Our People

Tim Purinton

Executive Director, Maryland/DC

Bethesda, MD

A man wearing a blue shirt stands above a river that runs through a deep gorge. The steep walls of the gorge form a backdrop behind him.

Tim Purinton Executive Director © Severn Smith / TNC

Areas of Expertise

ecological restoration, program implementation, fresh water protection, policy, fundraising

Media Contact

Matt Kane


Tim’s diversity of work—ranging from leading the implementation of our conservation vision and launching new initiatives to working closely with the chapter’s volunteer trustees—is for a single purpose: to address the most pressing environmental issues facing Maryland and the District of Columbia. 

The outcomes, if successful, will be cleaner water, healthier forests, and more resilient urban and coastal communities.

While the states' geography occupy a relatively small footprint, they are critical to the health of the mid-Atlantic region. Maryland’s western forests are a key wildlife corridor along the Appalachian Mountains. The intact watersheds on the Eastern Shore represent some of the best opportunities for ameliorating the impacts of sea level rise. And Washington, D.C., is on the forefront of creating new and replicable mechanisms for financing stormwater pollution treatment.

Before joining TNC in 2017, Tim served as the director of the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration, part of the commonwealth’s Department of Fish and Game. It was a division he co-created in 2009 to help the state adapt to climate change, provide clean water, revitalize cities and protect biodiversity.

In his previous roles, Tim worked alongside TNC staff restoring ecosystems, influencing environmental policy and instituting climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies in Massachusetts as a state government official for over a decade. 

Tim holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from McGill University.

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Building Equity and Justice in Our Work
Published in the Maryland/DC 2020 Impact Report

Perfect vision is 20/20. 2020 proved the optical opposite, a year clouded with uncertainty. COVID-19 threw the world off balance. The unnecessary deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and others rocked societal foundations. Just up the coast, Christian Cooper, who was racially profiled while birding, reminds us that racism extends its toxic tendrils into the environmental movement that many of us, especially white people like me, have assumed to be morally pure and built on just intentions.

For example, take conservation easements, a trusted land protection tool. Land-use restrictions such as easements share a legal history with racial redlining and exclusionary zoning. (Redlining was the practice of shading the Black communities on maps with red to mark them as credit risks.) As we launch an urban conservation program in Baltimore, the birthplace of redlining, we are reminded that social and environmental justice must be woven throughout our conservation agenda, regardless of place. Understanding the history of the environmental movement and how it serves to support the established dominant groups will help us break down this unjust hierarchy.

Despite the tumultuous year, we have many accomplishments to celebrate. I’m especially proud of our team members, all of whom who adapted gracefully to working from home and re-imagined peer and partner engagement. Thanks to our talented staff, trustees and supporters who sustain our mission in diffcult circumstances.

While we face major societal unrest, the climate crisis is not abating, and the lands and waters we cherish will not heal themselves. At TNC, we continue to sail forward, despite the significant headwinds, and I promise we will build more equity and justice in our work, knowing it’s the only way to ensure that people and nature thrive together. That, at least, is clear.

When Nature Unites Us

Read media commentary related to Tim Purinton.

  • A man in a blue shirt stands in front of a small grove of trees addressing a crowd of seated guests during a ceremonial greenspace dedication in Washington, DC.

    Q&A with Tim Purinton

    In this interview Tim shares his perspectives on working collaboratively with diverse partners and the changes and challenges of the nonprofit world. Read More