Conservation Icon Mamie Parker to Speak Jan. 31

January 23, 2017

Contact: Tim Lucas, 919/613-8084 or

DURHAM, N.C. – Renowned conservationist Mamie Parker, the first African-American to head a regional agency at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), will present a free public talk about her trailblazing career at 6 p.m. Jan. 31 at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

Parker’s talk, titled “Power Up! Beyond Stuck, Stalled and Scared,” will take place at Field Auditorium in Environment Hall, 9 Circuit Drive on Duke’s West Campus.

The talk is part of Rising TIDE, a Nicholas School initiative designed to inform and train students, faculty and staff in knowledge and skills essential to fostering diversity and inclusion in environmental fields.

The youngest of 11 children, Parker developed her love for ecology fishing with her mother, a sharecropper, in south Arkansas. She went on to study at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff before joining USFWS, where she became the first African-American to head a regional agency and serve as assistant director of Fisheries and Habitat Conservation. At USFWS, she also served as ecosystem coordinator in the agency’s Great Lakes and Big Rivers Region and worked in many of its other programs, including those on national fish hatcheries, national wetlands and coastal mapping, contaminants, invasive species, marine mammals, and wetland restoration and protection.  

Parker serves on the board of directors for the Chesapeake Conservancy, the National Wildlife Refuge Association, Defenders of Wildlife and the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership Steering Committee.

She currently owns a public speaking and executive coaching business, MA Parker & Associates, in the Washington, D.C., area.

There will be a light reception prior to Parker’s talk at 5 p.m. in the Student Commons outside of Field Auditorium.


by Sergio Tovar, social media specialist