The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has named Ben Postlethwait state director in Kansas. He brings two decades of experience in the electric utility industry and a background in biology to his role at TNC. As state director, Ben leads a team of conservation experts and support staff focused on large-scale, lasting land, water and biodiversity conservation across the state.
"The Nature Conservancy's mission to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends is critical," said Postlethwait. "I want to help ensure my children—and someday grandchildren—have the opportunity to experience and understand Kansas's great natural resources."
TNC's direct, on-the-ground conservation work in Kansas began more than 50 years ago. The Kansas Chapter formed in 1989, and only two other state directors have led it over the past 34 years. Postlethwait joins the organization shortly after the development of a new five-year strategic plan. He will lead a staff of 25 to protect high-priority prairies and streams; promote regenerative agricultural practices; advance renewable energy development while protecting ecologically sensitive areas; and engage partners, supporters, and others in our work.
"On behalf of the Nature Conservancy's Kansas board of trustees, we are thrilled to welcome Ben as our next Kansas state director," said Bill Lyons, TNC's Kansas board chair. "He was selected after a competitive search, and we are confident that Ben's forward-thinking, strategic leadership will advance TNC's ambitious conservation mission in Kansas and around the world."
"We have big goals to protect and improve the stewardship of thousands of acres in the Flint Hills," said Postlethwait, "and newer efforts through the Southern High Plains Initiative allow us to work across state borders in vast landscapes. I am also impressed with the innovative, science-based work of the Sustainable Rivers Program. Given my previous work in the energy sector, I also look forward to facilitating collaboration between conservation agencies and the utility industry."
Postlethwait comes to TNC from Evergy, a public utility in eastern Kansas, where he was responsible for the company's conservation program, which included carbon sequestration initiatives, energy asset siting and permitting, water resource protection, and wildlife habitat conservation. He led Evergy's Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and sustainability programs and developed their climate resiliency and preparedness assessment process. He worked closely with TNC through Evergy's Green Team, an employee group of volunteers that worked on wildlife habitat improvement, environmental access and education, and enhancement of sensitive species.
Postlethwait has a bachelor's degree in biology from Fort Hays State University. He is an avid cyclist, trail runner, scuba diver, paddler, and rock climber. He and his wife, Kacy, enjoy traveling with their two young daughters in pursuit of new adventures on rivers, rocks and trails.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 70 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.