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Gary Siddall (Submitted photo)
Gary Siddall (Submitted photo)

Gary Siddall will take reins as president & CEO of Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences


Thu, Nov 30th 2023 07:55 pm

Committee to be formed by Aquarium of Niagara to search for new leader

The Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences (BSNS) board of managers on Thursday announced the appointment of Gary Siddall as president and CEO. Siddall, who is currently president and CEO of Aquarium of Niagara, will assume his new role in leading the Buffalo Museum of Science and Tifft Nature Preserve on Feb. 5, 2024.

Siddall said, “I’m honored by this appointment to serve as president and CEO of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, and to build upon the organization’s history of strong leadership. I am inspired by the Society’s well-established efforts to connect the community to science and nature, and I look forward to leading Society team members at the Buffalo Museum of Science and Tifft Nature Preserve in their efforts to cultivate a new generation of citizen scientists, and inspire appreciation for our diverse, natural world.

“I feel incredibly confident in the Aquarium’s leadership and board of trustees and their ability to bring the organization’s bold vision for the future to reality.”

His last day with the Aquarium will be Jan. 31, 2024. The search for his replacement will commence immediately. More details regarding an interim appointment and search committee will be announced soon.

Siddall has been with the Aquarium of Niagara for 20 years, beginning his tenure as a volunteer and advancing through the zoological department. He began serving as the deputy director in 2014 and was appointed to his current role in 2016 by the Niagara Aquarium Foundation board of trustees. During Siddall’s tenure, the venue received its first-ever accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the team collectively executed a full-scale revision of the master and strategic plans and $15 million in capital improvements – which include “Great Lakes 360,” opening next year.

“It’s an exciting time for the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences as we make significant strides to realize the potential outlined in our ambitious strategic plan that will broaden our impact within the community,” said Keith Lukasik, chair of the BSNS board of managers and co-chair of the executive search committee. “Gary is a proven leader in the cultural realm and has demonstrated an ability to grow and transform a cultural organization within Western New York. His tenure at the Aquarium of Niagara has been nothing short of exceptional, and his humble and down-to-earth demeanor is emblematic of his servant leadership mentality. We, as a board, are confident that he is the right leader at this important moment to build upon our rich, 162-year history, and to guide the organization toward continued success.”

Jessica Copeland, vice-chair of the BSNS board of managers and co-chair of the executive search committee, added, “Our board recognized that the organization needed a leader that could maintain the momentum achieved by previous leadership and serve as a force-multiplier for our exceptional staff and leadership team. We partnered with a leading search firm that conducted a comprehensive five-month-long national search that generated more than 30 potential local and national candidates. Gary stood out by demonstrating a deep admiration and respect for the Society, as well as an informed and innovative perspective on how to further advance the organization and its mission for the betterment of the Western New York community.”

Christine Lorenz, chair of the Niagara Aquarium Foundation board of trustees, said, “While Gary has been instrumental in setting the Aquarium up for success and unprecedented growth over the last several years, his vision in creating a true Niagara Falls destination is one that has been shared by the entire organization, including the staff and board. Our search will prioritize a candidate capable of providing steady leadership and bringing the Aquarium’s bold initiatives to fruition and continuing this momentum now and well into the future. In the interim, the Aquarium has a strong operations team and an incredibly talented team of animal care professionals and veterinarians who will ensure continued care and wellbeing for the Aquarium’s collection during this transition.”

The Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences manages the Buffalo Museum of Science and Tifft Nature Preserve with a mission of “inspiring joyful exploration of science and nature through engaging experiences, unique resources, and exceptional staff. Located in east Buffalo, the Buffalo Museum of Science inspires multigenerational learning through interactive science studios, exhibits, programming, and its extensive collection of more than 700,000 belongings, objects and specimens. Tifft is a 264-acre urban wetland preserve on reclaimed former industrial land in South Buffalo and serves as the museum’s ‘living collection.’ The Preserve offers five miles of hiking trails free of charge year-round, as well as environmental education, stewardship, and outreach.”

Learn more at sciencebuff.org and tifft.org.

The Aquarium of Niagara is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is home to more than 120 different species, including eight rescued and non-releasable marine mammals. The venue is open at 9 a.m. daily year-round, except for Christmas and Thanksgiving. For more information, visit aquariumofniagara.org.

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