Governor Tom Wolf appointed Cindy Adams Dunn to be the sixth secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, returning to the agency where she worked under three governors in multiple positions over the last two decades. The Pennsylvania Senate unanimously confirmed Ms. Dunn as secretary of DCNR on June 2, 2015 and reconfirmed on April 30, 2022.
During her tenure, Ms. Dunn has helped position Pennsylvania as a leader in land conservation, outdoor recreation, green practices and public land management. Under her leadership, the department created the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps to connect youth and young adults with job opportunities relating to the outdoors and the environment; advanced water quality initiatives within the Chesapeake Bay and across the Commonwealth through investments in conservation, buffer plantings, and restoration; advanced mitigation and adaptation best practices related to climate change; managed the highest visitations at state parks and forests; and received historical levels of funding to address the growing conservation and recreation needs of the Commonwealth.
Ms. Dunn’s non-profit conservation and advocacy roles include serving as the president and chief executive officer of PennFuture, State Director of Audubon Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Coordinator for Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and as an environmental educator for Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Past DCNR roles included serving as DCNR’s Deputy Secretary of Conservation and Technical Services from 2007-2013, where she led DCNR’s conservation landscape program and oversaw the community conservation partnerships grant program, which provides $30-$60 million annually for conservation and recreation throughout the commonwealth. Ms. Dunn’s other leadership posts at DCNR include director of the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation as well as director of the Office of Education, Communications and Partnerships. Ms. Dunn first joined DCNR in the mid ‘90s as director of community relations and environmental education.
Over the years Ms. Dunn has been recognized with numerous awards for her leadership in conservation including: Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s Frances E. Flanigan Environmental Leadership Award; Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation Conservationist of the Year; Cumberland County Conservation District Conservationist of the Year; the PA Recreation and Park Society Local Government Award; PA Association of Environmental Professionals Karl Mason Award; the National Wildlife Federation Women in History award; and the Schuylkill River National Heritage Area Legacy Award.
Ms. Dunn holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in biology from Shippensburg University. She and her husband, Craig, reside in Cumberland County. When not championing the efforts of DCNR, Ms. Dunn enjoys the natural and recreation resources DCNR works hard to protect and promote through hobbies that include birding, canoeing, fishing and hiking.