Winrock mourns the passing of former staff member Chris Kopp, who died on September 18. Chris served Winrock for more than 23 years. His last position was Senior Director of Major Programs and Project Management, but he was a natural-resource-management specialist at heart, with more than three decades of experience in community-based forestry, land-use planning and project design.
For years, Chris headed Winrock’s Forestry and Natural Resource Management unit. He played an instrumental role in developing new approaches, especially work on sustainable landscapes, community-based natural resource governance, forest co-management and payment for environmental services. He was proud of the many accomplishments achieved by the FNRM team in these areas. Under his leadership, the unit tripled its portfolio.
Chris began his career in the 1970s serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Niger. He later joined CARE in the Republic of Chad and became an associate director for the Peace Corps in Senegal. Before joining Winrock in 1996, Chris served as the senior technical advisor for two USAID-funded programs in Senegal.
Chris began working for Winrock when it was headquartered on Petit Jean Mountain, a remote location, as some of you may know. But that was one of the things Chris liked most about it. He also loved having a lot of dogs and horses on the farm where he lived near Perryville.
Chris often talked about how important it was for people working in development to get out to the field — not just once in a while but to live and work there. The colleagues who took his advice became equally as ardent about this practice.
Chris has been described as the gruff uncle who everyone loves, someone who “told it like it was” and who you could trust completely. He was an extraordinary colleague, friend and mentor. Chris was larger than life and was tremendously respected by his team. In the words of one colleague, “Winrock has lost a piece of its soul.” We will miss him.
Although no services are scheduled at this time, you can make donations in Chris’s name to KC Pet Rescue in Morrilton, Arkansas.