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Daniel A. Devlin

B.S. Forest Science, 1975; M.S. Wildlife Management, 1979

Daniel A. Devlin earned the bachelor’s degree in Forest Science in 1975 with a minor in Wildlife Biology. He stayed on for graduate studies at Penn State and assisted in teaching courses in wildlife management, aerial photo applications in forestry, dendrology, wildlife natural history, and wildlife ecosystems. He completed the master’s degree in Wildlife Management in 1979 with a minor in Forest Resources. His graduate research addressed “Feeding ecology of elk and white-tailed deer on two clearcuts in Elk County, Pennsylvania” to better understand the role of herbaceous vegetation in the diets of elk and deer. 

Dan is currently Pennsylvania’s State Forester, the 13th in the history of Pennsylvania’s forest management program and the 10th who is a Penn State alumnus. As State Forester and Director of the Bureau of Forestry, Dan has oversight and leadership responsibility for the management of 2.2 million acres of state forest lands; forest fire management across the Commonwealth; forest insect and disease control and management; conservation of Pennsylvania’s native wild plants including the PA Natural Diversity Inventory; and promoting the conservation of all Pennsylvania’s forest land, both public and private. 

Dan’s first professional position was as Forest Manager for the USDI Bureau of Indian Affairs on the 56,000-acre Grand Portage Indian Reservation in Minnesota. He supervised all forest management and fire control activities on the reservation. In November 1981 he accepted a position with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources’ Bureau of Forestry as its only wildlife biologist. He was responsible for coordinating and administering the Bureau of Forestry’s fauna management program. This entailed statewide fauna habitat management on all two million acres of state forest land, providing technical assistance to private forestlands through the Forest Stewardship (formerly Cooperative Forestry Management) program, as well as serving as liaison with the PA Game Commission and the PA Fish and Boat Commission. 

In 1990, Dan moved into Resource Planning in the Bureau of Forestry, initially as Forest Program Manager and in 2000, as Division Chief. In these roles he was responsible for directing and coordinating the Bureau’s planning efforts. He also directed the bureau’s inventory/analysis/monitoring efforts; coordinated activities with U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Monitoring program; coordinated the bureau’s land acquisition/exchange program; and directed the bureau’s ecological resource management efforts including fauna habitat management, the wild plant management program including the Commonwealth’s Natural Heritage Program, and the Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory. 

In 2004 Dan was promoted to Assistant State Forester and Director of Forest Planning and Stewardship, responsible for directing all aspects of the statewide Forest Stewardship Program (private forest lands) and resource planning initiatives. He also directed the operational activities of six forest districts encompassing 33 of the Commonwealth’s 67 counties and 88,000 acres of state forest lands. 

In 2007 Dan was promoted to State Forester, responsible for the management of the entire state forest land system. For a 15-month period, from November 2013 to January 2015, Dan also had the honor of pulling double duty in state service. He was appointed Deputy Secretary for Parks and Forestry in the DCNR, and remained State Forester, too. As the Deputy Secretary, he was responsible for directing the daily operations of the Bureau of Forestry as well as the Bureaus of State Parks and Facility, Design and Construction (1400 employees). In this capacity he played a key role in developing policy and executive positions on a variety of issues including Marcellus Shale oil and gas development. 

Additional career highlights include: 

• Co-authoring the Penn State extension publication, Wetlands and Wildlife

• Developing and publishing revegetation strategies for 12 major pipelines through the state forest system, which have been applied extensively in the eastern United States 

• Acquiring 50,000+ acres of new state forest lands 

• Adding 18 new Natural Areas and 2 new Wild Areas to the state forest system 

• Developing “reservation guidelines” for timber sale activities that incorporate future stand diversity and aesthetic considerations 

• Coordinating the development of the Bureau of Forestry’s strategic plan, Penn’s Woods – Sustaining our Forests 

• Guiding the first major reorganization of Bureau of Forestry central office functions and realignment of District Field Offices in 50 years 

• Developing Recreation Units for the PA Wilds initiative. 

• Creating the Communication Section within the Bureau of Forestry. 

• Providing oversight of all Marcellus Gas Leasing and Monitoring activities on state forest lands. 

• Providing oversight of the third FSC certification of Pennsylvania’s State Forests. 

Dan’s leadership roles include serving as president for the Northeastern Area Association of State Foresters, serving as National Association of State Foresters (NASF) liaison to Northeastern Forest Resource Planner’s Committee, representing NASF on several meetings on sustainability standards including an international meeting in Melbourne, Australia, serving as a member of the executive committee of the Pennsylvania Chapter of The Wildlife Society for six years (including two years as president), and serving as president of Northeastern Forest Resource Planner’s Association for one term. 

Dan’s work efforts and achievements have been recognized by several organizations. Dan received an Outstanding Wildlife Biologist award from the National Wild Turkey Federation, a Forest Sustainability Leadership award from the U.S. Forest Service, a leadership award for the Susquehanna River Trail project from the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and a Distinguished Fellow Award from Penn State Mont Alto. 

Dan remains active in conservation not only as the State Forester, but as a member of the Pennsylvania Hardwoods Development Council, the Penn State Department of Ecosystem Science and Management’s Advisory Board, and as member of both the Goddard and Ibberson Chair Advisory Committees. 

Dan is happily married to his wife Jean who is also an ardent advocate for our natural world and for educating people young and old about the beauty and importance of our natural resources. Dan and Jean have two children (Patrick and Sorrel) who are both navigating their own paths, and two grandchildren (Fiona and Flynn) who have an abundance of energy and spread joy wherever they go. Dan and Jean enjoy hunting, fishing, walking in the woods, gardening, and reading.