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Jim Brett
African Bush Safaris


Jim Brett has worked 50 years in conservation, and is recognized by the Department of Environmental Protection as one of the top environmental leaders of Pennsylvania. A life-long naturalist, he began teaching natural history in the public school system before joining the staff at Hawk Mountain in 1971 where he developed the education, international training and volunteer programs, and established a premier visitor center. His work at the sanctuary increased its stature from a regional wildlife reserve to an organization of international significance and stature.

Jim BrettJim left Hawk Mountain in 1996 to become the first Executive Director of the Ned Smith Center for Nature and the Arts, a position he held for three years until he was appointed by Governor Tom Ridge as the Commonwealth’s Senior Conservation Advisor. During his tenure with the Governor he formed the Governor’s Youth Council for Sportsmen’s Concerns and Conservation. Jim continued his conservation work with state government into Governor Rendell’s administration where he served as an assistant to the Secretary of Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

He is founder of the PA Institute for Conservation Education (Wildlife Leadership Academy) with colleague Michele Kittell. The Institute has received recognition from across the Commonwealth for its development of innovative natural history education and stewardship programs offered to a wide and diverse audience. Jim serves as Honorary President of the organization and is very active in its leadership, development and educational programs.

He has extensive international experience and continues to lead natural history safaris across the globe which in turn support conservation initiatives. He also serves on the Board of the African Nature Conservation Trust and has life memberships in the Society for Protection of Nature in Israel, the Endangered Wildlife Trust in South Africa, and is a Fellow in the Explorer’s Club. His most recent project in Africa is involved with establishing migratory corridors for elephants between Tanzania and Mozambique. On one of his recent travels to Africa, he discovered the oldest homo sapiens footprints in Africa. What is most poignant about the discovery is that it resulted in the protection of a habitat that supported over a million Lesser Flamingos, a threatened species.
Jim has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Kutztown University for his conservation education accomplishments through the International Global Wildlife Educational Internship Program as well as his work on wildlife heritage in the Commonwealth, and was honored in 2012 by the Pennsylvania Lands Trust as a 'conservation hero.

Jim Brett exemplifies conservation leadership and serves as an extraordinary role model for Pennsylvanians through his great work in environmental education and conservation and through his cultural understanding, in Pennsylvania, nationally and around the world.


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