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Barbara Dean

Barbara, wearing glasses and a light jacket, smiles at the camera in front of a tall green hedge.

Before retiring in 2015, Barbara was Executive Editor for Island Press, a nonprofit publisher of books on environmental issues. After graduating from Duke University with a degree in French and receiving an M.A. in Psychology from California State University, she cofounded Island Press in 1978.

Island Press has since published more than 800 books offering ideas and practical tools to people working to solve environmental problems. Barbara’s focus as Executive Editor was acquiring and developing books within the ecosystems studies subject area, encompassing biodiversity conservation, restoration ecology, conservation biology, ecology, forestry, freshwater systems, invasive species, fire ecology, trophic cascades, and climate change. She worked with dedicated scientists and writers who expand human understanding of how nature works. Highlights of her program include Continental Conservation, edited by Michael E. Soulé and John Terborgh; Noninvasive Survey Methods for Carnivores, edited by Robert Long, Paula MacKay, et al.; The Wolf’s Tooth, by Cristina Eisenberg; An Introduction to Restoration Ecology, by Evelyn Howell et al.; Trophic Cascades, edited by James Estes and John Terborgh; Forgotten Grasslands of the South, by Reed Noss; and Collected Papers of Michael E. Soulé on Conservation Biology.

In 2013, Barbara led the collaboration between Island Press and Wildlands Network to develop and publish the 3-part e-book by John Davis, Big, Wild, and Connected, which tells the story of TrekEast—John’s 7,600-mile human-powered journey from Florida to Canada to scout the Eastern Wildway. Barbara was also part of the Editorial Advisory Committee of Wild Earth, published by Wildlands Network (then The Wildlands Project) in the late 1990s. She joined the Wildlands Network board shortly after the turn of the century. Barbara lives in a remote part of northern California, pursuing her interests in natural history, writing, and conservation.