LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Eichinger today announced that Shannon Hanna has been named natural resources deputy for the agency, an appointment that will take effect following the May 31 retirement of Bill O’Neill, the department’s current natural resources deputy.
Hanna has more than 20 years of experience with the DNR, most recently as assistant chief of the department’s Forest Resources Division since January 2018. In that role, Hanna has worked on developing the division’s latest strategic plan; helped with new initiatives, such as the Good Neighbor Authority, in which DNR staff assist in managing timber on federal lands; and been elected to and will serve on the Michigan State University Forestry Advisory Board.
Starting out as a seasonal employee, Hanna worked with the DNR for five years in that capacity before being hired on full-time in 2003. She spent 10 total years in the field (five seasonal and five as a wildlife technician) before taking a biologist position in Lansing, working in the department’s privately owned cervidae program (a designation that includes game ranches and hunting ranches).
Hanna credits her early field work for giving her the broad experience and perspective needed to effectively oversee Michigan’s natural resources.
“I worked at different field offices throughout the state in southeast, south-central and southwest Michigan, as well as the Upper Peninsula,” Hanna said. “I appreciate those small beginnings in the field because I was able to do amazing things, like fly to count moose in the aerial survey we conduct every other year, help raise osprey, install water control structures at our managed waterfowl areas, and work with groups like Pheasants Forever and the National Wild Turkey Federation on habitat projects around the state.”
Later in her career, Hanna moved into policy and regulations for the DNR Wildlife Division, tackling some of the more complex initiatives including the first management regulations for chronic wasting disease, the restructuring of Michigan’s hunting license package and challenges surrounding feral swine.
As DNR natural resources deputy, Hanna will administer the divisions that oversee Michigan’s wildlife and fisheries, state forests and state parks, minerals and law enforcement.
“Through his long service to the DNR and the state, Bill O’Neill has been a good friend to Michigan’s natural resources and a vocal advocate for people who enjoy and appreciate the outdoors,” Eichinger said. “His wise counsel and good humor will be sorely missed.
“Shannon Hanna brings a fresh perspective to this role, and I have full confidence in her ability to embrace the challenges and opportunities of serving as this department’s natural resources deputy,” he said. “She brings an enviable mix of field experience, thoughtfulness and expertise that will further advance the sound management of Michigan’s world-class natural and cultural resources.”
Hanna said she is eager to start this next chapter with the DNR.
“When it comes to woods, water and wildlife, there’s no better place than Michigan. I am deeply honored to take on this role for the Department of Natural Resources and for the people of Michigan,” Hanna said. “I have always focused on reaching common ground, finding the best solutions and working with people to solve complex natural resources issues. I look forward to working with our resource divisions and partners in continuing that commitment.”
Hanna earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology from Grand Valley State University and a master’s in forestry from Michigan State University. She studied forest health issues, including special emphasis on beech bark disease research in the Upper Peninsula.
A Fowlerville resident, Hanna gets outdoors as often as possible. She enjoys hunting – especially turkey hunting – fishing, trapping and hiking, as well as spending time in Michigan state parks and national parks throughout the country.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. Learn more at Michigan.gov/DNR.