Q&A with Tom Abello

Senior Policy Advisor, State Government Affairs

An appreciation for nature is a lifelong journey.

"Regardless of where you go the dedication to the mission is always on top, with the focus on on-the-ground results."

nature.org: Why are you a conservationist?
Abello: Part of it was growing up in a 200-year-old farmhouse on 140 acres in Edgecomb, where much of our food came from our gardens and farm animals. We heated the house with wood from the property, and those same woods provided materials for my father's furniture repair shop. Another inspiration came from annual canoe trips with my father when my brother and I were kids. He d take us down some of the state's best wilderness rivers like the St. Croix, St. John or Aroostook. We both gained an appreciation for nature on those journeys, and I knew I wanted to make a difference for Maine's forests and waterways.

nature.org: What project are you particularly excited about?
Abello: I'm really excited about our work with Maine ground-fishermen. This partnership has been really rewarding for us and the fishermen, too. Just as importantly the research is paying off and showing that we can balance economic needs and conservation needs.

nature.org: What's the best part of your job?
Abello: The best part is visiting legislators in their districts. It's a great way to form relationships and understand their wodd view and the ideas behind their votes.

nature.org: What have you learned working at the Conservancy that surprised you?
Abello: In my 10 years at the Conservancy I've had the great fortune of working throughout the country. Regardless of where you go the dedication to the mission is always on top, with the focus on on-the-ground results.


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