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Fern Shepard

President, Rachel's Network

Fern Shepard

Fern Shepard is the President of Rachel’s Network, a non-profit organization of women funders named after Rachel Carson and dedicated to conserving a healthy and thriving world for all.

Fern previously served as a senior officer in the environment program at The Pew Charitable Trusts where she managed the institution’s International Lands Conservation initiatives in Australia’s Outback and Canada’s northern boreal forest focused on enhancing public support for biodiversity and land protection. Her conservation career began in Alaska in 1986 as an attorney at Earthjustice (formerly the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund), the United States’ leading public interest law firm dedicated to protecting public health and the environment.  In that capacity, she advised and represented national, regional, and local conservation organizations and community groups before administrative agencies and federal and state courts.  She specialized in protecting public lands, wildlife, and public health, and advised clients on legislation and regulatory matters relating to environmental protection.  From its Alaska, Rocky Mountain, and Washington, D.C. offices, Fern litigated cases to protect children from the toxin lead in drinking water, farm workers from dangerous pesticides, and African American communities from highway construction in neighboring parklands.  Her cases also stopped logging and road construction in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, oil and gas drilling adjacent to Arches National Park, and leasing in grizzly bear habitat adjacent to Yellowstone National Park. 

Fern has testified before the United States Congress on reform of national mining laws and federal onshore oil and gas leasing programs. She has served on the faculty of the Environmental Law Institute's Annual Boot Camp Course on Environmental Law, as a lecturer for the American Law Institute-American Bar Association’s Annual Course of Study on Environmental Law, and as a lecturer at the American Bar Association’s Annual Meeting, the University of Colorado School of Law, University of Texas School of Law, Colorado School of Mines, University of Oregon School of Law, and the Bureau of Land Management's Oil and Gas Industry Conference.

Fern currently serves as the vice chair of the board of Earthjustice.

Summit Sessions

Philanthropy Roundtable