Marleen Kromer, associate director of conservation
Rigorous science is the hallmark of The Nature Conservancy and its 700 scientists, who are stationed around the globe to safeguard the full spectrum of Earth’s diversity. In Ohio, more than a dozen scientists work to protect the state’s most biologically rich natural areas, which are threatened by climate change, an expanding human population, damaging industrial and agricultural practices and other dynamics.
Associate Director of Conservation Marleen Kromer, who works closely with Ohio’s strong team of scientists, answers questions about the organization’s conservation goals, and the strategies used to achieve them.
nature.org: What’s your role at The Nature Conservancy?
Marleen Kromer: As associate director of conservation, I provide leadership and guidance to our on-the-ground science staff who manage Conservancy preserves throughout Ohio. I also work with Conservancy staff in neighboring states, as well as partners in Canada, to develop and implement protection strategies for Lake Erie and the Great Lakes Region.
nature.org: Where do you focus most of your work?
Marleen Kromer: Much of my time is spent supporting our field staff throughout the state’s most biologically rich natural areas – the Grand River watershed in the northeast, the Oak Openings region in the Maumee River watershed of northwest Ohio and Darby Creek watershed in central Ohio. The main responsibility of the field staff I oversee is to restore and maintain native species diversity and an overall healthy ecosystem. This involves management practices to control invasive plant species, mowing and cutting of woody vegetation, wetland restoration, and the use of prescribed fire.
We work hard to make sure that our conservation work in each of these areas is done in a collaborative spirit, by working across borders with public and private partners. By sharing information and resources we keep the big picture in mind, and ensure that the work we do makes sense at the landscape level - scale large enough to support humans and nature over the long-term.
nature.org: What are the Conservancy's long-term goals for these projects, or project areas?
Marleen Kromer: We strive to protect and maintain the state’s high quality freshwater streams, wetlands and forested habitats, which will be more resilient to the pressures of population growth and climate change and will sustain generations to come.
View other Faces of Conservation.
January 29, 2013
Marleen Kromer began working full-time for The Nature Conservancy in 1985 as a program assistant in the Ohio Chapter’s Stewardship and Protection Programs. She was promoted to director of science and stewardship in 1995, and then to associate director of conservation in 2008.
In this capacity she provides leadership to on-the-ground staff and helps develop conservation strategies in Lake Erie and the Great Lakes Region. Marleen holds an M.S. and B.S. in Botany from The Ohio State University.