Larry Schweiger is the former president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation, the largest membership-based education and conservation advocacy organization. He served as President for ten years and an additional fourteen years as Federation’s senior vice president of conservation programs and in other Federation capacities including publisher for National Wildlife and Ranger Rick. He was also first vice president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and President and chief executive officer of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy for more than eight years.
Under Schweiger’s leadership, fighting climate change became the Federation’s top priority. His book, Last Chance: Preserving Life on Earth, won first prize for nonfiction in the 2011 and first prize for science at the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The same year, Schweiger won the Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future Visionary Award for his leadership in raising awareness about the impacts of climate change and for his commitment to clean-energy solutions. His tenure at the Federation was marked by his determined efforts to safeguard the nation’s wildlife against climate change and other ecological threats. He spent thirty days on the Gulf of Mexico in the middle of the BP spill helping to get the story of America’s largest oil spill to the American public.
Schweiger retired from the National Wildlife Federation in the spring of 2014. He is currently finishing his second book tentatively entitled: The Nature of Tomorrow still dedicates his work to public speaking, writing and finding solutions to climate change and Larry continues to advocate for wildlife conservation.
During Larry’s eight years with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the organization’s annual budget grew from less than $3 million to nearly $12 million dollars and a newly established annual capital budget grew to five million dollars. Larry also led a capital campaign that raised $12.5 million to restore Fallingwater and $7 million for resource conservation programs and $1 million in capitol funds to launch a watershed assistance center. WPC’s endowed funds grew from $29 million to $44 million during a time the dotcom bubble with steep market downturns. In Larry’s final year at WPC, the organization was selected to receive a business ethics award from the National Business Ethics Association and Pitt University Katz School of Business.
Prior to joining WPC, Schweiger was the 1st Vice president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, where he was responsible for the foundation’s resource protection, land trust activities and tri-state advocacy programs. Larry led the drafting of CBF’s first strategic plan with benchmark indicators and developed a case statement that led to the CBF raising nearly $50 million in a capitol campaign.
Schweiger also served as the executive director of the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee for the Pennsylvania General Assembly and was variously involved in the passage of 28 environmental laws over a ten-year period. Larry drafted the Wild Resources Conservation Act to protect Pennsylvania’s threatened plants and the provisions of the Game Law to create a bear license that successfully funded black bear recovery.
Schweiger is the founding chairman of the National Institute for Conservation Leadership an organization dedicated to strengthening volunteer leadership in America’s conservation and environmental organizations. Larry also worked with Former Vice President Al Gore to launch Climate Reality and currently serves on the CR board and Chair of Climate Reality Action Fund. Larry also acted as the founding executive director of the Friends of Gettysburg National Parks-the most successful National Park friend’s organization in the Nation that build the hundred million dollar museum. For his many conservation efforts the Waynesburg University honored Larry with a Doctor of Humane Letters.