By KIM SMITH DEDAM
---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — A new conservation director joins the Adirondack Council on March 18.
The state’s largest environmental group hired Raul “Rocci” Aguirre, a former National Parks ranger, to fill the vacancy left when Allison Buckley took a job with the State Department of Environmental Conservation last November.
Aguirre is leaving a position as conservation projects manager at the Monadnock Conservancy, based in Keene, N.H., and was former director of land protection for the Finger Lakes Land Trust.
He also has worked as a coordinator for Trout Unlimited in the Catskills, where his effort was focused on habitat restoration, land conservation and water rights, according to biographical information from Monadnock.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in outdoor recreation and a Bachelor or Arts in American history from SUNY Cortland. He received a Master of Science degree in 2011 in resource management and conservation from Antioch University New England.
In a prepared statement, Aguirre said he can’t wait to start the new job.
“The Adirondack Council is the most influential environmental advocate for the largest park in the contiguous United States. What happens here makes a difference to the entire U.S. conservation effort,” he said.
“As a former wilderness ranger, I have a unique perspective and appreciation for the organization’s mission to protect the ecological health and wild beauty of the Adirondack Park.”
He said his years of experience working with private landowners and rural communities will support the council’s vision of balance in Adirondack Park land use.
NEW DIRECTOR, TOO
Aguirre was a seasonal park ranger and forest technician with the National Park Service from 1995 to 2003, according to the Adirondack Council’s press release, and he worked in parks throughout the United States, from California to Lackawaxen, Penn.
He is a licensed fly-fishing guide.
The new conservation director begins work alongside the council’s new executive director, Willie Janeway, who cited Aguirre’s Park Service experience as an asset for “fresh perspective.”
Janeway takes the helm in May.
The Adirondack Council’s most recent 990 form, from 2011, posted on the Foundation Center’s website at Foundation.org, shows former Executive Director Brian Houseal was the group’s highest-paid employee with reportable compensation of $154,126 at 40 hours per week, plus more than $9,000 in other compensation.
The council reported total assets that year at $2.5 million, with gifts, grants, membership and contributions of $1.3 million.
Total expenditures to influence government in 2011 were reported at $20,362 to lobby New York state lawmakers and the governor on 11 subjects: the Forest Preserve, timber constitutional amendment, Raquette Lake water amendment, Township 40 constitutional amendment, invasive-species control, the Adirondack Park Agency, mercury thermostats, global warming, APA reform, utility vehicles, and feral pigs.
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