Dear friends, supporters, and colleagues:

For the past four years, Ben Prater has served as the Associate Executive Director of Wild South. It is my pleasure to announce that he will be transitioning into a new position here at Wild South – Director of Conservation.

Ben meets with Dr. E.O. Wilson in Alabama.

Ben meets with Dr. E.O. Wilson in Alabama.

As you are aware Wild South has undergone a significant transition and transformation over the past several months. As part of this transition, we have dramatically expanded our program capacity and grown our leadership.  For these reasons I have decided to place Ben at the “helm” of our conservation efforts. I am delighted to announce that as of May 1st, 2014 he will be transitioning into this new position.

As the Director of Conservation, Ben will be responsible for all of our program work extending across eight southern states and will manage our growing staff of conservation professionals.  Instead of administrative work that was required as Associate Executive Director, Ben will be focusing and dedicating 100% of his time at Wild South to conservation.

Meeting with USFS and partners on ecological restoration project.

Meeting with USFS and partners on ecological restoration project.

This is a significant and exciting change at Wild South.

His primary goal is to plan, execute, and oversee all conservation initiatives of Wild South to achieve our mission to inspire people to enjoy, value, and protect, the wild character and natural legacy of the South. Ben will strive to develop collaborative partnerships, empower local communities, communicate effectively with stakeholders, and uphold the integrity of Wild South’s mission

Some of Ben’s responsibilities will include:

  • Setting the strategic direction and conservation priorities that position Wild South as a major conservation leader/partner in the South.
  • Overseeing the development and implementation of the Wild South’s Conservation Vision which establishes strategic program goals and conservation priorities throughout the region.
  • Directing conservation activities to protect public lands and native wildlife while engaging the public, and conducting all other activities associated with protection strategies.
  • Negotiating complex and innovative conservation solutions with government agencies and partner organizations based on sound science and conservation values.
  • Directing the development of conservation strategies for priority landscapes and focal species identified in annual plans.
  • Strategically guiding and supporting scientific research programs to achieve conservation objectives.
  • Recruiting, developing, and empowering a strong conservation programs team including staff, volunteers, and interns.


I have been working on conservation in the South for more than 25 years. I am professionally and personally excited about this new transition for Wild South, and cannot think of a better person to lead Wild South’s growing conservation program than Ben Prater.

Please welcome him aboard in his new position and thank you for your support of Wild South.

For the wild,

Pat Byington

Executive Director