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Colleagues Mourn Greenwich Avalanche Victim

GREENWICH, Conn. – David Gaillard, a 1985 Greenwich High School graduate who died in a Montana avalanche Dec. 31, is remembered by colleagues as “a great, longstanding and effective conservation advocate with a kind and generous heart.”

The 44-year-old Yale Forestry School graduate was buried by a snow-slide while cross-country skiing with his wife, Kerry Corcoran Gaillard. He worked as the Northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife. Officials in Park County, Mont., said the accident occurred near Pilot Peak in the Shoshone National Forest.

“Dave’s passing is a great loss for the conservation community, particularly the species he championed the most – lynx, wolverines and fishers,” Mike Leahy of the Defenders of Wildlife said in a statement.

Gaillard was born in Greenwich on May 5, 1967, to Katharine and William Gaillard, the third of four boys. His love for the outdoors grew through backpacking in summers in the Adirondacks, where as a teen he summited all 46 peaks of more than 4,000 feet. He was equally at home on the water and taught small-boat sailing in Long Island Sound. An avid windsurfer, he was delighted when strong winds swept the Sound.

Gaillard grew up on Meeting House Road, where his parents still live. They could not be reached for comment.

“Dave was a great, longstanding and effective conservation advocate, with a kind and generous heart, a quiet but hilarious sense of humor, and a warm and friendly demeanor,” said Leahy. One of Gaillard’s highest priorities was to get the conservation community to work more “closely, effectively, and cordially together.” He did so by bringing researchers, managers, educators and advocates together to form the Wolverine Network , which builds awareness and support for wolverine research and conservation.

Gaillard earned a master's in environmental studies from the Yale School of Forestry, where he focused on large carnivore conservation. He was a graduate of Williams College in Massachusetts.

He had worked to protect and restore carnivores in the Northern Rockies since 1991, with organizations including Predator Conservation Alliance (now called Keystone Conservation), the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative and Greater Yellowstone Coalition, according to his staff profile.

Friends set up a Facebook page titled Remembering Dave Gaillard, where they shared memories and posted photos.

Survivors, in addition to his wife and parents, include his daughter, Marguerite; his wife's children, Sam and Silver Brelsford; his brothers Andrew, Thomas and Jeffrey; and Marguerite’s mother, Marianne Filloux.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made online at www.defenders.org/dgmemorial , or by check to Defenders of Wildlife, P.O. Box 1336, Bozeman MT 59771. Donations should reference "In Memory of David L. Gaillard." All contributions will be directed by Defenders of Wildlife to Wild Things Unlimited and other local programs close to David’s heart. Please share memories, celebrations and condolences on the Facebook tribute page.

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