Mark Wenzler begins his service to Chautauqua Institution as Director of the Climate Change Initiative on June 14, 2021. He works primarily out of the Institution’s Washington, D.C., office while also maintaining a significant presence on the grounds at Chautauqua during each Summer Assembly and otherwise as called for by Climate Change Initiative programs and experiences. Under Mark’s direction, the Climate Change Initiative has three primary areas of focus: education, stewardship and justice.
Before Chautauqua, Mark served as senior vice president for conservation programs at the National Parks Conservation Association, a not-for-profit organization working since 1919 to protect and enhance America’s National Park system for present and future generations. He created and managed multiple programs focused on addressing climate change, air and water pollution, landscape conservation, energy development and sustainability.
Mark also directed the climate and energy programs at the National Environmental Trust (now the Pew Charitable Trust’s Environment Group). He is a lawyer who began his career as a deputy attorney general prosecuting environmental cases for the New Jersey Division of Law, Environmental Practice Group, and later joined the Public Justice legal advocacy organization to represent organizations and communities in pursing environmental justice against polluters.
Mark volunteers as chair of the board of trustees of Experience Learning, a high-alpine wilderness-based nonprofit focusing on experiential learning adventure programs for children and adults. He also volunteers as secretary of the board of directors of Climate Ride, a non-profit that runs multiday cycling and hiking adventures around the globe, raising awareness and funds to fight climate change and advance a just and sustainable future. He previously served as volunteer chair of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Sierra Club.
Mark earned his law degree at Syracuse University, where he also completed a master’s degree in international relations at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, with a focus on economic and environmental policy. He earned his Bachelor of Arts at Providence College. A New Jersey shore native, he resides in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C., with his spouse Dare, daughter Nina and dog Ranger. He is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys backpacking, bike touring, backcountry skiing, paddling, wilderness running and adventure travel.
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