Conservation Biology through the Lens of a Career in Salmon Conservation
Article first published online: 9 NOV 2011
Here is a very interesting and thought provoking paper. It is for conservationists and wanna be conservationists who did not make it. What I immensely liked about the paper is the fact that it drives home the point that it is never too late to pursue your childhood dreams.
According to the author what is described here are the personal reflections on the state of the field and thoughts on a potential way forward for conservation biology from a grant maker who came to conservation science late and from an unusual starting point.
The author starts his paper like this “ In primary school, I fell in love with a drop of pond water under the microscope and from then on thought I would grow up to be a biologist. Somewhere I lost my way and ended up a businessman. I cannot remember exactly how it happened, but eventually I was trained in what is known as the Catholic church of capitalism, Harvard Business School, and then capitalism's U.S. Marine Corps, McKinsey & Company, the management consulting firm. After McKinsey, my partners and I started or acquired several well-known internet companies, which prospered despite market ups and downs.
When we sold the companies in 2001, however, I had a crisis of identity and meaning. I knew I did not want to start another company, but after many years of intense focus on business, I no longer really knew what was important to me.
I stumbled into helping some friends at The Nature Conservancy, who had just acquired Palmyra Atoll and needed assistance with financial modeling of the Conservancy's future science and conservation operations for the atoll. Palmyra is a remarkable jewel in the middle of the Pacific, with a mostly intact terrestrial and marine ecosystem. Working in this incredible environment helped reawaken my childhood fascination with biology and rediscover the wonder of a well-functioning ecosystem. I also learned that analytical and economic skills could be useful tools in leading conservation projects. My work with The Nature Conservancy led to a role with the newly formed Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, which had funded part of the Palmyra project, where I was asked to help set up their new wild salmon ecosystems initiative. And so began my new life as conservation professional.”