Meet the Board of Directors -- John Payne

John PayneJohn Payne

John Payne is a Member-at-Large of the Executive Committee of the ARCUS Board of Directors. He was elected to the Board in 2013.

John retired from federal service in December 2012 after serving 37 years in many different positions and functions including range conservationist, wildlife biologist, pilot, law enforcement officer, program manager, and Executive Director of the North Slope Science Initiative (NSSI). His retirement was short-lived and within a few weeks of leaving federal service he took a position with Michigan Technological University (MTU) as a senior scientist specializing in Arctic science. At the same time, he was approached by the Oversight Group of NSSI and asked to return to his former position as Executive Director. He welcomed both opportunities to stay connected to the Arctic.

John is also the U.S. representative on the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP), which operates under the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF)Arctic Council Working Group. He serves as a co-lead of CBMP along with representatives from Greenland/Denmark. This program brings together marine, terrestrial, coastal, and freshwater experts from within the Arctic to enhance long-term Arctic biodiversity monitoring, and to facilitate detection, interpretation, and communication of significant ecological trends.

Having spent most of his career in Alaska and the Arctic, John has seen ecological change as well as changes in how people view the Arctic. He comments, "Not too many years ago, the Arctic was a dark, cold desert that generated little interest from anyone except scientists. Today, the Arctic is buzzing with potential development and alternate transportation opportunities between Europe and Asia, and is a hot spot for a changing climate.

I am pleased to serve on the Board of Directors of ARCUS. ARCUS provides a sustained opportunity to build networks across the Arctic and bring forward research that the decision-makers of today need for better decisions tomorrow."

John Payne can be contacted via email (jfpayne [at]