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WildEarth Guardians announces Chris Smith as Wildlife Program Director

May 7, 2024
Hannah Smay, Communications Manager, hsmay@wildearthguardians.org
In This Release
#EndTheWarOnWildlife, #EndangeredSpeciesAct, #ForceForNature, #PressStatement
SANTA FE, N.M.— WildEarth Guardians is delighted to announce the promotion of Chris Smith as the organization’s new Wildlife Program Director. 

Smith grew up in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico where he developed a deep appreciation for wild nature and ecology. He joined WildEarth Guardians in 2017 as the Southern Rockies Wildlife Advocate. 

“Chris has been a dedicated and fierce advocate for wildlife in the Southwest for many years and I’m excited to have him bring his passion and strategic insight to the broader Wildlife Program campaigns,” said Lindsay Larris, conservation director at WildEarth Guardians. 

Prior to joining Guardians, Smith began his career in the Pacific Northwest where he became a community organizer and environmental activist, advocating for coastal forests, rivers, and the communities of people and wildlife that rely upon them. He returned to the high desert landscapes of his upbringing to help protect the resilient wildlife of the area. Smith has a formal education in Religious Studies, and thinks about humans’ relationship with wildness from an ethical perspective. 

“Wildlife are on the frontline of the climate crisis and the culture wars. Both the charismatic big species like grizzlies and wolves in the news and the less-heralded critters knit our ecosystems together, and need protection and respect if our own species is going to have a thriving future,” said Smith. “I’m eager to weave a strong ethic of coexistence into the ongoing story of the American West.”

Smith succeeds Lindsay Larris as Wildlife Program Director, who assumed the role of Conservation Director in April 2024. 


WildEarth Guardians is a conservation nonprofit whose mission is to protect and restore the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health of the American West. Guardians has offices in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington, and over 120,000 members and supporters worldwide.