MacArthur Fellows Program

Patrick F. Noonan

Conservationist | Class of 1985

Arlington, Virginia
43 at time of award
Area of Focus
Published July 1, 1985

About Patrick's Work

Patrick Noonan is a conservationist who is engaged in the preservation of America’s natural resources.

As president of The Nature Conservancy (1973-80), Noonan established the largest private sanctuary system in the world, encompassing some 1000 nature preserves.  He was asked by President Ronald Reagan to serve on the President’s Commission on American Outdoors (1985-87), and by President H. W. George Bush to serve on the President’s Commission on Environmental Quality (1991-93).  In sum, he has helped to preserve over six million acres of productive farms, ranches, woodlands, wildlife refuges, historical lands, and community open spaces.


Noonan is chairman emeritus of The Conservation Fund, a nonprofit organization he founded and chaired (1985-2003) to foster cooperative partnerships that further the conservation movement in America.  In 1980, he co-founded and for several years chaired the American Farmland Trust, an organization focusing on the preservation of farmland and the plight of the family farm.  He is the co-author of Land Use in America (1996).

Noonan received a B.A. (1965) from Gettysburg College, an M.A. (1967) from the Catholic University of America, and an M.B.A. (1971) from the American University.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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