With Bill's leadership, The Nature Conservancy in New York is raising unprecedented resources, investing in cutting-edge science, increasing awareness of key conservation issues with new audiences in New York and around the world, and creating a world where all of nature, including humanity, can thrive. As a global hub for culture, innovation and finance, New York is positioned to make an outsized impact and lead the way by emphasizing climate mitigation, adaptation, resilience—and the power of nature itself. The Nature Conservancy in New York is setting a national and even global example by taking a bold and forward-looking approach to the role nature plays in tackling climate change and by promoting thoughtful renewable energy development and leading-edge climate legislation.
Bill’s career with the Conservancy spans more than 25 years and many regions, including South America, the American West, the Caribbean, Mongolia, and New York. As New York Executive Director, he’s overseen one of the largest teams/business units in the Conservancy, which entails deep engagement with programs in countries like India and China that are key to our global future. Throughout his tenure, Bill has strategically established relationships and partnerships to build a strong and vital foundation of support.
Some hallmarks in New York through Bill’s leadership include – the first comprehensive urban conservation program, launched in the wake of Superstorm Sandy; the successful creation of the US-based India Council to strategically and financially support the emergent India Program; investments in and the prioritization of social science as key to conservation success; new partnerships with social science, environmental justice organizations, and tribal nations; and remarkable policy successes at the local and state levels. Bill and New York have also supported global priorities, including Blue Bonds deals in the Seychelles, Belize and Barbados; grasslands conservation in Mongolia; tropical forest conservation in Belize and the launch of the Conservancy’s impact investment arm, NatureVest.
As New York Executive Director, Bill led the creation of a “One New York” approach that unified programs and teams behind a single, shared strategic vision, and aligned the structure and financial resources to serve that vision. Overseeing the engagement of nearly 100,000 Conservancy members, he has led New York to become a fundraising powerhouse, including dramatically increasing the resources raised for global work, culminating in 2020 with the enormously successful $384 million One World: New York fundraising campaign. Through Bill’s leadership, the New York Board of Trustees has strengthened, diversified, and deepened its sense of community. Today, the Nature Conservancy in New York is more innovative and agile; it centers diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in all of its work, and is considered a leader in the Conservancy’s global network.
Bill is a frequent contributor to English and Spanish-language news media such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America, CNN, CNN Español and NPR. He was profiled in Big Impact: Insights & Stories from America's Non-Profit Leaders (BookBaby, 2017).
He received a B.S. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead-Cain Scholar and varsity athlete. Bill wrote his undergraduate honors thesis on deforestation in the Amazon (conducting field research in Peru) and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to work with the Panamanian Institute of Renewable Natural Resources. He later earned dual master’s degrees in Forest Resource Management and Natural Resource Economics & Policy from the Nicholas School of the Environment, as well as a Latin America Studies certificate, at Duke University, where he received a distinguished alumnus award in 2012.
Bill lives in New York City with his wife Natalie and their dog Spot. Their daughter Bella attends art school in London. Bill loves exploring New York City, New York and the world.
Art & Climate Action
June 10, 2021
While we are proudly a science-based organization, The Nature Conservancy also appreciates the power of art and artists to tell us truths and inspire us to act. The creativity, emotion and honesty of art can be far more powerful than data.
This month, I had the pleasure of accompanying artist Maya Lin, journalist Andrew Revkin, Rodale Institute’s Maria Rodale and Perfect Earth Project’s Edwina von Gal for a discussion on climate change, nature and natural climate solutions, with a special focus on Lin’s haunting new work, “Ghost Forest,” now on view at Madison Square Park in New York City through November 14, 2021.
Organized by the Madison Square Park Conservancy, the Greening Public Art symposium brought together artists, environmentalists, journalists, cultural leaders and the public to explore how art and visual stories can move us to act for our planet. You can access the full two-and-a-half-hour recording here; the session I participated in begins at the one-hour mark.
New York Executive Director
Our World, New York: The Difference We Made Together
March 1, 2021
Thanks to your wonderful leadership, The Nature Conservancy has helped to create a thriving world in New York and beyond through our historic Our World, New York campaign. This unprecedented 5-year investment raised nearly $400M to tackle climate change and conserve healthy lands, waters and oceans would not have been possible without your generous support. Looking back, we worked with leaders and communities, committing New York to net zero emissions by 2050, cleaning Long Island’s waters of harmful nitrogen pollution, helped create new marine parks in the Indian Ocean and Caribbean the size of Germany and South Carolina, respectively. I invite you to explore the differences we’ve made together across the Empire State and around the world. I highly recommend our campaign accomplishments video, available via the link above, to get a sense of the breadth and depth of the remarkable difference we made.
Nature unites us, and with your help we are building a resilient, equitable and vibrant future, at home and around the world.
With profound appreciation,
New York Executive Director
A Statement on the Great American Outdoors Act
July 22, 2020
The passage of the Great American Outdoors Act is a tremendous victory for the American people. From the Grand Canyon to Montauk State Park, our lakes, rivers, trails and beaches are part of our national identity and cultural fabric. They provide solace and recreational opportunities to our communities, good-paying jobs and habitat for wildlife – all critical in making our state and nation prosperous. As we all navigate our way through the pandemic, investments in conservation are critical to a healthy and sustainable recovery. The importance of clean air, clean water and access to nature has never been more apparent. The Nature Conservancy is grateful to the entire New York Congressional delegation for their ongoing support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. We also appreciate our New York team members and volunteer leaders for their tireless work and dedication to helping to secure this win for all of us.
New York Executive Director
Nature for All
June 23, 2020
These past months three simultaneous pandemics have been revealed in stark clarity—fast-moving COVID-19, slower moving climate change, and deeply rooted systemic racism. We have also had the financial blow of a recession that has hit New York, the nation and the world hard. All four disproportionately affect vulnerable, at-risk communities. A key to addressing all four is nature.
Nature absorbs carbon to reduce the cause of climate change, and nature, through city trees, oyster reefs, dunes, wetlands, forests and more can help protect us and help us adapt in a climate changing world. Building and protecting these nature-based solutions can be part of the economic stimulus we need to emerge from the recession, along with building the infrastructure for clean, renewable energy.
We know that getting outdoors in nature is a healthy response to the novel coronavirus, both physically and mentally. We go out to walk, to run, to sit, to socialize with our fellow human beings, and to appreciate the natural world around us. And doing so often presents enormous risks to people of color. Unfortunately, there is a long list of names that could be shared, like Ahmaud Arbery and Christian Cooper, that are reminders of the aggression and violence Black people face on a daily basis throughout our country and around the world as they look to spend time outdoors.
Now, more than ever, it’s critical to remember that people are nature. We are part of the natural world. We cannot have a vibrant, sustainable natural world without equity, justice, inclusion and peace for all of humanity. And we cannot have equity, justice and inclusion without a healthy natural world. “When injustice reigns—whether it is unequal access to nature, unfair and inequitable laws, or police brutality—we must all do our part to push for change,” says The Nature Conservancy’s CEO Jennifer Morris, a statement that rings true today and every day.
These topics are essential to our mission across New York and around the world. We are focused on the links between social justice and climate change, investing more resources and time into things like expanding equitable preserve access, collaborating to advance a vision for a just and equitable urban forest in NYC, and growing partnerships that promote climate resilience while holistically thinking about the human benefits and impacts of our work.
We know there is more to be done. We are as committed as ever to this work while we redouble our efforts to create a world where all of nature, humanity included, can thrive.
New York Executive Director
March 23, 2020
As New York and the world grapple with a new reality, I hope this message finds you and those you love safe and healthy.
With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting our lives in profound ways, I’m reminded more so than ever of the peace, tranquility and restorative power that nature provides us all.
The Nature Conservancy in New York takes our commitment to the safety of our team members, partners, trustees and supporters very seriously. With all of our offices across the state closed, we continue to work remotely in an effective, and safe, manner. We are as committed as ever to our mission and continue our work to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.
Currently, most of our preserves remain open, but please check the individual preserve pages for any closing notifications before you visit. Consistent with Governor Cuomo’s Executive Orders, we encourage all New Yorkers to stay home as much as possible. If you do plan on visiting, stay local and close to your home. When venturing outside, please be sure you are in good health and practice social distancing. If you arrive at a preserve and notice crowds are forming, choose another trail, a different preserve or another day or time to visit. To find an alternative local spot to enjoy nature’s sanctuary, view our preserve map.
Getting outdoors is not always possible and I am heartened to see many of us strengthen our connection to nature in other ways—whether sharing some favorite nature images, tuning into a wildlife cam or exploring virtual nature tours.
As we navigate these unprecedented times, we are continually monitoring the situation and adjusting as needed. Know that it is my intention to keep you, our Conservancy supporters, as updated as possible.
Today and always, I am especially grateful for your support as we work together to create a world where all of nature, including humanity, thrives.
New York Executive Director