Eco tip: Brian and his wife Amy religiously recycle everything they can in hopes of keeping as much garbage as possible out of landfills while teaching their children important lessons about protecting the environment.
Nature.org: What are your job duties as the chapter’s Director of Conservation?
Dr. Brian Boutin: I work with our staff and board to formulate a conservation vision for the chapter which touches upon many aspects of the Conservancy’s work, including managing nature preserves, weighing in on relevant state and federal government policies, and working with partners interested in implementing pertinent conservation practices. For every conservation strategy we decide to pursue, I’ll be keeping in mind its influence on the larger land and seascapes which have our focus: the Delaware River and Bay, the Mid-Atlantic Seascape and the Chesapeake Bay.
Nature.org: Have you always had an interest in conservation?
Dr. Brian Boutin: Yes! When I was very small I accompanied my Dad on digs at Pepper Creek as part of his graduate studies in Geology at the University of Delaware. There I discovered treasures like fossils and cow bones while playing in the mud. Not long after that my grandparents moved to Ocean View. During my two-week visit each summer I surfed, fished and swam – becoming a true water rat! These were my first good memories of being outside. Today everything we do as a family involves many of the same activities.
Nature.org: How did your career path lead to working with The Nature Conservancy?
Dr. Brian Boutin: I worked with the Conservancy’s North Carolina chapter earlier in my career. After some time away with another organization, I realized that this was the only place where I wanted to work. You can’t find this mission, the motivation, and the collaboration anywhere else.
Nature.org: What do you hope to tackle over the next couple of years?
Dr. Brian Boutin: Climate adaptation is going to take a front row seat – especially with the state of Delaware going through a sea-level rise planning process. My hope is to advance their recommendations at the Conservancy’s nature preserves and on partners’ lands to help Delaware be more resilient in the future.
A native of Delaware, Dr. Brian Boutin also spent much of his life in North Carolina where he earned a B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of North Carolina before returning to the First State to pursue his Ph.D. in Marine Studies from the University of Delaware. Most recently, Boutin worked for the South Florida Water Management District to identify the impacts of managed freshwater inflows on estuaries. He also led the North Carolina chapter of the Conservancy’s Climate Change Adaptation Project to successfully increase the resiliency of coastal lands to sea level rise, and worked for the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries to update the state’s Coastal Habitat Protection Plan.