Festival Year: 2017
Roles: Special Guest
Collin O’Mara serves as President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, America’s largest wildlife conservation organization with 50 state and territorial affiliates and nearly six million hunters, anglers, birders, gardens, hikers, paddlers, and wildlife enthusiasts. Under O’Mara’s leadership, the National Wildlife Federation is focused on recovering America’s wildlife ranging from bison and bighorn sheep to pollinators like monarch butterflies and native bees, improving management of and access to public lands, restoring America’s waterbodies, advancing environmental education (including publishing Ranger Rick magazines), and connecting every American child with the great outdoors.
O’Mara serves on the Wildlife Hunting and Heritage Conservation Council, the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council, and the Blue Ribbon Panel for Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources. He also represents the National Wildlife Federation as a member of the American Wildlife Conservation Partners, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Policy Council, and the BlueGreen Alliance. In 2015, O’Mara was named Bass Pro Shop’s Conservation Partner of the Year. He is regularly called before Congress to testify about wildlife, water, and sportsmen issues.
Prior to the National Wildlife Federation, O’Mara led the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control as Cabinet Secretary from 2009 through 2014. In that position, Secretary O’Mara served as the state’s top natural resource official, led the state’s efforts to conserve and restore wildlife and fishery habitat, improve air quality and public health, ensure access to clean water, expand outdoor recreation and environmental education opportunities, and enhance the state’s resilience to extreme weather and other climate impacts.
When O’Mara was appointed in 2009, he was the youngest state cabinet official in the nation. He spearheaded a range of initiatives, including Delaware’s “No Child Left Inside”/ Children In Nature campaign, a comprehensive strategy to introduce children to the outdoors; the First State Trails and Pathways Plan, a multi-year initiative to expand and connect the state’s trail system; and the Delaware Bayshore Initiative, an effort to establish the region as a world-class conservation and outdoor recreation destination for hunting, birding, fishing, hiking, canoeing, and kayaking.
His previous board service includes a term as Co-Chair of the Natural Resources and Agriculture Subcommittee of the President’s Task Force on Climate Adaptation and Preparedness, Chair of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Chair of the Ozone Transport Commission, Chair of the Climate and Energy Subcommittee of the Environmental Council of the States, and the Executive Council of the Chesapeake Bay Program.
A native of Syracuse, New York, O’Mara was a Marshall Scholar at the University of Oxford, a University Fellow at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and a Presidential Scholar at Dartmouth College. He is a Catto Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a US Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professional, and completed Stanford Business School’s Executive Management Program in Environmental Sustainability.
Festival Year: 2017