The Nature Conservancy Hires Julia Petersen to Manage Keweenaw Heartlands Project

Atlantic Mine resident has deep experience in managing large-scale projects in local government, non-profit and federal government sectors

 The Little Betsy Shoreline on a clear day. The water of Lake Superior is a bright blue and a vast forest extends from the shore.
Keweenaw Peninsula The Keweenaw Peninsula has globally significant opportunities for nature-based carbon solutions and land and water protection. © Devin Leonarduzzi/Quincy Aerial, LLC

KEWEENAW COUNTY, Mich.—The Nature Conservancy in Michigan (TNC)—a global conservation organization committed to building a future where people and nature both thrive—today announced the hiring of Julia Petersen as project manager for the Keweenaw Peninsula. In her role, Petersen will manage community engagement and project management for the Keweenaw Heartlands Project.

Quote: Julia Petersen

I am thrilled to join The Nature Conservancy in Michigan and take the helm of such an important project for our community.

Project Manager, Keweenaw Peninsula

“I am thrilled to join The Nature Conservancy in Michigan and take the helm of such an important project for our community,” Petersen said. “The work TNC has done in the Keweenaw Peninsula over the last several decades is nothing short of amazing, and I look forward to continuing this positive momentum so the Peninsula benefits both people and nature for generations to come.”

Petersen and her family reside in Atlantic Mine and have called the Keweenaw Peninsula home for nearly three years. Prior to joining TNC, Julia has been everything from a planning specialist for the U.S. Army to a strategic planner for a large school district and, most recently, director of conservation and education programs for the Zoological Society of Milwaukee.

“Julia Petersen has worn so many different hats throughout her career that she was a natural fit to take on the project manager role for a multi-faceted project like the Keweenaw Heartlands,” said Helen Taylor, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Michigan. “Julia has the genuine ability to connect with everyone from government officials to outdoor lovers to local community members and all points in between. I have no doubt she’ll hit the ground running next month.”

Petersen holds bachelor's degrees in education and psychology from the University of Michigan and a master’s in public administration from the University of Washington. She is currently finishing her PhD in environmental and energy policy at Michigan Technological University. Petersen’s first official day on the job will be May 8.

Petersen joins TNC at an important time in the Keweenaw Heartlands Project. Last month, TNC began to inventory the many significant aspects of the Keweenaw Heartlands.

The inventory, which will take much of the year, will include biological, cultural, historic, forest and carbon, and infrastructure assessments of the property. In the end, the inventory will help inform the future management, protection and use of resources on the land and guide future recreational opportunities, sustainable forestry and infrastructure needs.

Members of the public are encouraged to contribute to the inventory by filling out this online form.

TNC purchased the more than 32,000 acres of land known as the Keweenaw Heartlands last year. The land will remain open to the public under the Michigan Commercial Forest Program and on community tax rolls. The area is recognized by TNC as a global priority for both biodiversity and climate resiliency and as an opportunity to protect an extraordinary region. 

On top of the Keweenaw Heartlands, TNC owns and manages three preserves on the Keweenaw Peninsula including the Helmut and Candis Stern Preserve at Mt. Baldy, Bete Grise Wetlands Preserve and Mary Macdonald Preserve at Horseshoe Harbor.

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.