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“Applying the very best science and scholarly research to management of national parks is critical,” said NPS Director Jon Jarvis. “The appointment of Dr. Machlis to this new and important position will advance the role of science within our agency as we meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. Dr. Machlis’ is a proven leader and innovator within the scientific community.”
In his new role, Machlis will help in the effective delivery of scientific information to NPS managers, decision makers, the Department of the Interior (DOI), Congress, stakeholders, park visitors and citizens. He also will help assure that NPS uses the best available science to address complex natural and cultural resource challenges facing the Service – from climate change to youth science education.
Machlis continues as a University of Idaho faculty member and is serving in this role through the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, with his salary and benefits paid by the National Park Service during the assignment.
“I am enthused and grateful for the opportunity to serve as the first Science Advisor to the NPS Director,” said Machlis. “This is an extraordinary time to advance science within the Service, and I look forward to working with the DOI and NPS leadership, our outstanding scientists, partner agencies, field professionals and the scientific community.”
Machlis, a Seattle native, has been at the University of Idaho since 1979.
"Dr. Machlis’ appointment is a great example of how the University of Idaho partners with key organizations to expand intellectual boundaries for the good of our planet,” said Bill McLaughlin, dean of the University's College of Natural Resources. “His outstanding leadership continually positions the University to provide sustainable solutions for a changing world.”
"Gary blends great science with practical application in a way that has made an impact for years in developing best conservation practices for other countries as well as in the U.S.," said former Idaho Provost Doug Baker. "This new post will enable him to serve even more effectively the university’s commitment to innovative research, technology and leadership. We are pleased that he will step into this national leadership role."
While firmly rooted in Idaho, Machlis' teaching career has had a global impact. A few examples of his international leadership include:
- 1990 - academic specialist for the U.S Information Agency at Moi University in, Eldoret, Kenya
- 1980 - adjunct professor at Nanjing Technological College of Forest Products in the People’s Republic of China.
- Founding member of the Wolong Nature Reserve International Advisory Council, and adviser to its facilitiy managers
- Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources’ Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas.
During 30 years of active research, Machlis has received more than $12 million in grant and contract awards, including more than $1.4 million for the Canon National Parks Science Scholars Program. He helped create the National Parks Ecological Fellowship Program, with more than $4 million in fellowships provided by the Mellon Foundation.
Machlis earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Washington in Seattle and his doctorate in human ecology from Yale.