The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin announced today that it has elected Steve Bablitch as chair of its Board of Trustees to help lead the organization’s efforts to conserve the state’s most important natural areas. Bablitch, a partner with Quarles & Brady, LLP, a law firm in Milwaukee, previously served as chairman of the Conservancy’s Wisconsin Board of Trustees from 2004 to 2005.
Bablitch considers the loss of large tracts of land to be the most pressing threat to Wisconsin’s forests, prairies, lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands. He also believes the Conservancy can play a major role in protecting high-quality natural areas by working innovatively with public and private partners.
“I care deeply about preserving natural and wild places, and I like The Nature Conservancy’s collaborative approach,” Bablitch said. “The Conservancy works well with government and business, and has the knowledge and experience necessary to conserve large areas of land.
“It's important to increase the pace at which we protect wild lands because they are disappearing at such a rapid rate. We need to make sure they aren’t subdivided into small pieces and sold to multiple owners so that we can never recover them. We have to look at new ways of doing this.”
Bablitch also considers protection of Wisconsin’s natural resources to be crucial to the state’s economy and its quality of life.
“Development is important, but some places should stay wild,” Bablitch said. “People benefit from wild lands, and they want to know they’re there and that they have access to them. Wild and natural lands are also important to our economy.”
Prior to joining Quarles & Brady, Bablitch led the Wisconsin Department of Administration. He also is a former chairman and chief executive officer of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Wisconsin.
Bablitch, who is originally from Stevens Point, resides in Whitefish Bay with his wife Elaine Kelch and daughter.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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