Robyn Thorson is the Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Columbia-Pacific Northwest and Pacific Islands Interior Regions (IR). Robyn focuses her conservation leadership on collaboration with others, including Tribes and indigenous island communities, states, agricultural and natural resource dependent communities, private landowners in rural and urban settings, watershed councils, conservation groups, coral reef advisory groups, universities, land trusts, among other valued partners.
Robyn started her federal career with USFWS in 1985 in the Portland Regional Office. She subsequently has worked in three other USFWS regional offices and had two separate appointments in the USFWS Washington, DC, office. The Columbia-Pacific Northwest IR includes Idaho, Oregon (except for the Klamath Basin), Washington, and a portion of western Montana. The Pacific Islands IR includes Hawai’i and the Pacific Islands.
Before becoming IR Director in November 2008, Robyn served five years as Director of USFWS’ eight-state Midwest Region, based in Minnesota. Prior to that position, she was the USFWS Assistant Director for External Affairs in Washington, DC, from August 2000 until March 2003. In that position, she supervised the USFWS programs for Public Affairs, Congressional and Legislative Affairs, Native American Liaison and Research Coordination. She also provided Washington office oversight for the USFWS National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
Immediately prior to her appointment as Assistant Director, she worked for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Seattle, Washington, as the Associate Regional Chief Biologist for the USGS Biological Resources Division from January 1999 until August 2000.
Almost a third of Robyn’s USFWS career was in Alaska. From 1995 to January 1999, she was the Deputy Regional Director for the Alaska Region and from 1989 to 1993, she was the Associate Regional Director, responsible for issues related to the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In between her Alaska assignments, Robyn served as the Assistant Regional Director for Budget and Administration for the USFWS Southwest Region, headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was the Special Assistant to the Deputy Director of USFWS in 1988 and 1989 and before that, she worked in the Regional Office in Portland, Oregon, in the Endangered Species Program and in Contracting.
Robyn earned her Juris Doctorate at the University of Oregon School of Law. She was an attorney for the State of Washington before starting her federal career, and she maintains her license to practice law in Washington. She intends to see a game in every Major League ballpark in America.