The staff and board members of WeConservePA are deeply saddened by the sudden and devastating loss of Dr. Jim Finley. Jim was a warm and caring person and passionate about forests and forest conservation. His passing is a terrible loss for the many people he touched and for all the conservation he would have helped move forward in the coming years.
Jim served on WeConservePA’s Policy Council and was a hugely appreciated educator at Pennsylvania Land Conservation Conferences and other WeConservePA events. He also served on the boards of WeConservePA member organizations the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the Foundation for Sustainable Forests.
Promoting and educating on sound forest practices and advancing forest conservation was both a vocation and avocation for Jim. Jim educated tens of thousands of private forest landowners and mentored hundreds of students and professionals in addition to contributing to forest scholarship.
Jim retired in 2017 after 42 years working for Penn State. At that time, he was the Ibberson Professor of Forest Resources, Director of the Center for Private Forests at Penn State (which he founded in 2011), and Pennsylvania extension forester. During his tenure at Penn State, he conducted research and extension education programs focused on people and sustainable forest resource management on private forestland. He was the co-founder of Penn State’s Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment dual title graduate degree program, and senior research fellow for the Pinchot Institute for Conservation.