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Andrew Wetzler, Director, Land & Wildlife Program, Chicago

Andrew Wetzler

I grew up in New York City but spent my summers canoeing and hiking in Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and Canada.  I went to law school with the intention of working in the environmental movement and have been with NRDC since 1998--first in NRDC's Los Angeles office and later in Columbus, Ohio.  My primary focus is on wildlife conservation.  Among other things, I've worked with NRDC to protect whales from Naval sonar, California condors from lead poisoning, and polar bears from global warming. 

Recent Posts

"Is this earth just for us?" NRDC film Wild Things Premieres on cable TV

Posted May 8, 2015 by Andrew Wetzler

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Every time I watch the closing scene in Wild Things, the NRDC documentary about USDA's Wildlife Services program, I choke up. Every time. Doug Smith, leader of Yellowstone National Park's Gray Wolf Restoration Project, is framed against a Wyoming forest....continued

Despite its Critics, China Takes an Important Step to Curb the Ivory Trade

Posted March 31, 2015 by Andrew Wetzler

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A month ago, on the eve of a visit by Prince William and in the face of continued poaching of elephants throughout Africa, China made an announcement: for the next year it would ban the import of all ivory carvings....continued

The California Gnatcatcher, Big Polluters, and Undisclosed Scientific Funding -- It's Not Just Climate Skeptics

Posted February 25, 2015 by Andrew Wetzler

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Transparency and conflicts of interest in science have been in the papers a lot this week, after a lengthy New York Times article revealed that one of the nation's leading climate skeptics accepted more than a million dollars in...continued

Proposed Budget Would Cut Funding for Wildlife Services

Posted February 20, 2015 by Andrew Wetzler

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The Obama Administration recently announced its proposed budget for fiscal year 2016. The President's budget would cut about $10 million from Wildlife Service's "wildlife damage management" program. This could be great news for wildlife--especially native carnivores. Wildlife Services is...continued

Permission to Play in the Dirt: DePaul Art Museum Illuminates the Beauty of Decay

Posted January 30, 2015 by Andrew Wetzler

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Turn on a TV or open a magazine and chances are you'll see messages deriding dirt as a nuisance, a mess, and even dangerous to our health. But we neglect dirt at our peril. Rooted in Soil, a brand new...continued

Three Cheers for Dianne Feinstein and Lindsey Graham: Senators' New Bill Would Bring the Hammer Down On Wildlife Traffickers

Posted January 27, 2015 by Andrew Wetzler

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One of the biggest obstacles to ending the illegal wildlife trade is weak penalties. The United States is a prime example. As the value of wildlife products has skyrocketed, low fines and minimal prison sentences under federal law make...continued

Chicago's Violet Hour is covered in native flowers to remember and restore our prairies

Posted November 10, 2014 by Andrew Wetzler

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Turn on a random nature show and you’re likely to see a rainforest or, perhaps, a mountain range, or a shot of the Arctic tundra.  What you most likely will not see is a prairie.  That’s too bad, because...continued

Tell it to the Birds: Confession and the Nature of Change

Posted September 19, 2014 by Andrew Wetzler

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Last night I had the opportunity to experience a new installation by NRDC artist-in-residence, Jenny Kendler, at the opening of EXPO Chicago. The piece, “Tell it to the Birds,” asks participants to enter a beautiful small dome, where they sit...continued

Why the Secretary of Agriculture Is Right to Try to Close Idaho's Sheep Experiment Station

Posted July 16, 2014 by Andrew Wetzler

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Conservation biology has long taught us that if we want to preserve the few truly wild places left in North America we must, to the greatest extent possible, connect them.  Providing animals with easily accessible and relatively safe corridors and...continued

What does the Republican Party have against elephants?

Posted July 8, 2014 by Andrew Wetzler

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Every once and a while, House Republicans really make me scratch my head. I’m used to the endless anti-environmental “riders” attached to bills that fund the federal government, just one part of a systematic assault on environmental protection that has...continued

Time to Protect Our Wildest Places From One Of Our Deadliest Poisons

Posted June 10, 2014 by Andrew Wetzler

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Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Today the Humane Society of the United States and NRDC, along with 10 other organizations, filed a legal petition to ban the use of lead ammunition in our National Parks and...continued

Happy Endangered Species Day

Posted May 16, 2014 by Andrew Wetzler

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Today is Endangered Species Day. Going through the routines of our life, swaddled by technology, it's easy to think of the world as a familiar and well-known place. But it's not.  We share this planet with a dazzling array of...continued

Setting the Record Straight: Why Wildlife Services Needs to Be Investigated

Posted April 7, 2014 by Andrew Wetzler

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In case you missed it, this weekend NPR News featured a story about Wildlife Services, the federal program that kills 100,000 native predators each year, and the ongoing federal investigation into its activities. In the piece, several claims are attributed...continued

New Polar Bear Population Assessment is Released: Commercial Hunting Continues, Even in Populations That Are Declining

Posted March 3, 2014 by Andrew Wetzler

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  Last week, some of the world’s leading polar bear scientists released the most up-to-date information about the world’s last-remaining polar bear populations. Although some populations have temporarily stabilized, the assessment also reveals a serious ongoing problem with hunting: Hunters...continued

Independent Scientific Panel Rebukes Science in Federal Government's Wolf Delisting Rule

Posted February 7, 2014 by Andrew Wetzler

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Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released an independent scientific review of its proposal to strip endangered species protections from gray wolves in the lower-48. The panel was specifically asked...continued

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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