Our People

John Cougher

State Director, Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska

Headshot of John Cougher.

John Cougher Nebraska State Director © Sadie Cougher

Areas of Expertise

Philanthropy, Climate Communications, Strategic Planning, Capital Campaigns, Volunteer Leadership

Media Contact

Jill Wells


John Cougher


John’s love of the Great Plains is in his DNA. As a sixth-generation Kansan, he is most at home on vast grasslands and under starry skies.

He attended the University of Kansas, earning a B.A. in German Languages and Linguistics. He completed graduate studies in Germanic Linguistics in Bonn, Germany, and Public Administration at the University of Oklahoma. Most recently, John was awarded his M.S. in Global Environmental, Health, and Development Challenges from the University of Edinburgh.

John chose careers that honed his abilities to connect people to missions. He got his start in the nonprofit world doing interfaith work. He helped restructure a non-profit mental health crisis counseling group to better serve their clients. John created dozens of new endowed educational and medical school scholarships at the University of Oklahoma.

Great Plains conservation was never far from John’s heart, and in July of 2011, he began his career at The Nature Conservancy, first fundraising for the Oklahoma chapter, and then for the Kansas chapter, where he led all aspects of planning and executing a comprehensive $30 million, five-year campaign. In addition, John led the charge to install solar panels on all TNC-owned buildings in Kansas, and led much of the program’s climate and energy work.

John became the State Director for Nebraska in October of 2021, where he continues to build partnerships, raise money, lead staff and volunteers, communicate about climate change, and share his contagious love for grasslands and rivers.

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