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Friends of Acadia President Marla O’Byrne to Step Down

Bar Harbor -

BAR HARBOR, Maine — Friends of Acadia announced today that Marla O’Byrne, FOA president and CEO, will leave the organization to create new partnerships working on conservation and community projects. Ms. O’Byrne has been with Friends of Acadia since 1996, and has served as its leader since 2006. Ms. O’Byrne will continue at FOA through February, and the organization will conduct a national search for her successor.

“Friends of Acadia is an extraordinary organization and phenomenon,” said Ms. O’Byrne. “I have been fortunate to work with a dedicated Board of Directors passionate about this mission, and with one of the best professional teams imaginable. I will miss working closely with each and every one of them.”

Ed Samek, Friends of Acadia Chairman of the Board, said: “We at FOA were both disappointed and understanding when our president Marla O’Byrne told us of her intention to transition from her position at FOA. For well over a decade Marla has been a strong and gracious force for the protection of Acadia, and a tremendously successful leader at FOA. She will be missed at FOA, but we are pleased that she will not be leaving our community.”
During her tenure, Friends of Acadia has created several innovative programs that provide opportunities and inspiration for young people to discover Acadia on the ground and through technology, and has strengthened its advocacy for national parks and created its first Advocacy Committee. The organization partnered to pass the nation’s first state legislation restricting the open carry of loaded firearms in a national park, and received the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Award for Advocacy from the National Parks Conservation Association. In 2007, working within a tight window of opportunity, FOA protected 26 acres threatened with development on the north slope of Acadia Mountain in a scant six weeks; and working with Maine Coast Heritage Trust and other partners has protected nine privately-owned parcels within Acadia’s boundary over the past five years.

“Marla is a talented coalition and consensus builder,” said Mr. Samek. “She has strengthened and expanded FOA’s partnerships to enable the organization to continue to thrive and grow during challenging times.”

“I will leave FOA proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish over the past five years,” said Ms. O’Byrne. “New programs inspiring young people, conservation of lands within the park’s boundary, and advocacy are all vital to creating a strong second century for Acadia, and are excellent example of what individuals can do when they work together. To paraphrase Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, ‘Each and every one of us makes a difference, but working together we make change.’ I have been privileged to be part of making change for Acadia National Park, and look forward to the new partnerships I will be working with in the future.”

Friends of Acadia is an independent non-profit conservation organization located in Bar Harbor, Maine that preserves, protects, and promotes stewardship of the outstanding natural beauty, ecological vitality, and distinctive cultural resources of Acadia National Park and the surrounding communities for the inspiration and enjoyment of current and future generations. Since 1986, Friends has granted more than $16 million to Acadia National Park and local communities on projects such as the restoration and maintenance of Acadia’s trails and carriage roads, internships in the park, volunteer programs, and youth initiatives.

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Telephone Number: (207)288-3340

Website: http://www.friendsofacadia.org