Mark Zankel speaks with a couple at a trailhead in the woods.
Let's Talk New Hampshire State Director Mark Zankel speaks with attendees at the opening of the All Persons Trail at Manchester Cedar Swamp Preserve. © © Rooted in Light Media


After More Than Two-Decades of Leadership, Mark Zankel Stepping Down as State Director of The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire

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After 21 years at The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire, including nearly a decade as State Director, Mark Zankel will be stepping down from his role in mid-July. Under Zankel’s leadership, TNC has become one of the most impactful and influential conservation organizations in the Granite State.

“Nature in New Hampshire is much better off today because of Mark Zankel’s vision and leadership,” remarked Barbara Freeman, Chair of the Board of Trustees.  “Mark has used his many considerable talents to further the conservation of our lands and waters – truly protecting the New Hampshire advantage for today and for future generations. 

During his tenure, Zankel led The Nature Conservancy to landmark accomplishments including:

  • Conserving more than 200,000 acres of the Granite State’s most ecologically significant lands and waters, propelling The Nature Conservancy into the position of sixth largest private landowner in the state.
  • Developing new programs and staff capacity focused on restoring the Great Bay estuary, conserving freshwater resources, supporting New Hampshire's clean energy transition, helping communities adapt to climate change using nature-based solutions, influencing public policy, and engaging community partners.
  • Generating and sharing TNC’s leading conservation science and planning with public and private partners to increase the effectiveness of conservation investment.
  • Launching an effort to expand equitable access to nature, which has resulted in TNC’s first two universally accessible "All Persons" trails, located at the Ossipee Pine Barrens and Manchester Cedar Swamp preserves.
  • Doubling staffing, tripling the annual operating and program budget, and significantly increasing endowments to support program sustainability.
  • Building a highly engaged and effective board of trustees.
  • Successfully completing the $45 million Future of Nature campaign, the largest statewide conservation fundraising campaign in New Hampshire history.
  • Initiating a process of learning and dialogue to develop a framework for integrating dimensions of diversity, equity, and inclusion into TNC's conservation program and practice.

Quote: Barbara Freeman

Nature in New Hampshire is much better off today because of Mark Zankel’s vision and leadership.

Chair, Board of Trustees of The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire
Mark Zankel stands in the woods wearing a blue coat.
Mark Zankel New Hampshire State Director © Jerry and Marcy Monkman/EcoPhotography

"When I became State Director, our program was ready to evolve, to expand the vision of what we could do for the Granite State and for our organization,” said Zankel. "With our Vision 2020 strategic plan and the Future of Nature campaign, we did just that. We conserved spectacular lands and waters. Helped free rivers. Put a whole lot of oysters in Great Bay (and ate a few of them too!). Helped drive major changes to New England fisheries management. Completed the largest floodplain restoration project in New Hampshire history (and are now launching the largest one ever in New England). And brought the concept of equitable and inclusive access to nature to a new level in our state’s largest and most diverse city. I’m so proud of what our team has accomplished. And the next big evolution for The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire is underway."

Later this month, The Nature Conservancy will be launching a competitive search process to recruit its next New Hampshire State Director. The recruitment will be led by TNC’s Northeast Division Director, Terry Sullivan, who anticipates having a new director in place by the end of the year.

Zankel is looking forward to spending the latter part of the summer with family, and this fall will be taking on a fellowship with The Nature Conservancy’s global chief conservation office. 


The Nature Conservancy works in New Hampshire and around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science and using a collaborative approach that is grounded in the needs of our state and local communities, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. In New Hampshire, the Conservancy has helped protect more than 290,000 acres of forests, fields and natural areas, along with 680 miles of coastal shoreline and river frontage. To learn more, visit or follow us at TNCNH on Facebook, @tncnewhampshire on Instagram or @Nature_NH on Twitter.

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 or follow @nature_press on Twitter.