Since the late 1970s, Ed Clark has been a national leader in the field of conservation. His involvement has ranged from wilderness designation and public land management to pesticide regulation and endangered species protection. Raised in Flint Hill, Virginia, Ed received a B.A. in history and political science from Bridgewater College. He did graduate work in education at James Madison University and University of Virginia. His professional training includes environmental mediation, organization management, and strategic planning.
In 1979, Ed became the first executive director of the Conservation Council of Virginia Foundation, the environmental advocacy and education organization known today as the Virginia Conservation Network. In 1980, he co-founded and became assistant director of the Environmental Task Force in Washington, DC, a national grassroots support network. In 1982, he returned to the Shenandoah Valley and began his work as a leadership trainer and organizational consultant for national conservation and non-profit groups, including Trout Unlimited, the Sierra Club, Habitat for Humanity, the Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society International, the Appalachian Trail Conference, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and many others. In November of 1982, Ed co-founded The Wildlife Center of Virginia.
From 2006 to 2008, under Ed's leadership, the Wildlife Center successfully undertook a project, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Defense, to create a working model of a North American Wildlife Disease Surveillance Network, originally known as Project Tripwire. This network was fully deployed in 2012 and is now able to link wildlife hospitals and rehabilitation centers across North America and beyond, through a shared online database. The system, today known as WILD-ONe, is currently deployed across the U.S. and Canada and tracks the health information on tens of thousands of wild animals being treated in nearly 100 participating wildlife care facilities.
In 2010, Ed was part of an interdisciplinary team of experts asked to visit the states impacted by the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico and conduct an assessment of the potential damage, the adequacy of the government's response, and the implications for future public policy. Following visits to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, Ed published extensive reports on his findings, along with recommendations for strengthening a generally ineffective response effort. Ed remains active in discussions and policy debates on the subject.
Throughout his career, Ed has been active in public service. He has been appointed by three Virginia Governors to various boards and commissions, including the Virginia Council on the Environment (the state environmental policy board), the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (one of the nation's largest government land trusts), the Virginia Environmental Education Commission, and the Governor's Commission on Natural Resource Funding. Ed has also served on boards and advisory councils of more than twenty regional, national, and international conservation organizations, recently including the National Wildlife Federation (Eastern Vice Chair), International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (President), Philippe Cousteau Foundation (Founding Secretary), and Southern Environmental Law Center (President's Council). He is currently a member of the Steering Committees of the National Endangered Species Coalition (based in Washington, DC) and the Human/Wildlife Conflict Collaboration (based in Bethesda, MD) and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
The Wildlife Center has received many honors under Ed's leadership. In 1993, the Center received the National Environmental Achievement Award for Wildlife Conservation. In 2004 the Computerworld Honors Program and the Smithsonian Institution presented the Center with its 21st-Century Achievement Award, for the "best information technology application in the world, in the category of Environment, Energy, and Agriculture." In November 2007, the Wildlife Center received the National Wildlife Federation's highly prestigious Conservation Achievement Award and was named the Wildlife Conservation Organization of the Year for the entire United States.
Ed has received many individual honors as well. In 1987, the Virginia Wildlife Federation named him Conservation Educator of the Year. In 1992 the U.S. Committee for the UN Environment Programme named him one of the "500 Environmental Achievers". He received the 1993 Conservation Medal from the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1997, he received the prestigious "Chuck Yeager Award" from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for his conservation work "on the ground". In 2000 he received commendation from the Venezuelan Ministry of Education for his work promoting environmental education in rural communities. In 2001, he received recognition from the Venezuelan Guardia Nacional and the Ministry of Defense for his work combating the illegal trafficking of neotropical wildlife. In 2006 Bridgewater College named Ed its Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, and the Virginia Conservation Network recognized Ed for his lifetime achievements and outstanding contributions to conservation and environmental protection. In 2012, Ed received national recognition with the prestigious "Rare Life" award from Eagle Rare, given to an individual who leads a rare life of courage, leadership, survival, devotion, character, and heroism. In winning this competitive award, Ed received a record-shattering 180,000 votes, nine times the previous total for winning nominations.
Ed is a well-known and widely recognized television personality. He was the host and narrator of "Wildlife Emergency," the award-winning series about The Wildlife Center of Virginia which aired worldwide on Animal Planet. He also hosted the weekly series "Virginia Outdoors" and "Wednesdays Untamed" on Virginia Public Television. Ed has appeared in several films and documentaries and has been seen frequently on network television programs such as CNN's Larry King Live, NBC's TODAY, FOX News, CBS Saturday Morning, and C-SPAN's Washington Journal.
Ed is in great demand as a motivational speaker, organizational consultant, and trainer. His conservation work takes him across the United States and to many foreign countries each year. When he is not on the road (and often when he is) Ed enjoys his passion for wildlife photography, shooting, and horseback riding.
Ed and his wife, Dr. Kim West Clark, live in the woods near Waynesboro, Virginia with their dogs, cats, horses, and birds.