September 19, 2013
Contact: Dianna Emory
Contact: Sheridan Steele
Winter Harbor, Maine - Three years ago, Dr. Michael Soukup laid aside his plans to go sailing following retirement from his career as Chief Scientist of the National Park Service. According to Dr. Soukup, he found the invitation to become President and CEO of Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, formerly the Schoodic Education and Research Center (SERC) Institute, too much to resist. Recently he announced that, with the completion of his three year commitment to the presidency, he was ready to immerse himself again in science. In October, Dr. Soukup will begin his duties as Director of Science of Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park. Dr. Soukup states, "With the dedication of Rockefeller Hall in July, we finished a seven year renovation of the former Naval Station in Winter Harbor, thanks to private philanthropy and funding from the American Recovery Act. We have a world class facility in the heart of Acadia National Park with programs for all ages that include bird ecology, forest ecology, watershed and ocean ecology, and an environmental history laboratory. Citizen science, life-long learning, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs are the foundation of all of our work. In fact, we are a leading center for citizen science in the United States. There is much to be done to move these programs forward."
Acadia National Park Superintendent Sheridan Steele comments, "Following a distinguished career as Chief Scientist of the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., Mike enthusiastically responded to the invitation to engage deeply in the creation of a science and learning center from the ground up. For years Mike worked with Congress to set up the science, education and research centers in our national parks. With 20 centers across the nation, only Acadia has a facility like the SERC campus from which to run its programs. Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park Board Chairman Alan Goldstein and I thought that Mike would find irresistible the opportunity to put his signature on our project here in Maine."
Chairman Goldstein adds, "We are so very grateful to Mike for agreeing to put his energy into moving our science programs forward. Mike deserves huge credit for essentially doing two jobs for the past three years at Schoodic Institute. He has overseen the creation and implementation of all aspects of this extraordinary facility, while simultaneously working to develop our programs in coordination with Acadia National Park. We are appreciative that he has now agreed to put his tremendous experience and expertise into advancing science, research and education on behalf of all of Acadia. He is a true visionary who can now direct his talents to the work that he loves."
Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park is a publicly supported non-profit organization providing research and life-long learning opportunities tied to its coastal Maine setting within the Schoodic section of Acadia National Park. As Superintendent Steele underscores, "The activities of Schoodic Institute relate to and benefit all of Acadia National Park; the Mount Desert Island, Isle au Haut, and Schoodic sections, as well as the islands and mainland properties on which ANP holds conservation easements." Dr. Soukup continues, "While providing the park managers with usable knowledge in challenging times, a signature feature of the Institute is the immediate link of its research community to powerful educational experiences and opportunities to reach millions of park visitors each year. The Institute uses this science community to guide teachers, students and citizen scientists to greater understanding of and respect for nature and greater interest in environmental sciences and mathematics." SERC, the totally renovated and upgraded former Winter Harbor Naval Station, is home to the Schoodic Institute. The Institute manages the campus, which offers housing and meals for groups and conferences of up to 200 people, classrooms, laboratories and a modern 125-seat auditorium, and provides a supportive base for faculty and graduate students doing research in eastern Maine.
Chairman Goldstein states that the search for a new CEO of Schoodic Institute will begin immediately, in order to allow Dr. Soukup to focus his attention on developing "world class" science and education programs in Acadia. He will remain as CEO through October 31, and then transition to the Director of Science position.