Keith Ray

Keith Ray

Director of Conservation
Keith Ray comes to us with over 15 years experience in biology with a focus on conservation and ecology in southeastern ecosystems. He attended Auburn University, where he received a Master’s in Biology. A fish biologist at heart, Keith has spent his career focused on studying patterns of biodiversity and what historical influences factory into what species should be found in a particular area. He has several scientific publications, and through his work, Keith has described three new species of fish! He has done research around the world, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Brazil, and in more than 20 states! He has also consulted and collaborated on projects in Canada, Venezuela, Colombia, and more. Many of his projects dealt with identifying and conserving endangered species and how to minimize impacts on rare habitats caused by human development and industry. He has worked for the Georgia DNR surveying for hellbenders and bog turtles, two of Georgia’s most threatened species. Most recently, Keith was a biology professor at Reinhardt University where he taught introductory courses in biology and geographic information systems (GIS), and advanced courses in field biology and biology education.

Keith has also been a successful grant writer with almost $700,000 in grants awarded, including as Co-PI on an award of almost $650,000 from the National Science Foundation.

Keith says it was his grandmother who fostered his interest in conservation. She always appreciated how long it took trees to grow and how removing one is not something that is easily undone. Another person that influenced Keith’s career in conservation was Dr. Steve Powers, introducing Keith to working with the ecology and evolution of fish in the southeast. Through Dr. Powers, he learned that land conservation is a key component to retaining many of the rarest organisms that we have.

Keith has previously served as member of STPAL’s board of directors and has volunteered his time with other organizations dedicated to the conservation here in the southeast including the Mountain Conservation Trust and the Georgia Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation.

Keith loves to hike and camp and enjoys spending time with family and friends. He is also a prolific reader – he reads all the time! (By the way, his favorite book is A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson) His 3 sons also keep him and his wife very busy.