Jad Daley ’86 spent childhood summers and holidays at his family’s vacation house on a remote island in Maine. Accessible only by boat, the island was truly wild, dense with pine forests and ringed in craggy beaches, and Daley found a passion in exploring them. “My happiest days growing up were wandering these forests and coming out upon some remote rocky shoreline,” said Daley. “I felt like that was an experience everyone ought to be able to have in their lives.”
Earlier this year Daley was named the president and CEO of American Forests, the first forest conservation organization in the United States. The organization has prioritized two issues: climate change and the role that forests can play in addressing it, and creating job opportunities in forest conservation in underserved areas.
Daley credits Peddie with influencing his “flexible, problem-solving way of looking at the world.”
“I feel like every class I took at Peddie, regardless of the subject, first taught you how to think and how to learn and how to express yourself, and then it was about a subject second. And that’s just an incredibly powerful gift to be given by an education,” he said.
Over the last decade, Daley has led multiple conservation programs and coalitions, and played a leading role in authoring and enacting federal legislation to establish forest programs. He joined American Forests in 2017 as vice president of conservation programs.
An art history major, Daley also took environmental studies classes at Brown University. He decided to become a teacher after graduation and taught his first class, a spring semester elective on literature and the environment, at Peddie.
Daley said that he is grateful that Peddie is raising “politically aware, active citizens.”
“The Peddie community are the kind of people I’m counting on right now as we’re battling some really challenging environmental issues like climate change,” he said.
“Forests are not just scenery,” said Daley. “They’re vital for life on Earth.”