National Wilderness Conference Keynote Speaker: Joseph Acaba, NASA Astronaut

Joseph Acaba was born in 1967 in Inglewood, California, and raised in Anaheim, California, where his parents, Ralph and Elsie, still reside. He enjoys outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, biking, kayaking and scuba diving, and is a spokesperson for the Forest Service's Discover the Forest campaign where he talks about the inspiring experience of seeing forests and wilderness from space. After serving as a marine, Acaba worked as a hydro-geologist in Los Angeles, California, primarily on Superfund sites, and was involved in the assessment and remediation of groundwater contaminants. He has also done international environmental education work in the United States Peace Corps as an Environmental Education Awareness Promoter in the Dominican Republic and as manager of the Caribbean Marine Research Center at Lee Stocking Island in the Exumas, Bahamas. He is also a K-12 educator, having taught high school science and four years of middle school math and science in Florida.

Acaba was selected as a astronaut by NASA in May 2004 and has logged a total of 138 days in space during two missions.