CFPA Welcomes Andy Bicking as Executive Director
Andy Bicking has been hired as Executive Director of the Connecticut Forest & Park Association. He will assume his new role in January.
Andy comes to CFPA from the Hudson Valley where he most recently served as Director of Government Relations and Public Policy for Scenic Hudson, a conservation organization with a storied past. In the early 1960s, a small group of concerned citizens took their fight to protect Storm King Mountain all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where—remarkably—they won their case. Today, environmental law textbooks celebrate the Scenic Hudson Decision that guaranteed the right of legal standing to individuals who want to intervene in land use decisions on environmental grounds.
“My experience expanded as Scenic Hudson grew,” Andy said during a recent interview. “That’s a unique vantage point. The community that supports CFPA is thinking about how to increase its impact and improve its overall position. I’m looking forward to working with the team to guide that growth.”
Andy began his career supporting volunteers on trail and park stewardship issues before transitioning to education and community engagement work. He eventually moved into policy and government relations, where he has focused on municipal-level land use planning and zoning, amongst other priorities. “It’s been a fun way to connect the dots, from the hands-on work that helps people enjoy the outdoors, all the way up to the big picture policies and programs that help enable them,” he said.
He also brings a wealth of advocacy experience to CFPA. He was a member of the legislative team that ran New York’s $4.2 billion “Clean Air, Clean Water, and Green Jobs Bond Act” campaign, which passed in 2022 with overwhelming support. He has worked on several pieces of legislation related to climate resiliency and land stewardship on agricultural and waterfront lands, and advocated for New York’s “30 by 30” law to include urban conservation. And for the past 20 years, he has worked on the federal Highlands Conservation Act, and recently helped to reauthorize the legislation. Connecticut is one of four states that benefits from that program.
Andy grew up in Wilmington, Del., in a family of conservationists. Nearly every month, his family would venture to Pennsylvania’s Highlands to camp. When he was in 5th grade, they relocated to a small town in northeastern Ohio. It was there that his love of nature and the outdoors flourished. “We were fortunate and privileged that my parents bought a house that backed up to a 60-acre preserve with a beautiful river running through it. It was an incredible backyard playground,” he said. But by the time he graduated from high school, a freeway had pierced the town.
“It devastated the character of the community,” he said. “It’s still nice by most measures, but farms went under; woodlands were developed. It really focused my attention and made me realize that these places need to be saved and cared for and stewarded, and that people and organizations were behind that work. The values of protection, stewardship, and connecting people to nature have been with me my whole life.”
“There’s a deep bench of expertise that exists between the board, staff, volunteers, and partners, and a real passion among its donors. CFPA is leaning forward into the challenging issues facing conservation today—climate change; community-based work; embracing justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion principles—while at the same time maintaining a healthy respect for the strong history of the conservation movement. CFPA is looking at the world holistically and identifying its strategic role to provide the great services of outdoor recreation and nature for all people.”
Today, Andy loves hiking, camping, and cycling with his wife and two kids. “These activities nourish us,” he said. Both of his kids were involved in Outdoor Service Guides, a national organization that offers inclusive scouting programs to youth from all backgrounds, and his wife, who grew up in the Pacific Northwest, enjoys live fire cooking. He has fond memories of hiking the northern section of the Mattabesett Trail as a college student, and says his family is looking forward to exploring other Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails. “It’s something that’s core to our being and we can’t wait to explore,” he said.
When asked why he wanted to work at CFPA, he talks about the Association’s mission. “It touched on the four corners of my career: education, land stewardship, advocacy, and management, and felt like a natural fit. There’s a deep bench of expertise that exists between the board, staff, volunteers, and partners, and a real passion among its donors. CFPA is leaning forward into the challenging issues facing conservation today—climate change; community-based work; embracing justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion principles—while at the same time maintaining a healthy respect for the strong history of the conservation movement. CFPA is looking at the world holistically and identifying its strategic role to provide the great services of outdoor recreation and nature for all people.”
But, as with his work at Scenic Hudson, it was the people of CFPA that most inspired him.
“The people were really the core, from the moment that I was greeted by the staff and the board all the way through the interview, it was clear that this is a community that is really tight; they share a lot in common; they are open to new ideas. They are doing the real work and want to keep doing the real work. That was so inspirational to me.”