A paper company executive who has been active in environmentally sustainable development has been named executive director of Earthplace, the Nature Discovery Center.

Tony McDowell, a Westport resident who most recently was vice president of sales and marketing for Finch Paper LLC in Glens Falls, N.Y., was scheduled to join Earthplace on Oct. 14, the local environmental center said in a news release.

Named by the Earthplace Board of Directors, McDowell is the permanent replacement for John Horkel, who retired last fall after leading the nonprofit for 27 years. Marie Dalton-Meyer has been interim director.

Earthplace, based at 10 Woodside Lane, encompasses a 62-acre preserve as offers a range of programs environmental education and sustainablity, as well as nature activities and recreation.

McDowell has been active in nonprofit organizations, according to the release. He was a founding board member of Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk and has served on the boards of the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut, Northeast Community Church, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and on the advisory board of Builders Beyond Borders.

Before joining Finch Paper, McDowell was vice president, marketing and business development of StoraEnso, the North American arm of a Finnish-based forest products company. Both Finch and StoraEnso practiced sustainable development, Earthplace said.

A Norwalk native, McDowell's personal interests include hiking, sailing and environmental sustainability, according to the release.