Collin O’Mara serves as President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, America’s largest wildlife conservation organization with 49 state and territorial affiliates and nearly six million members and supporters. Under O’Mara’s leadership, the National Wildlife Federation is focused on conserving wildlife ranging from bison and bighorn sheep to pollinators like monarch butterflies and native bees, defending public lands and access to outdoor recreation, restoring America’s waterbodies, improving habitat resilience, advancing environmental education (including publishing Ranger Rick magazines), and connecting every American child with the great outdoors.
He comes to the National Wildlife Federation from the state government of Delaware where he led the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control as Cabinet Secretary from 2009 through 2014. In that position, Secretary O’Mara served as the state’s top environmental official, led the state’s efforts to conserve and restore wildlife and fishery habitat, improve air quality and public health, ensure access to clean water, expand outdoor recreation and environmental education opportunities, and enhance the state’s resilience to extreme weather and other climate impacts.
When O’Mara was appointed in 2009, he was the youngest state cabinet official in the nation. He spearheaded a range of initiatives, including Delaware’s “No Child Left Inside”/ Children In Nature campaign, a comprehensive strategy to confront childhood obesity by reintroducing children to the outdoors; the First State Trails and Pathways Plan, a multi-year initiative to expand and connect the state’s trail system; and the Delaware Bayshore Initiative, an effort to establish the region as a world-class conservation and low-impact recreation tourism destination for hunting, birding, fishing, hiking, canoeing, and kayaking, as part of the President’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.
In addition, Secretary O’Mara led the largest investment in environmental infrastructure in Delaware’s history, including more than $200 million in wastewater and storm-water systems, beach restoration, dam and dike repair, drainage projects, and park and wildlife areas. At the same time, he successfully executed the first significant reorganization of the state’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control since 1972, to make the agency more effective at implementing strategic priorities and more efficient in carrying out its mission at a time of limited resources.
O’Mara has served on numerous boards including as Co-Chair of the Natural Resources and Agriculture Subcommittee of the President’s Task Force on Climate Adaptation and Preparedness, Chair of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Chair of the Ozone Transport Commission, Chair of the Climate and Energy Subcommittee of the Environmental Council of the States, and the Executive Council of the Chesapeake Bay Program.
Prior to his position with the state of Delaware, O’Mara served as the Clean Tech Strategist for the City of San Jose, California, where he was a primary architect of the City’s Green Vision, and as the Director of SyraStat for the City of Syracuse, New York, where he oversaw the City’s performance management and accountability program.
A native of Syracuse, New York, O’Mara was a Marshall Scholar at the University of Oxford, a University Fellow at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and a Presidential Scholar at Dartmouth College. He is a Catto Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a U.S. Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professional, and completed Stanford Business School’s Executive Management Program in Environmental Sustainability.
O’Mara lives in Delaware and spends every possible moment in nature with his wife Krish and daughter Riley.