Tanner Lecture Series on Ethics, Citizenship, and Public Responsibility
Collin O'Mara, National Wildlife Federation
“Environmental Citizenship and Ethical Collective Action: Why Re-establishing America’s Conservation Ethic is a Global Imperative”
Collin O’Mara joined National Wildlife Federation, America’s oldest and largest wildlife conservation and education organization, as President and CEO on July 7, 2014.
Prior to the NWF, he led the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. In that position, Secretary O’Mara served as the state’s top environmental 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 confront childhood obesity by reintroducing 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 low-impact recreation tourism destination for hunting, birding, fishing, hiking, canoeing, and kayaking, as part of the President’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.
In addition, Secretary O’Mara led the largest investment in environmental infrastructure in Delaware’s history, including more than $200 million in wastewater and storm water systems, beach restoration, dam and dike repair, drainage projects, and park and wildlife area. At the same time, he successfully executed the first significant reorganization of the state’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control since 1972, to make the agency more effective at implementing strategic priorities and more efficient in carrying out its mission at a time of limited resources.
O’Mara has served on numerous boards including as Co-Chair of the Natural Resources and Agriculture Subcommittee of the President’s Task Force on Climate Adaptation and Preparedness, past Chair of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, past Chair of the Ozone Transport Commission, Chair of the Climate and Energy Subcommittee of the Environmental Council of the States, Executive Council of the Chesapeake Bay Program, the Sustainable Energy Utility Oversight Board, State Water Supply Coordinating Council, the Delaware Cancer Consortium, Open Space Council, Nutrient Management Commission, the Center for the Inland Bays, and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.
Prior to his position with the state of Delaware, O’Mara served as the Clean Tech Strategist for the City of San Jose, California, where was the primary architect of the City of San Jose’s Green Vision and as the Director of SyraStat for the City of Syracuse, New York, where he oversaw the City’s performance management and accountability 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 U.S. Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professional, and completed Stanford Business School’s Executive Management Program in Environmental Sustainability.
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