SEJ Mourns the Loss of John Freemuth

Conservation Champion and Head of the Andrus Center

Was Also a Staunch Advocate for SEJ


John Freemuth
Photo: Courtesy of the Andrus Center

The Society of Environmental Journalists is saddened to learn of John Freemuth's passing. John was a stalwart supporter of SEJ and it was his vision that brought SEJ's 2020 conference to Boise State University. [This, unfortunately, did not happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.] As the inaugural chair of the university's Andrus Center for Public Policy, he upheld the legacy of its namesake by leading a national dialogue on public lands policy.

But more than that, he was a great spirit. A robust life force. Funny as hell. Irreverent. Super smart and accomplished. And generous with his time and knowledge; for example, he would regularly take calls about Western issues from reporters from all over the country, such as a Philly reporter who — unfamiliar with the Bureau of Land Management, or BLM — asked him to explain why Black Lives Matters was involved in a public lands dispute.

As his long distinguished academic career was winding down, it was journalists he wanted to spend time with. John even joined SEJ as an academic member and ran for the academic board seat in Fort Collins last year. With his typical over-the-top modesty, when he took the mic for his candidate's statement, he told the room to vote for the candidate who just spoke before him because she sounded great. Meantime, he added, he'll look forward to seeing us all in Boise for the next annual event.

SEJ has worked with many university liaisons over the years. John was special. We miss him dearly and our hearts go out to his wife Sheri and their two sons.