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Nicole Silk

Global Director of Freshwater Outcomes

Boulder, CO

Headshot of Nicole Silk.

Nicole Silk Global Director for Freshwater Outcomes © Courtesy Nicole Silk

Areas of Expertise

Water security, Freshwater biodiversity, Rivers, Climate change, Water equity

Media Contact



As Global Director of Freshwater Outcomes, Nicole is the driving force behind the organization’s response to the dual crisis of biodiversity loss and climate change as they relate to rivers, lakes and wetlands. Specifically, she is galvanizing The Nature Conservancy’s collective momentum to conserve a million kilometers of rivers and 30 million hectares of lakes and wetlands around the world by 2030 by engaging in collaborative partnerships, promoting innovative solutions and supporting policies that shift what is possible. Today, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) supports nearly 500 projects in 36 countries. By 2030, this impact of investments will be doubled.

Prior to her return to TNC in 2022, Nicole was President and CEO of River Network, which she guided through a period of remarkable organizational change, sharpening financial health, internal capacity, and attention to equity and inclusion, in collaboration with staff, board members, supporters and advisors. Before joining River Network, Nicole helped launch and lead the first global water program and a variety of knowledge initiatives at TNC (1994-2013). Nicole has also worked on legal and policy aspects of private lands and wildlife conservation in the U.S. and Costa Rica, and as a professional river guide around the world.

Understanding how people relate to water and rivers, what these systems need to remain healthy, and how we can work together toward a more equitable, sustainable and durable water future have been at the center of Nicole Silk’s career for 30 years. She has served on many boards and advisory committees related to urban and rural water security challenges, convened hundreds of conferences and learning events on freshwater topics, and pioneered new websites, social networks, national campaigns, and online communities to advance faster progress toward healthy rivers.

Nicole has a bachelor’s degree in economics and ecology (double major) from the University of California Santa Cruz, a Juris Doctor from the University of California Davis, and advanced training related to nonprofit leadership and diversity, equity, and inclusion. When she is not working, Nicole enjoys music and culture, time outdoors with her dog George, rowing her boat down remote rivers with family and friends, and cycling and skiing adventures in Colorado and beyond.

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