Mark Berry, executive director of the Downeast Lakes Land Trust, will be leaving the trust to become president and CEO of the Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, the two organizations announced Wednesday.
Berry, who lives in Princeton and has led the trust for eight years, will begin his new duties June 6.
The Schoodic Institute in Winter Harbor supports the Schoodic Education and Research Center of Acadia National Park; it is the largest of 20 research learning centers located at national parks. The center, co-managed by the the institute and the National Park Service, supports scientific research in the park and throughout the region, providing professional development for teachers and educating students.
While leading the trust, which is based in Grand Lake Stream, Berry achieved an “extraordinary track record,” said Alan Goldstein, chairman of the institute’s board.
“He has been a leader in demonstrating how conservation and associated habitat restoration, outdoor education and recreation can directly improve the lives of the people living and working in our local communities,” said Goldstein in an announcement distributed by the institute. “Mark’s academic and naturalist background also makes him ideally suited to lead Schoodic Institute, as does his extensive successful experience in raising funds for major environmental projects.”
“The success of Schoodic Institute is one of Acadia National Park’s highest priorities,” said park Superintendent Sheridan Steele. The institute is “expanding the role of Acadia National Park to be a hotspot for vital research and education about our changing environment,” he said.
“We are very fortunate to have someone of Mark Berry’s caliber taking the helm,” added Steele.
Berry, who was raised in Scarborough, Maine, earned a master’s degree from the University of Colorado and a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College. Prior to his employment by the trust, he managed Oregon’s 34,000-acre Pine Creek Conservation Area.
“I’m excited to get started and grateful for the confidence placed in me by the Schoodic Institute board of directors,” said Berry. “I will be working to help the institute and its partners further develop its programs and capitalize on its location and facilities within Acadia to grow into a leading center for environmental research and education on the Maine coast.”
Berry succeeds Michael Soukup, former chief scientist of the National Park Service. Soukup, who was president of the institute for three years, is now serving as its director of science.
During Berry’s tenure, the trust completed the Downeast Lakes Forestry Partnership campaign, expanded the Farm Cove Community Forest to 34,000 acres through purchase of the 7,000-acre Wabassus Lake Tract, and launched the 22,000-acre West Grand Lake Community Forest Project.
“Mark has been crucial in establishing the trust’s strong reputation for careful stewardship of its land; he leaves the organization in excellent position to thrive long into the future,” said trust president Sydney Lea in an announcement.
Downeast Lakes Land Trust has put in place an interim management committee of directors led by vice president and director Lee Whitely and has begun a search for a new executive director.