Marshall Jones has been the Senior Conservation Advisor to the Director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute and the Friends of the National Zoo since 2007. In this position, he serves on the Core Plus Team of the Smithsonian Conservation Commons and assisted with the development of Earth Optimism Summits in 2017 and 2020, focusing especially on relationships with federal government agencies. He is also the focal point for the Smithsonian’s membership in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, receiving all formal IUCN communications, casting ballots on behalf of the Smithsonian, and maintaining close working relationships with the IUCN Offices in Washington DC and Switzerland, the Species Survival Commission, and other IUCN Commissions. Other projects that he has worked on include the establishment of the Global Tiger Initiative, conservation of Asian elephants and other large mammals, countering the harmful effects of trade in ivory and other wildlife products, and building new relationships with international organizations, governments, and non-governmental organizations.
Prior to joining the Smithsonian, he worked for 33 years as a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Service, his last seven years as Deputy Director or Acting Director. In this position he was the agency’s senior career biologist and Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the 9,000-member staff and budget of nearly $2 billion. This included wildlife law enforcement, endangered species and habitat conservation, National Wildlife Refuges, National Fish Hatcheries, land acquisition, environmental contaminants, international programs, wildlife and fisheries grants to states and private landowners, budget development and execution, human resources, and information technology and management. He testified before Congress more than 20 times on fish and wildlife issues and the agency’s annual budget. Prior to this, he served as Assistant Director for International Affairs, overseeing all of the agency’s international grant, conservation, and wildlife trade regulation programs; Chief of the U.S. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Management Authority; and Chief of the Endangered Species Division for the USFWS Southeast Region. He began his career with the USFWS as a biologist and technical writer in Washington, D.C., helping the first Endangered Species Act implementing regulations and serving as founding editor of the Endangered Species Technical Bulletin.
He has an undergraduate degree in zoology with a minor in English from the University of Michigan; a Master of Science degree from Murray State University in vertebrate ecology and evolution; and additional graduate work in plant ecology at Cornell University. He also served in the U.S. Army from 1969-1971, receiving the Army Commendation Medal. He lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with his wife, Cornelia Clay Fulghum, a writer and former journalist. His daughter, son-in-law, and twin grandchildren live outside of Knoxville, Tennessee.