of Alaska where his teams have made significant advances in the understanding of ancient Arctic biodiversity and paleoecosystems.  The fruits include publishing over 130 scientific papers, writing a scholarly book on Alaska dinosaurs, and co-editing five more technical volumes related to our work. Tony’s work has taken him to over a dozen units of the National Park Service where he achieved national recognition in 2000 and again in 2007 with the National Park Service, Alaska Region Natural Resource Research Award.  In 2019 he received the international George Wright Society’s Natural Resources Achievement Award. For Tony, the appeal of the work in Alaska is the result of the combination of scholarly pursuit and the rigors of working in the Arctic and sub-Arctic environment.  He is pleased to join the Board of GWS and looks working with the membership to further the mission of our Society.

Fred Herling


Fred served as a planner with the NPS for 35 years, wrapping up his career at Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks in 2019, with the first half of his career based in the NPS’ Northeast Region in Philadelphia. Starting in 2001 as the park planner for Everglades and Dry Tortugas NPs, Fred worked on multiple regional, national and international projects, focused on natural and cultural resource, visitor use, wilderness, and park operational issues. Key projects he helped plan and implement included establishing one of the largest NPS marine protected areas in Florida Bay, expanding the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness, launching the park’s boater education program, and facilitating master plans for the two largest coastal destinations impacted by sea level rise and storm surge (Flamingo and Gulf Coast districts), with a focus on long-term sustainability and resiliency.


Fred is a long-term GWS member and participated in numerous GWS conferences. Since his NPS retirement, Fred has assisted the GWS in developing its 2020-2022 Strategic Directions Report and serving on its Finance Committee and Grow the Membership Team. He looks forward to serving on the GWS Board, particularly on efforts focused on the next generation of conservation leaders. Fred attended Drexel University as an undergraduate and the University of Pennsylvania's Masters Program in Landscape Architecture/Regional Planning. Most recently, he and his wife Bonnie moved from South Florida to Virginia Beach, enjoying the chance to be at the ocean every day.

Cait Henry

Board Member

Cait Henry is a Ph.D. candidate at Kansas State University who originates from the Saint Louis, Missouri area. They received M.S. from Clemson University in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management and have a B.A. in Environmental Studies. They work as a Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant for the National Park Service National Capital Area project under Dr. Sarah Jackson in the Applied Parks Science Lab. Their dissertation aims to explore the collective memories of major Confederate victories during the Civil War and their legacy at Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia, utilizing social identity and moral foundations theories to establish whether the current interpretation at the site aligns with national perceptions of Confederate heritage after the wave of monument removal catalyzed by tragedies in Charleston, SC, and Charlottesville, VA.

Future research interests revolve around heritage interpretation of cultural landscapes within the NPS in the United States and in Scotland, where they plan to emigrate at some point. Hobbies outside of the ivory tower include hiking and backpacking along the Blue Ridge Parkway, reading at coffee shops, discovering new horror-themed podcasts, and slowly turning into the ultimate Crazy Cat Lady.

Akiebia Hicks


Board Member

Akiebia Hicks is a second year PhD student at Clemson University in the department of Parks and Recreation and Tourism Management. She completed her bachelor’s at Georgia Southwestern State University as a History and Political Science student who minored in Secondary Education. During undergrad, Akiebia was offered a position in the National Park Service as a digital media and park guide intern at the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site with Americorps and Student Conservation Association. After completing her bachelor’s and year-long internship, Akiebia realized the National Park Service was where she wanted to be and started her career at Little River Canyon National Preserve (LIRI) in Fort Payne, AL. After working at LIRI and doing more self reflection on the lack of minority staff in parks, Akiebia decided she wanted to pursue her master’s in Public Administration at the University of West Georgia where her concentration was minorities in natural areas and policy. During her master’s Akiebia worked in operations and digital media at Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston, AL.


After her master’s, Akiebia decided to pursue a PhD at Clemson University where her research is inspired by her experience as a minority staffer in the National Park Service. Akiebia’s dissertation is titled “The Intersection Between Political Environments, Partnerships, Perceptions and Parks: An Examination of Organizational Theories as a Variable to Sustain Diversity in Parks and Protected Areas.” Akiebia aims to assist managers of PPAs to better understand how high internal locus of control (LOC) and organizational embeddedness may relate to retention of minority staff.

Lara A. Jacobs



Lara A. Jacobs is a Citizen of Muscogee (Creek) Nation and has Choctaw heritage. She is in the last year of her Ph.D. studies at Oregon State University’s College of Forestry. Lara is a recreation ecologist who focuses her research on understanding the pathogenic and ecological impacts of outdoor recreation in National Park marine areas that Tribal Peoples use for subsistence purposes. She relies on methods from multiple fields in her work, including environmental engineering, recreation ecology, marine science, Indigenous studies, geographic information systems, etc. Lara has published scholarly literature about COVID-19 in parks and protected areas and worked with large Indigenous writing teams to create critical thought pieces and frameworks that center decolonization, Indigenous sovereignty (especially in the context of conservation, Indigenous land management, and co-management of public lands and waters), and #LANDBACK.  Lara is the Editor of the forthcoming volume Indigenous Voices: Critical Reflections on Traditional Ecological Knowledge (under contract with OSU Press, 2024 expected publication) which centers the perspectives of Indigenous Peoples (from around the world) about how Traditional Ecological Knowledge is used, extracted, and operationalized in academic and governing contexts.


Lara holds an Environmental Studies Master’s Degree from Prescott College, with a concentration in Environmental Education, Conservation Science, and Sustainability; a certificate from the University of Toronto in GIS, Mapping, and Spatial Analysis Specialization; and a Bachelor of Science degree in Women Studies from Oregon State University. Lara holds eight years of experience with instructing, creating, and redesigning multiple undergraduate and graduate-level courses. She has worked on multiple research projects on various topics, including Traditional Ecological Knowledge, endangered plant species, and data governance. Her professional background includes experience with directing nonprofit and Tribal Governmental programs (e.g., Youth Training Academy for the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation).

Lara currently lives on Alsea lands (aka the central Oregon Coast) with her family, two miniature schnauzers, and two cats.  In her spare time, Lara enjoys growing medicinal plants, food preservation, kayaking, backpacking, hiking, beach walking, and beading.

Linda Mazzu

Board Member

Linda is a park manager and ecologist studying, protecting and conserving natural and cultural resources in the face of environmental changes. Linda was constantly guided and inspired by the George Wright Society throughout her career and wants to ensure others can be as well.  She began her career in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks as an intern with the Resources Management division during the early years of the prescribed fire program in the National Park Service. 


Her work continued in Washington DC with the National Park Service’s Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance program, followed by Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite National Parks.  Her work covered a diversity of programs including black bear management, air quality, water quality, endangered species protection, vegetation restoration, historic properties and cultural landscape restoration, environmental compliance, tribal consultation and university internship collaborations.  She also worked ten years for the Bureau of Land Management as a botanist in southern Oregon protecting 200+ rare plant species and as a fire planning compliance specialist with the National Interagency Fire Center.  She served as superintendent at Bryce Canyon National Park, where she reinvigorated the natural and cultural resources management division and increased park operational budgets. 


Linda has a BS in Park and Recreation Management from the Pennsylvania State University and a MS in Natural Resources from Cal Poly Humboldt.  She resides in Boise, ID with her husband Erik, dog Ruby and Sparky the Fire Cat.  She continues to work on projects in national parks, serves as a Boise City Commissioner for Parks and Recreation and works on other local conservation efforts. 

Alan Spears

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Vice President

Alan Spears is Senior Director for Cultural Resources at the National Parks Conservation Association. He uses real-life stories and a conversational style to connect with his audiences to promote NPCA’s advocacy and the critical role the National Park Service plays in protecting, interpreting and managing this nation’s historic and cultural resources. A veteran advocate and member of the Government Affairs department, Alan has led community outreach and legislative engagement on a variety of park protection issues for over twenty years. Recent victories include joining with NPCA colleagues, partners, and allies to win the designation of the Fort Monroe, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad, Colonel Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers, Pullman, and Birmingham Civil Rights National Monuments. And in 2018, Alan helped to design and implement the campaign to designate the Blackwell School National Historic Site in Marfa, Texas, which passed the House and Senate and was signed into law by President Biden in October 2022.


Alan’s current national park protection priorities include National Heritage Area program defense, coordinating NPCA’s engagement on the campaign to establish a new national park for Julius Rosenwald & Rosenwald Schools, and ongoing work in Mississippi to create a new civil rights national park site commemorating the legacy of Emmett Till, Mamie Till-Mobley, and the foot soldiers of the Mississippi civil rights movement.


In 2022, Alan received the Robert G. Stanton Award from the Clemson University Institute for Parks. The Stanton award is named after the first African American to serve as director of the National Park Service and was presented to Alan in recognition of his “sustained and innovative achievement in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in the management of North America’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage.”


He remains the only NPCA staff person ever to be rescued from a tidal marsh by a Park Police helicopter.

Mike Walton


Board Member

Mike grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, at a time when parents directed children to “go outside and play”. This resulted in unsupervised mounted (bicycle) and pioneer (foot) exploration of parks, ravines, rivers, ponds, paths and tracks across the city.  Getting dirty and bloody in nature inspired a life-long passion about wilderness and what parks and institutions do to protect it. Mike has held leadership roles with the Yukon Conservation Society, Vancouver Island Regional Parks, Parks Canada, Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries, the Town of Marathon, Ontario and Ontario Parks.  Mike has been a park warden, interpreter, superintendent and regional director.  Mike holds a diploma in Economic Development from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, an undergraduate degree in Outdoor Recreation from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a M.Sc in Parks and Recreation Resources Management from Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania.  Mike completed his doctoral studies at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, researching governance of protected areas, specifically, sharing power and decision-making.  Mike now provides consulting services on protected area governance and management, landscape scale conservation, Indigenous relations, and park planning.  He is an adjunct professor in Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  Mike lives in Whitehorse, Yukon with his wife Sylvie.  They have three grown children and four grandchildren. Mike now directs his grandchildren to “go play outside” with him.


Dave Harmon


Executive Director

Co-editor, Parks Stewardship Forum

Dave is responsible for overseeing the Society’s operations, including co-editing Parks Stewardship Forum and helping plan workshops, conferences, and other meetings. A member of the GWS since 1985, Dave began working for the organization in 1990 and served as executive director from 1998 to 2017 before returning that role in 2019. He is active in IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas.  He also maintains a research interest in the relationship between biological and cultural diversity, having co-founded the NGO Terralingua, which is devoted to that subject. Dave has co-edited several volumes on protected area conservation, including The Antiquities Act: A Century of American Archaeology, Historic Preservation, and Nature Conservation (with Francis P. McManamon and Dwight T. Pitcaithley), The Full Value of Parks: From Economics to the Intangible (with Allen D. Putney), and A Thinking Person's Guide to America's National Parks (with Robert Manning, Rolf Diamant, and Nora Mitchell).


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Emily is the logistics coordinator for the GWS’s biennial conferences and also organizes conferences that the Society jointly sponsors with other organizations. Emily has a B.S. in Resource Planning and Conservation from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources (1973) and did graduate work at Utah State University. She worked 10 years with the National Park Service and 6 with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a variety of planning and resource management jobs in parks and refuges in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Alaska.

Rebecca Conard

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Parks Stewardship Forum

Rebecca is Professor Emerita of History at Middle Tennessee State University, where she directed the public history graduate program and also taught  American environmental history. While completing her doctoral work at UC Santa Barbara, she co-founded PHR Associates, a historical research firm based in Santa Barbara, California. Prior to entering teaching full-time in 1992, she was a principal partner with Tallgrass Historians L.C. of Iowa City, and she maintains associate status with this firm. As a consultant, she has specialized in historic preservation and cultural resource management services, which has given her countless opportunities to explore America's cultural and natural landscapes, from the bowels of deactivated Nike missile silos in the Angeles National Forest to meandering stonewalls in remote areas of Massachusetts. She is a native of Iowa, a place she returns to often. Her major publications include Places of Quiet Beauty: Parks, Preserves, and Environmentalism (1997), Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve Legislative History, 1920-1996 (National Park Service, 1998), and Benjamin Shambaugh and the Intellectual Foundations of Public History (2002). She has contributed chapters to Proceedings of the Kansas History and History of the Great Plains Symposium (2001), Public History and the Environment (2004), and The Antiquities Act: A Century of American Archaeology, Historic Preservation, and Nature Conservation (2006), and also published articles in The Public Historian, George Wright Forum, Environmental Review, The Annals of Iowa, Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science, and Iowa Conservationist. She is a past president of the National Council on Public History (2002-2003); and she has received awards for her publications and for her contributions to public history from the American Association for State and Local History, the State Historical Society of Iowa, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the California Council for the Promotion of History, and the California Preservation Foundation.

Dorothy R. Davis



"The Photographer's Frame"
Parks Stewardship Forum

A graduate degree from California Lutheran University and a lifetime of research and mentoring students, teaching literature and foreign language, capped by more than 50 years of world travel prepared Dorothy Davis for co-editing The Photographer’s Frame. Post-graduate classes and learning travel-journalism and photo-essay production along the way from National Geographic Society photographers among others helped her to polish her skills. Her post-graduate studies also concentrated on the writings of Irish authors with specific study of William Butler Yeats in Sligo, Ireland, and nearly a year of sabbatical independent study throughout western Europe in the early 1980s. Dorothy is an award-winning photographer, with numerous cover and calendar images to her credit.

Gary E. Davis



"The Photographer's Frame"
Parks Stewardship Forum

Gary Davis has been studying nature and people since the 1960s as a national park ranger, research scientist, aquanaut, and photographer. He co-edits The Photographer’s Frame, a regular photo-essay feature of Parks Stewardship Forum, the journal of the University of California Berkeley’s Parks, People and Biodiversity Institute and the George Wright Society. Gary explored and documented the ecological health of America’s national parks by developing protocols for measuring park vital signs, and demonstrated the positive effects of protecting marine life, making national parks safer for fish.

During a 50-year career of scientific research in national parks, from the Virgin Islands and South Florida to California’s Channel Islands, he realized that translating science into illustrated stories was as important as his scientific discoveries.  This epiphany motivated his post-retirement endeavors of world travel with National Geographic Society explorers and photographers to learn the art of visual essays.

Recently, he has served on the boards of the Western National Parks Association and the SeaDoc Society at the University of California, Davis, Wildlife Health Center.  He has also advised the U. S. Departments of Commerce and Interior as a member of the Marine Protected Area Federal Advisory Committee and of the National Park System Advisory Board's Science Committee. Formerly, Gary held a variety of board positions with the George Wright Society including President, Vice President, and Treasurer.

Rolf Diamant


Member, PSF Editorial Board

Rolf Diamant is a writer, historian, and adjunct associate professor at the University of Vermont’s Department of History.  A large part of Rolf’s life has been devoted to national parks as a landscape architect, planner, and national park superintendent, and he worked to successfully diversify the conservation portfolio of the U.S. National Park Service with his involvement on national heritage areas, cooperatively managed wild and scenic rivers, urban parks, community assistance programs, and a variety of new additions to the park system. Rolf is a past president of the George Wright Society. He began his column (Letter From Woodstock) on the future of national parks in 2012; his essays have regularly appeared in The George Wright Forum and Parks Stewardship Forum.  Major publications include Olmsted in Yosemite: Central Park, The End of Slavery and the Rise of National Parks (with Ethan Carr; LALH 2021), and A Thinking Person’s Guide to America’s National Parks (with Robert Manning, Nora Mitchell and Dave Harmon; Braziller 2016). Rolf received a Master of Landscape Architecture and Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and was a Loeb Fellow in Advanced Environmental Studies at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

Gary E. Machlis



“Verse in Place”
Parks Stewardship Forum

Dr. Gary E. Machlis is University Professor of Environmental Sustainability at Clemson University, and served as Science Advisor to the Director, U.S. National Park Service (NPS) during both terms of the Obama administration. He joined the Clemson faculty in 2013; he was on the faculty at the University of Idaho from 1979-2013.


Dr. Machlis received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Washington in Seattle, and his Ph.D. in human ecology from Yale. He has written numerous books and scientific papers on issues of conservation, human ecology, and sustainability, including The State of the World's Parks (1985), the first systematic study of threats to protected areas around the world. His most recent book (co-authored) is The Future of Conservation in America: A Chart for Rough Water, published by the University of Chicago in 2018. His research has been published in journals as varied as Bioscience, Climatic Change, Conservation Biology, Society and Natural Resources, and Science.


Dr. Machlis has been a leader in collaborative higher education. He served on the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) National Committee on Opportunities for Women and Minorities in Science for over a decade. He was instrumental in the creation of the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU) Network and served as its National Coordinator from 1998-2006.


Dr. Machlis is active in international conservation. He has worked in China on the Giant Panda Project for the World Wildlife Fund and has conducted research on conservation and sustainability issues in the Galápagos Islands, the national parks of Kenya, and in Eastern Europe. Most recently, he has helped advance environmental science and sustainability collaborations between the U.S. and Cuba. Dr. Machlis helped establish and directed the National Parks Science Scholars Program, with over $8 million in scholarships to students from Canada, the United States, Mexico, and the countries of Latin America. In 2010 Dr. Machlis was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Terence Young

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Advisory Member

Publications Committee

Terence Young, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus of Geography at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.  He joined the faculty in 2002, having previously taught at Clemson University, George Washington University, UCLA, University of Southern California, and California State University, Long Beach.

A native Californian, Dr. Young received his bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in geography from the University of California, Los Angeles.  Primarily focused on intersections between outdoor recreation and North American environments, and employing a cultural-historical approach, he has written and edited numerous articles, themed journal issues, book chapters, and books on the design, development and meaning of protected areas at various scales.  He co-edited (with Lary Dilsaver) a special issue of the journal Historical Geography on “US Parks and Protected Areas” (2007).  He also co-edited (with Robert Riley) the book, Theme Park Landscapes: Antecedents and Variations (Dumbarton Oaks, 2002), and is the author of two additional books, Building San Francisco’s Parks, 1850-1930 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), and Heading Out: A History of American Camping (Cornell University Press, 2017).  His research has appeared in a variety of scholarly and popular publications, including Environmental History, Geographical Review, The George Wright Forum, IdeAs - Idées d'Amériques, Los Angeles Times, National Parks Traveler, San Francisco Chronicle, and Zocalo Public Square.

Dr. Young has received awards and grants for his research from the American Association of Geographers, the Western History Association, National Park Service, the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, the Graham Foundation, the National Museum of American History (Smithsonian Institution), Dumbarton Oaks Library and Research Center (Harvard University), and more.  He currently is the Vice Chair of the Protected Areas Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers.

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