Dave Livermore standing next to truck on a dirt road in desert landscape with rolling hills.
Stepping down after 43 years Dave Livermore founded TNC’s chapters in both Nevada and Utah © The Nature Conservancy
Stories in Utah

A Cause Greater Than Any One of Us

Reflections on 43 years with The Nature Conservancy

Dear Friends,

This Director’s Report is my last. After more than four decades with TNC, I will be stepping down as Utah state director early in the new year. I will continue working for the Western Division part time through next spring, but for our Utah Chapter, the time has come to turn over the reins to a new leader.

Quote: William Shakespeare

What’s past is prologue.

The Tempest

I’ve been very fortunate to serve in this role for so many years. What a run it has been! When I began with TNC, I was assigned to Utah and Nevada, working out of our Western Regional Office in San Francisco. Henry Little, TNC’s Western regional director at the time, hired me. Thank you, Henry, for taking a chance on this 25-year-old kid!

Dave Livermore speaking into a microphone from podium outdoors with tree in the background.
Dave Livermore 43 years advocating for nature conservation © The Nature Conservancy

Henry’s sage orientation advice was pretty simple: “Take a pocket full of dimes, go to the nearest pay phone and call everyone you know.” And I did. The 1980s were the days of Dictaphones, WANG word processors and phone booths—all before the personal computer.

The Great Basin was a big place, but when you are young, you don’t know what you don’t know. I soon found my footing working on early projects like Ash Meadows and Stillwater in Nevada and Layton Marsh and the Lytle Ranch in Utah.

In those days TNC had about 500 employees and few state programs. Now we have 5,000 employees (I am seventh in tenure among these) and 50 state programs, and we operate in 70 countries. Our Utah Chapter has protected more than one million acres of private and public land. I am proud of how far we’ve come, but the credit belongs to all of you—our members, supporters and volunteers. For these many years, going to work every day, I have been inspired by your generosity and commitment.

43 Years of Conservation Impact

Dave Livermore founded both TNC’s Nevada and Utah chapters.

  • 1.08M

    acres of private and public lands conserved in Utah

  • 0.5M

    acres of private and public lands conserved in Nevada

  • 240

    projects in Utah

  • 31

    projects in Nevada

  • $303M

    in private and public funds raised over 8 campaigns

It has been said that the secrets to happiness are “something to do, someone to love and something to hope for.” Thanks to my family and my career with TNC, I have experienced all three in spades.

Following in the footsteps of my grandmother, my father and other family members, I have dedicated my life to conservation. Drawing inspiration from Wallace Stegner, I have been fortunate to work in the West—Wally’s “Geography of Hope.”

Quote: Sally Jewell

For 43 years, Dave Livermore has devoted his life to supporting the natural and cultural resources of Utah, Nevada and beyond. His humor, tenacity, vision and leadership inspire everyone around him to jump on board and join the party for the long-term preservation of nature’s treasures.

Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior

And no words can express my gratitude to the many generous supporters who have made this work possible, including, among others, the Eccles, Cumming, Dee, Dumke and Quinney families, and, especially, Jennifer Speers.

Dave Livermore standing by office desk with piles of papers and magazines.
Utah State Director Dave Livermore A career and a life devoted to conservation. © Stuart Ruckman

Some years ago, I was in Ian Cumming’s office when he presented me with a very generous check. Overcome with gratitude, I thanked him profusely. “Thanks, Dave,” Ian replied, “but this is not about me. TNC is a cause greater than any one of us.” I have always remembered Ian’s words, and I think of them often. In my time with TNC, I have been so lucky to build on the work of my predecessors. I will always be grateful for the people I have met, the places I have been and the experiences I have had.

My time with TNC is nearing its end, but others will follow, just as successfully, in my footsteps. As Shakespeare wrote, the “past is prologue.” I am happy to have helped set the stage, and I have every confidence the best for our Utah Chapter is yet to come.


Dave Livermore