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Mitch Friedman

Mitch Friedman's biography. At Conservation Northwest, Mitch has led the effort to infuse landscape scale conservation biology into advocacy strategy.

A life for the trees

Mitch Friedman is the executive director of Conservation Northwest, which he founded in 1988 after being an activist leader in efforts to save ancient forests. He was a founding board member of The Wildlands Network, Western Lands Alliance, and the Bellingham Bay Foundation. He has a degree in zoology from the University of Washington and has received conservation awards from Sunset Magazine, Society for Conservation Biology, The Wilderness Society, and others. In 2003 he was named by Washington Law and Politics Magazine as one of the "25 smartest people in Washington." 

At Conservation Northwest, Mitch has led the effort to infuse landscape scale conservation biology into advocacy strategy. The success of this approach is evident in great gains protecting habitat connectivity between the North Cascades Ecosystem and wild areas to the south (Central Cascades, across the I-90 landscape), east (the Rockies), and northwest (BC Coast and Chilcotin Ranges), as well as recovery of native carnivores including wolves, fisher, lynx and wolverine.

Among his best known stunts are:

  • Organizing the first spotted owl protection protests;
  • Spending several days in the canopy of an ancient tree as one of the first tree-sitting protesters;
  • Conceiving and organizing the Ancient Forest Rescue Expedition, nationwide educational tours featuring a giant log towed by a semi-truck;
  • Executing the first non-logging high bid for a Forest Service timber sale (called Thunder Mountain); and
  • Spearheading the dramatic protection of the Loomis State Forest wildlands.

Mitch has two daughters, Jessie and Carrie. He lives in Bellingham, Washington.

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