David Odell, '65

Yearbook image of David Odell
Current image of David Odell

David Odell is a retired DEC wildlife biologist. Early in his life David decided he would devote his career and energy to protecting our natural resources. His love of the outdoors began with his earliest childhood experiences exploring the fields and forests around Alabama, NY, studying and collecting everything from fossils to live animals.

In the fall of 1965 David entered Houghton College. Four years later he received his B.A. in Zoology. From Houghton David went on to SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse where his major was Zoology. He received his Master of Science, Emphasis: Wildlife Management in 1974.

After high school and college, some interesting employment opportunities came his way, but David was convinced that he could make the greatest difference in the field of natural resource conservation. When offered a job with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation David gladly accepted and became a career employee.

As Project Coordinator of the Montezuma Wetlands, David played a significant role in the expansion of land protection, restoration, enhancement and management of the Montezuma Wetland Complex. His leadership assisted the Montezuma Wetland Complex in pursuing North American Wetlands Conservation Act grants that were successful, thus providing well over two million dollars for conservation in this important waterfowl and wetlands management. In his role as program director of the Montezuma Wetlands Complex, David has worked with a variety of partners, including Ducks Unlimited, DEC, The Audubon Society, the Nature Conservancy, the Friends of Montezuma, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others. His lifelong commitment to and passion for waterfowl conservation has made a difference for all New Yorkers who enjoy wildlife.

From April 1995 to June 2006 David served as DEC's Regional Wildlife Manager in Avon. In this position, along with many other responsibilities, David supervised a staff of 14 permanent biologists and technicians, a secretary, and up to 8 seasonal employees responsible for implementing DEC's entire wildlife program in eleven counties of central and western NY.

In addition to his work with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation David has also served as an Assistant Professor (adjunct) with the Houghton College Department of Biology. In this role he taught courses including Wildlife Biology, Field Ornithology, Ecology of Alaska (two trips) and Animal Ecology Lab. David has also authored numerous conservation related materials.

Outside the workplace, Dave is active in his church, having served as a trustee, elder, adult S.S. teacher, home Bible study leader, and (together with his wife) has taken part in two short-term missions trips to Honduras. Dave is a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International, having served as local club president and literacy chairman. He and his wife, Rebecca, run a Bed and Breakfast in their 1840 farmhouse near Clyde, NY.