December 11, 2017

Veteran conservationist joins Schoodic Institute as president and CEO

Courtesy / Schoodic Institute
Courtesy / Schoodic Institute
Don Kent is the new president and CEO of Schoodic Institute, a nonprofit based in Winter Harbor that partners with Acadia National Park in science, education, and conservation.

Schoodic Institute, a nonprofit partner of Acadia National Park, named Don Kent as its new president and CEO. He succeeds Mark Berry, who was the Schoodic Institute's leader for three years.

Kent will begin his new duties Jan. 8, 2018.

He most recently worked at NatureServe Inc., an Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit, and has a diverse career in the government, nonprofit, and private sectors, facilitating successful conservation initiatives in support of healthy and resilient landscapes for plants, wildlife and people.

At NatureServe he served as a member of the office of the president and CEO, with shared responsibility for organizational finances, operations, strategy and policy. As the nonprofit's chief strategy officer, he assisted the president with developing, communicating, executing and sustaining NatureServe's planning initiatives and strategies.

"I'm both humbled and thrilled to be joining the dedicated group of employees at the Schoodic Institute and its many conservation partners in advancing ecosystem science and lifelong learning in collaboration with the National Park Service at Acadia National Park," he said in a news release. "I am very excited to return to New England and become an active member of the Downeast Maine community."

"We are so very excited to have Dr. Kent step into this leadership position," said Alan Goldstein, chairman of the Schoodic Institute's board. "He is an experienced and successful leader, manager, and conservation scientist with integrity, breadth of knowledge and an understanding of strategic thinking. His management, interpersonal and fundraising skills and commitment to partnerships will contribute greatly to the continued growth and success of the Schoodic Institute."

Kevin Schneider, superintendent at Acadia National Park, which partners with Schoodic Institute in developing new techniques to involve the public in science and conservation, said he and his staff are looking forward to Kent's arrival.

"Schoodic institute is a critical partner for Acadia National Park and we are confident that he is the right choice to lead the next chapter of this organization," he said. " We very much look forward to working together."

Diverse experience

Courtesy / Schoodic Institute
Courtesy / Schoodic Institute
Schoodic Institute and the Schoodic Education and Research Center are located on Schoodic Point in Acadia National Park in the town of Winter Harbor.

Prior to joining NatureServe, Kent worked in the nonprofit, government and private sectors.

As administrator for the New Hampshire Natural Heritage Bureau, he helped develop the state's climate change policy, established conditions for siting renewable energy projects, and amended guiding statute to enhance protection of natural communities. While serving as executive director of Community Watershed Fund, Kent provided expert review to federal and state agencies responsible for restoring the Everglades, defined phosphorous cycling and management alternatives, and guided development of a phosphorus criterion.

And as a director with Disney's Research and Development Group, he conducted innovative research on species and natural communities and enabled a $1 billion conservation-themed park for Walt Disney while conserving 60 protected species. He also served as a board member and Instructor for the U.S. Environmental Training Institute, whose mission was to export U.S. environmental technology to developing countries through training decision-makers.

Kent has a Ph.D. in biology with concentrations in ecology, evolution and behavior from Boston University, a master's degree in zoology from the University of Florida and a bachelor's degree in biology from Salem State University. His graduate research encompassed behavior and energetics of herons and egrets.

Read more

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