Our People

Larry Clemens

State Director, Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana

  • AREA OF EXPERTISE

    Agriculture, Policy, Freshwater

Biography

Larry Clemens grew up in America’s Farm Belt, where he learned at a young age how the lands and waters connect us and how agriculture touches every part of our lives—a valuable lesson that has served him well since he first joined The Nature Conservancy in 1992.

Larry first served as Indiana’s Upper St. Joseph River director and then Assistant State Director for Conservation in Indiana, responsible for the strategic planning and management of the Chapter’s conservation efforts.

From 2014-2019, Larry served as TNC’s Director of North America’s Agriculture Program, where he worked to provide farmers a means to meet the growing demand for food production while protecting critical lands and waters for both people and nature.  Returning to his Hoosier roots, Larry accepted the position of Indiana State Director in May of 2019.

Larry lives in northeast Indiana, and when he’s not working, he enjoys spending time at his small farm in Steuben County. He and his wife, Mercedes, have two children, Christopher and Maria, and in July 2020 they became the proud grandparents of twin boys.  Larry shares nature with his children and grandchildren every chance he gets! 


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September 2020

We are entering our seventh month of a COVID-infused world, and it’s clear that people need nature now more than ever. We are seeing record numbers of visitors to natural areas in Indiana and across the country. Studies show that as few as 15 minutes spent in nature can slow your heart rate, decrease your blood pressure and lower the levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) in your brain. Getting a “nature fix” is a smart thing to do!

To accommodate the increased demand for nature – and to help all Hoosiers access it – we will be investing in ten “Flagship Preserves” around the state. At these ten properties, we will make improvements to trails, parking, and signage. It’s critical that we work toward creating access that’s inviting, useful and safe for all people. I look forward to sharing more with you as details unfold.

Also, you may have heard about the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) in Congress this summer. I’d like to share why this is such an incredible success for conservation. First, it will provide up to $9 billion over the next five years to fund deferred maintenance work at national parks and other public lands. Second, it guarantees $900 million per year for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in perpetuity.

LWCF helps fund four federal land programs and provides grants to state and local government to acquire land for recreation and conservation. The LWCF was established in 1964 and is funded by royalty payments from offshore oil and gas drilling; however, most years, Congress has appropriated less than half of the intended $900 million. LWCF funding helped TNC achieve its goal of protecting 100,000 acres in Indiana, and it will help us reach our goal of protecting an additional 40,000 acres over the next five years. In many cases, TNC will need to bring matching dollars to the table when applying for funding, so our supporters play a very key role in securing this funding.

Just as important to Indiana is a $1.125 million grant we received from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust. This grant will expand our work in the headwaters of the Upper White River Watershed (Delaware, Henry, Madison, and Randolph counties). It will allow us to:

  1. explore water quality trends to target various conservation practices;
  2. pioneer an innovative program to incentivize the planting of cover crops, which hold soil and nutrients on farm fields during fallow winter months; and
  3. use submerged aquatic vegetation to restore fish habitat.

This grant is part of our larger initiative to improve water quality in Indiana by influencing soil health practices and to reach our goal of 50% of row crop acres planted in cover crops across the state by 2025. It is ambitious, but we have strong partnerships and strategies that we believe in.

There’s a lot happening at TNC these days, and I’m proud of our staff as they work creatively to continue our very important mission.

I hope you and your families are staying healthy and safe!

Thank you for your support of The Nature Conservancy.

Larry Clemens
State Director, The Nature Conservancy in Indiana

 

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