Clay Davis ’82

Clay Davis '82Starting a second career is not that unusual, but last year Clay Davis ’82 moved to a remote Alaskan city to open a new chapter in his life.

After 20 years in the U.S. Army, Davis joined the U.S. Forest Service as a Lands Specialist assigned to the agency’s office in Sitka, a community of just under 9,000 residents on an island off Alaska’s southeastern coast.

The city, reachable only by boat or airplane, is surrounded by snowcapped mountains and millions of acres of forest. It sits on a sound and commercial fishing is a major industry. Diners in restaurants can observe whales jumping in the sea.

“I arrived in Sitka by ferry, the first week of last March,” said Davis. “This wasn’t a big move since I was stationed at Fort Lewis (Wash.). Still, my wife and family thought it would be good if I came and lived here a while to make sure I really liked it before they joined me.”

As a Lands Specialist, his duties center on administering federal environmental regulations, which means anything from monitoring hydro-electric dams to recovery of minerals. He spends a lot of time dealing with local and tribal governments and the State of Alaska.

Davis was a political science and art major at Cornell, but took courses in the military, developed an interest in environmental science and mammals. This led to an M.S. and part-time teaching jobs while in the military. “I spent the last year in the Army looking for positions that would work for me,” he said.

Davis noted that his family lives in a costal rain forest, and added this: The winters are milder than those on the Hilltop.

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