Idaho State Director
Mark Menlove Idaho State Director © Dev Khalsa

Our People

Mark Menlove

State Director, Idaho

Boise, Idaho

  • Areas of Expertise

    conservation strategy, fundraising, government relations, outdoor recreation/business

Biography

Mark came to The Nature Conservancy after serving 14 years as the Executive Director for the Idaho-based Winter Wildlands Alliance. His recent accomplishments also include co-founding the Outdoor Alliance and the Idaho Outdoor Business Council. Prior to that, Mark served as President of the Utah Ski Association/Ski Utah and in communications positions with the U.S. Ski Team, 2002 Winter Olympic Games and Park City Ski Area.

Through these efforts, Mark has been a leading voice and advocate for federal and state conservation funding, public lands policy, climate science and engaging the outdoor recreation community in conservation. Mark feeds his passion for and commitment to Idaho’s wild places through fly fishing, whitewater rafting, backcountry skiing, camping and hiking, most often with his wife, Dana, and teenaged children Asa and Eliza.

Mark understands that as the nation’s fastest growing state, Idaho faces unprecedented challenges to the health of its lands, waters and wildlife. And he believes that The Nature Conservancy is uniquely positioned to meet these challenges. Mark earned a BA in Journalism from the University of Utah and a MFA in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Arizona.

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Sept 27, 2021

As the seasons change, I find myself reflecting on fall harvest and the deep gratitude I feel to farmers who work so hard to provide food for our tables. This year was tough for farmers. The megadrought and prolonged heat wave was hard on crops and diminished already limited water resources. Farmers and laborers faced harsh working conditions in the heat and smoke from wildfires. These are all difficult reminders of the ways our food systems are vulnerable to climate change.

It’s clearer than ever that the health of our human and natural systems is profoundly interconnected. And it’s equally apparent these extreme weather events are not an anomaly, but rather a trend toward a hotter future that will impact lives and livelihoods, including food production, unless we take action.

At The Nature Conservancy, we constantly strive for solutions and I am excited about the enormous possibility I see in our regenerative agriculture work. The Idaho Chapter launched our Healthy Soil, Resilient Waters Initiative in 2018 after identifying soil health as one of our greatest conservation opportunities in Idaho—not just to protect nature, but to ensure thriving communities.

Part of a growing soil health movement, regenerative agriculture is a system of farming practices that enriches soil, increases biodiversity, creates cleaner and more abundant water supplies, and stores carbon in the ground, which helps fight climate change. Examples of these practices include minimal tillage, planting cover crops to cover the soil and keep living roots in the ground and integrating sustainable livestock grazing.

We get healthier food, healthier communities and healthier lands and waters when we work with nature instead of against it. When we use regenerative farming practices that mimic nature, we can maintain or improve yields, reduce production costs and be part of the solution to some of our most complex environmental challenges.

In a state with 3.4 million acres of irrigated cropland and the third-highest water use in the nation, the opportunities for landscape-scale transformation are huge. So how can we get there?

This year, TNC took another step forward by launching a regenerative agriculture demonstration farm near Twin Falls where farmers can learn about regenerative practices tailored to our unique region and see the environmental and economic benefits in action. By creating a living classroom where practices can be tested and shared with the Magic Valley farming community, TNC is working to inspire wider adoption of regenerative agriculture throughout Idaho.

Season after season, we are indebted to farmers for their tireless work growing food for our communities. Through TNC’s work supporting Idaho producers in the transition to regenerative agriculture, we’re helping create a more sustainable and secure future for farmers while employing natural climate solutions that benefit people and nature. Thank you for partnering with us on this journey.

Yours in conservation,

Mark Menlove
State Director

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