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Profiles: Ray "Bucky" Owen '59

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Ray "Bucky" Owen '59
Professor Emeritus, University of Maine, Orono

Ray “Bucky” Owen '59 has left his mark on the Maine outdoors through tireless conservation work and policy reform. But while most of his efforts go toward preserving open space, Bucky is also partially responsible for the man-made icon installed atop the summit of Mt. Katahdin. In the early 70s, Bucky and a handful of other hikers carried the well-known sign up the highest mountain in Maine, where it now serves as a popular photo backdrop and a marker for those tackling the Appalachian Trail. A biology major at Bowdoin, Bucky later earned a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Illinois. He then moved to Orono, where he worked as a professor for over thirty years, chairing the Wildlife Department for a decade. In 1993, Maine Governor John McKernan nominated Bucky to head the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, which allowed him to become further involved in policy issues. Now retired from teaching, Bucky continues to work in conservation projects such as the Penobscot River Restoration Project, the largest restoration endeavor in the northern Atlantic that seeks to restore eleven species of migratory fish to the Penobscot waters while maintaining energy production from dams. Last November, The Atlantic Salmon Federation presented Bucky with its highest conservation award for his “lifetime commitment to the environment and his efforts to protect wild Atlantic salmon and their habitat in particular. “It’s immensely satisfying to see these wonderful projects come into fruition,” says Bucky.

Posted May 10, 2010