Art Davis PA conservation figure

Arthur A. Davis

June 20, 1922 – March 9, 2014

Arthur Alexander Davis, the son of schoolteachers, was born in New York City on the last day of spring 1922. Maybe it was timing – probably it was his parents – but he was born with an innate love of nature that manifested in a first job at age 15 in New York’s Museum of Natural History and carried him through until his retirement as Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Resources in 1994. Between those two milestones was a work life devoted to the environment, from graduation from the Yale School of Forestry to work with the US Fish & Wildlife Service to Director of the federal Open Space Land Program to The Conservation Foundation to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to acceptance of the first Goddard Chair at Pennsylvania State University.

He was proudest of establishment of Pennsylvania’s mandatory recycling program during his tenure at DER, but implementation of the Keystone Recreation, Park & Conservation Fund, surface mining clean-up and reclamation, wetlands and water protection and establishment of the Wild Resource Conservation Fund are all directly attributable to his belief that “the role of government is to help the disenfranchised, provide opportunity for people and support sound environmental and conservation policy.”