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Jeffrey A. Lerner

Jeff started his conservation career working with birds of prey in the western U.S. on landscape scale projects sited on both public and private lands. He went on to work with Natural Heritage Programs across the U.S. and Canada, and he managed biodiversity information for the Central Science Division of The Nature Conservancy. As Director of Conservation Planning at Defenders of Wildlife, he led efforts to improve conservation planning across the entire U.S., its use in a policy context, and its application into decisions such as local land use planning, transportation infrastructure, public lands management, and agricultural conservation programs.

With many years of experience with endangered species conservation, Habitat Conservation Plans, and a national expert on the State Wildlife Action Plans, Jeff seeks to synthesize key information for problem solving in order to guide conservation action using particular strengths with synthetic projects. His project expertise has ranged across: restoration and protection for Atlantic Coast tidal marshes affected by sea level rise; development of a green infrastructure framework to guide wind energy siting across the Midwest; the first ever national summary of federal and state spending on land conservation; and development of a national meeting and expert dialogue on integration of conservation planning with land use planning.

Through his wide experience, Jeff has developed broad subject matter expertise in natural resources policy, science, funding programs, wildlife conservation practice, habitat conservation planning, and sustainable development. His technical skills include program development, team supervision, project management, field research, database management, facility with GIS, partnership building, program evaluation, grants and contracts management, and fundraising. Jeff holds a Master’s of Science in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from the University of Maryland as well as a Bachelor’s in Zoology from Ohio Wesleyan University. He recently served as a senior advisor and project manager for The Conservation Fund pioneering work in the area of climate change adaptation. Jeff currently serves as vice-president of conservation programs at American Forests.

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