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Kate Dempsey

Senior Policy Advisor, Federal Government Affairs

The Nature Conservancy's approach to policy is devoted solely to advancing the conservation priorities identified by our scientists. As well, we adhere to values that assure our efforts place partnerships and constructive engagement with government, private industry, nonprofits and local communities at the forefront to ensure pragmatic outcomes for wildlife and people.

Kate Dempsey is among our fellow conservationists who do this work every day. They have come to conservation by different life experiences, yet each carries the Conservancy's science and on-the-ground innovations to partners and policy makers as we forge collaborative approaches to complex issues.
"What the Conservancy brings to Washington unites people across party lines and boundaries."

Why are you a conservationist?


Growing up as a city kid in Philadelphia led me first to a career focused on urban policy issues, like affordable housing. But through my experiences, I began noticing the tremendous role healthy natural environments play in creating healthy sustainable communities for people.

What project are you particularly excited about?


The Penobscot River Restoration Project is a smart investment in ecosystem restoration that will benefit so many species and people. The challenging task of raising the funds needed to complete the project is still underway but I'm proud of how far we've come with state and federal partners.

Who has inspired you as a conservationist?


It's often people I don't know by name who inspire me most: the Maine fisherman struggling to maintain his livelihood; the African woman suffering from more frequent droughts or the family in Louisiana who loses their home to flooding. Many of these people have little chance to go to Washington and talk about matters close to their heart. But when I'm working on climate change policy or securing funding for coastal restoration, I keep their voices in the forefront of my discussions with our Congressional delegations and their staffs.

Where do you find hope?


The tone of political discourse is more polarized than ever, but results from state ballots last November show that the American people still care deeply about conservation. What the Conservancy brings to Washington unites people across party lines and boundaries. We have the ability to share stories of on-the-ground and in-the-water success, as well as innovative thinking, from almost any district in the country. I find that to be incredibly inspiring.

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