Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash announced that Nigel A. Fields has been selected as the next Chief of Resource Education. He replaces Liz Dupree, who retired at the end of last year. Nigel most recently served as the Chief of Interpretation and Education for New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park and Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.
Inspired by the Centennial mission of the National Park Service (NPS), Nigel advanced the role of Jean Lafitte and New Orleans Jazz through promotion of public health for low-income residents, delivering K-12 education and providing conservation-related job skills to high school youth and young adults in the New Orleans metropolitan area. In 2015, Nigel detailed to the NPS Washington Office to serve as the Acting Deputy Associate Director for Interpretation, Education and Volunteers. Here he helped launch the agency’s Every Kid in a Park initiative and expanded the Centennial Volunteer Ambassador program. Recently, Nigel detailed as Acting Assistant Regional Director for Communications and Legislative Affairs in the Southeast Regional Office.
“Nigel brings a wealth of institutional knowledge and experience to the Smokies having served in the NPS Washington Office, Regional Office and as a Division Chief,” said park Superintendent Cassius Cash. “Nigel has had a distinguished career and we look forward to having him join our team.”
Before launching his career with the National Park Service, Nigel worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency, serving as an Environmental Health Scientist in EPA’s Office of Research and Development. His research focused on environmental justice communities specifically pertaining to the health of children and tribal populations. His national and international research projects led to significant advances in the protection of environmental resources and sustainable improvements in public health locally and abroad.
Nigel grew up in the Gulf Coast region of Mississippi and Louisiana and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology from Tulane University. He also holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Environmental Health Sciences from the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
“I continue to be impressed with the manner in which the Great Smoky Mountains National Park confronts and characterizes present day realities while balancing the costs of ecosystem protection with a variety of visitor services,” stated Nigel Fields. “I am looking forward to further advancing the National Park Service mission by kicking off the second century with the staff, volunteers, partners and audiences of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.” Nigel will begin his new assignment at the Smokies this week.