CEO Blog

Michael Butler, CEOFrom the desk of Michael Butler

Michael Butler is a native Tennessean who grew up in Jackson and has since lived in each grand division of the state. Greatly impacted by his experiences outdoors from an early age, Butler’s passion for Tennessee’s wildlife and great outdoors led him to study wildlife and fisheries science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and then earn his master’s in fish and wildlife management from Montana State University.

Upon returning to Tennessee in 1996, he was recruited to join the Tennessee Conservation League, which later changed its name to Tennessee Wildlife Federation. In 2002, Butler was promoted to chief executive officer, a position he holds presently. His work over the years with the Federation has afforded him the opportunity to engage in and address several of Tennessee’s most significant wildlife and conservation needs.

Butler has served on numerous conservation—and community—oriented boards, and was a presidential appointee to the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation board of trustees from 2006 until 2012.

He lives outside of Franklin with his wife Wallis, their three daughters—Wesley Anne, Campbell, and Ella—and their two Labrador Retrievers, Doc and Albus.

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Interior Secretary Confirmation Hearing Sounds Great to Tennessee

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By Michael Butler, CEO of Tennessee Wildlife Federation The…

Floating Houses – The Rest of the Story

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By Michael Butler, CEO of Tennessee Wildlife Federation The…
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Crab Orchard Wind Farm — Are we considering ALL the costs?

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The truth is that the impacts of wind farms are significant, and they are decidedly not positive for Tennessee’s environment and wildlife. If you look at the 23 wind turbines proposed for Cumberland County, each 600 feet tall – three times the height of Neyland Stadium, with blades as long as a foot ball field – and plainly visible from 1-40 and the surrounding area, you begin to understand the scope.

After 30 years, now is the time for Tennessee’s Great Outdoors

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The last time the state of Tennessee went through a process to determine the challenges and opportunities facing our state’s natural resources, I was a junior in high school and Ronald Reagan was President. In 1985, President Reagan asked then Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander to chair the President's Commission on “Americans Outdoors” and challenged the Commission to assess the status of our natural resources and the availability of outdoor recreational pursuits for the next generation of Americans and make recommendations to ensure the continued availability of such pursuits.
Cades Cove at dawn by Susan Hay.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund: Is this the end?

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Congress established the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in 1964 “to protect and enhance our nation’s incomparable array of natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities.” As America’s most essential federal conservation program, LWCF has protected our national and state parks, wildlife refuges and forests; forests and ranches; cultural resources and historic sites; urban parks, backcountry hunting and fishing access; essential water resources, iconic scenery, and a broad array of irreplaceable natural resources. It has done all of these things via funding generated by off-shore oil and gas royalties rather than general taxes.

Protecting the Hatchie Scenic River

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Over the past ten years, economic development interests within the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) have conceived and begun to implement a plan to create a greenfield economic “megasite” between Brownsville, Tennessee and Memphis, Tennessee. As a point of clarification, a “greenfield megasite” is a tract consisting of at least 1,000 acres with water, sewer, highway, and rail access on previously undeveloped land.