Brad McRae Fellowship for Innovation in Conservation Fund

Gifts in Memory of Brad McRae


Brad McRae, ecologist and conservationist, beloved husband, father, brother, and friend passed away on July 13, 2017 from stomach cancer. Brad earned a degree in electrical engineering from Clarkson University, and after only a few years as an engineer discovered a passion for the outdoors and conservation. He earned his master’s degree in Land Resources from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Ph.D. in Forest Science from Northern Arizona University. Brad was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and worked for the remainder of his career for The Nature Conservancy. 

Professionally, Brad leaves an impressive legacy. He pioneered the use of circuit theory to model connectivity and gene flow across fragmented landscapes, which is now used in conservation planning around the world. His work garnered coverage in media outlets like Wired Magazine and Conservation Magazine. His software packages that help conservation planners design wildlife corridors and healthy landscapes are downloaded more than 500 times a month, and his peer-reviewed publications have been cited thousands of times.

Brad was also an avid outdoorsman and naturalist. He passionately loved all forms of skiing –backcountry hut trips, downhill telemark skiing, cross country and skate skiing. He was always happy to play in the snow in any form. He also loved surfing, especially catching waves on the stand-up paddleboard. He spent countless days backpacking and hiking throughout the United States, mountain biking, canoeing, trail running, and any other activity that brought him out into nature, where he unfailingly interrupted his sports for impromptu birding and botanizing sessions. 

Everyone who knew Brad was impressed with his intelligence, humor, thoughtfulness, integrity, and steadfast commitment to family, friends and conserving the natural world. He leaves us too soon and will be dearly missed by the many friends who had the good fortune to know him. He is survived by his wife and two children. 

This fund was created in memory of Brad to continue his legacy in conservation. Your gift will support students at Northern Arizona University, where Brad performed his graduate work.

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