Thursday, October 7, 2021

In Memoriam - Dr. Jim Finley, Fmr. Director Of The Center For Private Forests At Penn State

Here are statements issued by the Foundation for Sustainable Forests, and WeConservePA on the passing of Dr. Jim Finley--

Foundation For Sustainable Forests

The Foundation for Sustainable Forests community, along with so many others across the state, is mourning the tragic loss of one of its treasured Board Members, Dr. Jim Finley.

Jim joined the FSF’s Board over ten years ago and has been invaluable to the organization’s development, most recently leading its long-term vision and strategic planning initiative.

Across the region, Jim has educated and served countless lives and organizations for decades, all as a champion of Pennsylvania’s forests and the people who own and steward them.

We can only begin to imagine the magnitude of this loss to the FSF and the whole region. 

For now, please include Jim’s friends and family in your thoughts as they grieve the loss of their husband, father, mentor and friend.


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.

(Note: To add a statement send an email to: )

(Reprinted from the WeConservePA website and the Foundation for Sustainable Forests website)

[Posted: October 7, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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