Dr. Gary E. Machlis is Science Advisor to the Director, National Park Service, and Professor of Conservation at the University of Idaho. He is the first scientist appointed to this position with the NPS, and advises the director on a range of science policy issues and programs. Dr. Machlis has served as Interim Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Idaho, and been a visiting professor at Nanjing Technological College in China and at Yale University.
Dr. Machlis received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Washington in Seattle, and his Ph.D. in human ecology from Yale. He has written numerous books and scientific papers on issues of conservation, including The State of the World's Parks (1985), the first systematic study of threats to protected areas around the world. He is currently at work on his next co-authored book, The Structure and Dynamics of Human Ecosystems, to be published by Yale University Press in 2012. His research has been published in journals as varied as Bioscience, Climatic Change, Conservation Biology, Society and Natural Resources, and Science.
At the University of Idaho, Dr. Machlis has taught courses in conservation, human ecology and environmental science policy. Dr. Machlis has received the Burlington Northern Award (1994) and University Teaching Excellence Award (1993), the University of Idaho's highest recognitions for teaching, as well as an education grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to combine art, ecology and architecture in innovative ways for students. Dr. Machlis has conducted studies in over 130 US National Parks as diverse as Everglades, the Statue of Liberty, and Yellowstone. In 1996, his research program received a Hammer Award from Vice President Gore for its role in improving efficiency in government. From 1997-99, he served on the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of the President's Commission on Sustainable Development.
Dr. Machlis has been a leader in collaborative higher education, and serves as an advisor to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) National Committee on Opportunities for Women and Minorities in Science. He was instrumental in the development of the nation's Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU) Network, which includes 13 federal agencies and over 200 universities, and served as its National Coordinator from 1998-2006. For this work, Dr. Machlis was a recipient of the Department of the Interior's 2000 Conservation Service Award, one of the highest awards of the Department granted to private citizens.
Dr. Machlis is active in international conservation, and is a member of the IUCN's Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas. He worked in China in 1981 and again in 1986-87 on the Giant Panda Project for the World Wildlife Fund, and has conducted research in the Galápagos Islands, the national parks of Kenya, and in Eastern Europe. Dr. Machlis helped establish and directed the National Parks Science Scholars Program, with over $8 million in scholarships to students throughout the Americas. In 2007, he received the Special Achievement Award from the George Wright Society, the professional society for scientists and resource managers working in protected areas. His current research activities include applying human ecology to conserving national parks, the environmental impacts of warfare and its resulting humanitarian crises, restoration of the Gulf of Mexico following the 2010 oil spill, and advancing science capacity in Haiti after its devastating earthquake. Recently, he was appointed by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to co-lead the Department's Strategic Sciences Group, which has responsibility to conduct interdisciplinary science-based assessments during national environmental crises. In 2010, Dr. Machlis was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.