Remembering Joe Burns

Many colleagues and friends from across wildlife and fish conservation organizations and federal agencies were saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Joe Burns, professional wildlife biologist and technology transfer specialist with the USDA Forest Service. As word spread of Joe’s unexpected passing, we heard stories of the kindness and friendship Joe shared with his colleagues and friends across the nation. In our gatherings to express our grief and share information about the loss of Joe within the Forest Service in Washington DC, we discovered the enormous impact Joe had in our lives.

Joe was the model of kindness, bringing out the best in people through his patient listening and boundless enthusiasm. He worked selflessly to conserve wildlife, protect the environment and improve efficiencies in transportation and sustainability. He had a gift to connect people with one another and to the lands and resources we manage. We will miss Joe’s passion for the environment, his love of riding bikes, and his ability to bring light and humor to any room.Joe’s bubbly personality and kindness, enthusiasm for conservation, commitment to the environment, and friendship will be missed by his extensive network of colleagues, friends and family. 

Joe Burns professional career spans almost 33 years of federal service including over 21 years with the Forest Service. Joe worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration prior to joining the USDA Forest Service.

Condolences to family can be sent to Joe’s sister Jean Clancy at 306 Lockmoore Street, Collinsville, Illinois, 62234. An online remembrance board is available for you to express condolences and to remember Joe through stories and pictures.  A Celebration of his Life will be held in Washington D.C. January 11 from 3-4:30PM at the Marriott Marquis Hotel Salon J, 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.  The closest metro stop is the Convention Center Metro Station on the Green and Yellow lines. We welcome friends and family to share stories about Joe followed by light refreshments.  His family will be in attendance; they will also convene another service in Collinsville, Illinois, on January 18.

Joe’s family requests in lieu of flowers that contributions be made in memory of Joe to The Wildlife Society, where he was a member for 38 years and was one of their first policy interns. Through TWS, Joe became a Certified Wildlife Biologist 19 years ago and was proud of this achievement. Donations to The Wildlife Society may be made on-line to the Endowment Fund  or via mail donations in Joe’s memory to:

The Wildlife Society
25 Century Blvd., Suite 505
Nashville, TN  37214

The Endowment Fund supports the Society's wildlife policy, public outreach and education efforts, including its policy intern program for current and future generations of biologists.

Please let us know if you plan to attend Joe’s Celebration of Life and if you would like to speak. To RSVP or if you have questions, please contact Dixie Porter at Please share this invitation with anyone you know who might be interested.

Man standing with Smokey Bear