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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

Muslim Leaders Call for Climate Action

Posted August 19, 2015 by Andrew Wetzler

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Yesterday, a group of prominent Muslim leaders issued a declaration on the urgent need to address climate change. The declaration is a detailed document, drawing both on policy and science as well as the Koran and Muslim religious texts....continued

Wildlife Services Tries and Fails to Buy a "Get Out of Jail Free" Card

Posted August 3, 2015 by Andrew Wetzler

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In a decision that will have repercussions for the USDA's Wildlife Services program across the country, a federal Court of Appeals ruled today that the agency may not escape court review of their predator killing program just because State...continued

UN's World Heritage Committee Agrees to Examine Plight of Monarch Migration

Posted July 2, 2015 by Andrew Wetzler

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The following is a guest blog by NRDC Senior Attorney Rebeca Riley I'm writing from Bonn, Germany with good news: the UNESCO World Heritage Committee will start looking into the plight of the monarch butterflies that spend every winter in...continued

"Each creature has its own purpose" -- Pope Francis on the moral imperative to preserve biodiversity during the Sixth Extinction

Posted June 22, 2015 by Andrew Wetzler

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Last week, just about the same time that Pope Francis released a groundbreaking Encyclical outlining the Catholic Church's teaching on protecting the natural world, a team of scientists released sobering report of their own. Concluding that "the average rate...continued

No Birds For You! House Passes Provision to End All Migratory Bird Protections in the United States (UPDATED)

Posted June 4, 2015 by Andrew Wetzler

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Spring is finally here, and with it the return of birds to backyards and playgrounds across America. So, naturally, it is also the perfect time for Congressional Republicans to completely suspend one of the main laws protecting them. First...continued

"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

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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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