Jamie Rappaport Clark has been with Defenders of Wildlife since February 2004 as executive vice president. In October 2011, she took the reins as president and CEO.
Jamie’s lifelong commitment to wildlife and conservation led her to choose a career in wildlife biology. In her early college years, she released peregrine falcons into the wild as part of a successful recovery effort—so successful, in fact, that 20 years later, she had the honor of removing them from the list of endangered species as the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
Jamie came to Defenders after a 20-year career in conservation with the federal government, mostly with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In recognition of her accomplishments and national leadership in this field, President Bill Clinton appointed her as director of the Service in 1997, a post she held until 2001. During her tenure as director, Jamie oversaw the establishment of 27 new refuges and the addition of over two million acres to the National Wildlife Refuge System and presided over the recovery of key endangered species such as the bald eagle, gray wolf and the Aleutian Canada goose.
Jamie’s tenure as director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was also marked by the adoption of a number of innovative policies to encourage landowners to voluntarily conserve wildlife, including the establishment of the Safe Harbor Program and an expanded Candidate Conservation Program. Also under her leadership, the Fish and Wildlife Service secured the passage of the landmark National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the most sweeping reform legislation for refuges in 30 years, which established wildlife conservation as the primary purpose of all wildlife refuges.
Jamie is recognized as a leading national expert on the Endangered Species Act and imperiled wildlife. She has testified before Congress on numerous occasions in support of strong fish and wildlife conservation laws. Her leadership and expertise have helped defeat numerous efforts to destroy the Endangered Species Act. Her passion for wildlife is shared by her family. Jim Clark, her husband of 28 years, was a national wildlife refuge manager on Matagorda Island, Texas and Yukon Flats, Alaska and is presently an award-winning nature photographer and author. Her 16-year-old son Carson, named after renowned environmentalist Rachel Carson, is also an award-winning nature photographer and author of a series of children’s books featuring “Buddy the Beaver.”
Jamie holds a B.S. in wildlife biology from Towson University in Towson, Maryland, where she also did post-graduate work in environmental planning. She holds an M.S. in wildlife ecology from the University of Maryland.