Thursday, May 10, 2018

Cliff Jones, A Life Well Lived-- Remarks By DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn

On Wednesday, the PA Parks and Forests Foundation recognized Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn with the Cliff Jones Keystone Legacy Award.
In her remarks accepting the award, Dunn reflected on the life of Cliff Jones, a mentor and a friend to her through most of her professional life.  Here is the text of her remarks--

I am extremely honored and humbled to receive the Cliff Jones Keystone Legacy award. On behalf of the women and men of DCNR, I thank you.  
This award bearing his name is particularly meaningful to me.  
I am very fortunate to have had Cliff as a mentor and a friend.
This past Monday, May 7, was the 10th anniversary of his death.  To all of us here who knew him, it felt way too soon.
In my office, there’s a framed photo of a Peregrine Falcon with an inscription that reads “To Clifford L. Jones, in appreciation of his service to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, PEC  1993.”
Cliff gave this to me just weeks before he died, and I hang it in a prominent place in every office I work in.
Cliff gave so much to public service, to conservation and to so many aspects of civic life that I feel it would be a shame if we lose sight of Cliff’s contributions, and the lessons we can learn from his life.  
There are some people you meet in life who leave a hole when they’re gone and whose niche is really never filled.  Cliff is one of those people.
I often run into his son Brad Jones in Harrisburg, and we talk about the news of the day and often end the conversation with the thought.  Wow – wish Cliff were here to help with that. Or, wonder what Cliff would say about that.
Receiving this award tonight is very meaningful to me, and I want to use my time to talk about some of the lessons we can all take from the life of Cliff Jones, lessons that collectively taken in a large room of conservationists and civic leaders like we have here tonight, could move us forward and inspire the type of action that Cliff would generate.
Just a little background.  Cliff Jones served six governors and held cabinet secretary positions in the departments of Commerce, Labor and Industry, and Environmental Resources. He then chaired the Public Utility Commission and served as President of the Chamber of Business and Industry.
Lesson #1: Be a person of action
A Patriot News editorial the day following his death was headlined “Cliff Jones was a doer across Pennsylvania who could inspire others to action as well.”  
As many will attest, action for good causes was what he was known best for.  
Because he could so effectively get large things done, governors, civic leaders, and others went to him for his assistance, which he generously gave.  He made a profound difference, as Ron Ramsey of The Nature Conservancy quoted.
Cliff was a DCNR Champion. While Secretary of DER, Cliff had a special place in his heart for the mission of state parks.  
He worked with the legislature to create a “Major Maintenance Fund” where by revenue collected any given fiscal year would be available in a fund for improvements and repairs to state park facilities.  
This fund gave agency staff certainty that damages could be repaired and then small projects could be funded, thus preventing the need for larger repairs.  
Cliff was an important voice in the creation of DCNR.   He served on the Ridge Transition Team with two other retired DER secretaries – Maurice Goddard and Peter Duncan.  
Like many who cared about conservation, state parks and forests, he saw that the focus was subsumed by the regulatory demands of the Department of Environmental Resources.  
Only a small portion of any Secretary of DER’s time could be given to the tremendous asset of state parks and forests.
With Maurice Goddard, Bill Forrey and others, he gathered input from dozens of leaders and helped create the impetus to form a separate cabinet-level agency.  
Thus, on July 1, 1995, DCNR was created by Act 18.
Cliff had a particular interest in wildlife.  Walt Pomeroy reminded me that he and Cliff served together for 22 years on the original Advisory Board for the Wild Resource Conservation Fund.
And he was a very strong supporter of the original “Owl Plate” for the Fund that raised close to $3 million and started a “revolution” of new license plate designs for the Commonwealth.
In fact, it was his connections and persuasive abilities with legislators and PennDOT officials that finally convinced them to support the plate.
Lesson #2: People and details matter
While it’s not the role of an agency Secretary to get into the weeds of every issue, good decision making requires knowing staff and the expertise they have.  
I personally find this to be one of the most gratifying aspects of my job as Secretary, and to serve the public, you need to know the people and skills they have to offer to public service.
My most significant mentor in life, my father Robert Adams, worked for Cliff at the Department of Environmental Resources when Cliff was Secretary.  
One thing that really impressed my father about Cliff was that he knew everyone’s name and what they did, despite a large agency with many different functions.
Cliff took the time to talk to his staff, and ask them key questions.  With his laser-sharp memory, he’d retain important information to make decisions in DER.
Lesson #3: Government agencies need non-profit partners
Cliff Jones was instrumental in the formation and leadership of Pennsylvania Parks and Forestry Foundation.
As DCNR’s first Secretary, John Oliver created the Foundation and recruited Cliff, who was a major driver in getting it set up.  Bill Forrey and Bob Griffith were among the initial board that shaped and grew PPFF from concept to fruition.
He also led the hiring process that resulted in Marci Mowery being selected as PPFF’s second President. She recalls a rather arduous four-interview process!  And of course, the rest is history.
Marci has taken PPFF from 8 Friends Groups to over 40 today.
Lesson #4: Take time to help others with good causes
As driven and busy as Cliff was, he was never too busy to assist others with their goals and projects.  Many of the times I needed to ask Cliff for assistance, it related to birds.
Birds were Cliff’s passion and over the course of his life, he traveled to 55 countries and 7 continents.  His bird list totaled 700 North American birds and a whopping 3,800 global species.
On a personal note, I tapped Cliff numerous times to lead birding trips and Birdathons for me as an Audubon State Director and volunteer.
He ran a Birdathon much like a military operation.  The day began at pre-dawn and moved rapidly from place to place in search of birds we had not seen or checked off for that day.  
As Cliff was approaching the end of his heroic battle with cancer, he called me to ask me to come over.  Having heard that Pintails were spotted at Wildwood, he asked for a ride over to take a quick birding foray and survey the lake.  
As we scanned the lake, there were none in sight among the various teal, buffleheads, gadwall, wood ducks and mallards, but as we were getting ready to leave, a pair of Pintails circled in and landed right in front of him.
Lesson #5: Be curious and follow your passions
Cliff was always interested in other cultures and often helped recent immigrants. He set up a support network for Vietnamese refugees and assisted several families in getting settled into the region.
I remember his presentation about Cuba upon his return from a science trip there, and his open-minded curiosity about their government and culture was evident.
Before there was a lot of focus on Pennsylvania’s elk herd, Cliff would lead groups of friends and allies for his various civic pursuits on elk watching trips to Benezette.
I was fortunate to be invited to join a trip, and his knowledge of local residents, Bureau of Forestry and Game Commission staff and local residents added great depth to the trip.
He asked Benezette residents about a family members health status, and I remember being astounded that a person who operated at such a high level of influence here in Harrisburg, knew so much about people’s personal lives and interests.  
He did so because he really cared, but the result was that Cliff had a huge cadre of people who would assist him in good causes and endeavors.
So thank you Cliff for the life lessons you have taught me. I am in the position to receive this award today thanks to Cliff and many of the mentors and colleagues with whom I have worked over the years.
I have been privileged to have a varied career touching many aspects of conservation, but nothing has been more rewarding than my time at DCNR.
I am very proud of what we have been able to accomplish over the last three years under our strategic initiatives, from launching the PA Outdoor Corps and a new buffer program, to developing a new climate adaptation strategy and implementing new green and sustainable practices and technologies and so much more.
I ask that you all join me in helping to live by Cliff’s life lessons:
-- Be a person of action. Be an advocate for state parks and forests. Push for adequate funding for infrastructure. Talk about climate change and how we need to address its impacts.
-- Pay attention to people and details. Appreciate public servants. Today, I stood with the Governor to honor one of DCNR’s rangers, and on Friday, DCNR will be honoring teams and individuals who have conducted outstanding public service over the past year. We are doing great things.
-- Join together government agencies and nonprofits to accomplish great things. Just look at what PPFF and DCNR have been able to do together over 20 years!!
-- Take time to help others. Connect the young people in your life to the outdoors.
-- Be curious and follow your passions!
Thank you to PPFF for recognizing me with Cliff Jones Keystone Award. I am truly honored and humbled to be carrying on his legacy.
Thank you to PPFF for all of the great work that you and your friends groups do every day to help protect and enhance our state parks and forests.
Cliff Jones’ Resume
Here are just a few of the positions held by Cliff Jones, but the man was much more than his resume--
-- Whitaker Center for Arts, Science and Education, board and executive committee and campaign steering committee.
-- Susquehanna Regional Airport Authority, founding member.
-- Capital Region Economic Development Corp., president and CEO, 1992-93.
-- Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, president, 1983-91.
-- Military Heritage Foundation, member of committee that raised funds for the $100 million Army Museum in Middlesex Twp.
-- Public Utility Commission, commissioner and, later, chairman, 1981-83.
-- Department of Environmental Resources, secretary, 1979-81 (including the accident at TMI).
-- Pennsylvanians for Effective Government, president, 1975-79.
-- Republican State Committee, chairman, 1970-74.
-- Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, secretary, 1968-70.
-- Pennsylvania Department of Commerce, secretary, 1967-1968; deputy secretary 1963-67.
--  Environmentalist, member or board member of Hawk Mountain Association, Nature Conservancy, Wild Resources Conservation Fund, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation.
-- Honorary doctoral degrees, Westminster College, Thiel College, Moravian College, Susquehanna University.
Click Here to watch a video on Cliff Jones when he received the PA Resources Council Fox Calhoun Award in 2006, including comments by Cliff.
Ever the renaissance man, Cliff Jones regularly wrote and published poetry in newspapers around the state.  Here is a sample-- “Accents of Alaska” from 2004.
A 2006 article by Patriot-News columnist Nancy Eshelman "’Remarkable Man’ Roosts On Legacy” captures Cliff Jones quite well.  (Special thanks to Walt Pomeroy, who provided leadership to PA Audubon and the PA Organizations or Watersheds and Rivers, for both these pieces.)
2018 PPFF Award Winners
-- Joseph Ibberson Government Award: Rep. Kate Harper (R-Montgomery)
-- President’s Award: PA Wilds Conservation Landscape/The PA Wilds Center
-- Park of the Year: Cook Forest State Park (Clarion County)
-- Forest of the Year: Rothrock State Forest (Centre, Huntingdon, Mifflin Counties)
-- Volunteers of the Year:
  -- Education: Tom and Marilyn Fye, Clear Creek (Jefferson County) and Parker Dam (Clearfield County) state parks
  -- Outstanding Stewardship: Gifford Pinchot Disc Golf Club (York County)
  -- Volunteers: The Over the Hill Gang at Oil Creek State Park (Venango County)
  -- Young Volunteer: Sarah Reeping, Laurel Hill State Park Complex (Somerset County)
Click Here for more on the winners.
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Parks & Forests Foundation website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Foundation,  Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter.  Click Here to become a member of the Foundation.
Related Stories:
Click Here to watch a video on Cliff Jones when he received the PA Resources Council Fox Calhoun Award in 2006, including comments by Cliff.
PA Parks & Forests Foundation Recognizes 2018 Award Winners
PA Environmental Defense Foundation Files Motion To Protect $383 Million In State Forest Drilling Payments

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