Aerial view of the southern Huachuca Mountains in Arizona.
Southern Huachuca Mountains The southern Huachuca Mountains in Arizona are also known as the "Sky Islands." © Adriel Heisey


The Nature Conservancy in Arizona Hires New State Director

The Nature Conservancy in Arizona is excited to announce Dan Stellar as its new state director. In this role, Stellar will lead the chapter’s conservation strategy, public policy leadership, marketing and fundraising efforts.  

Stellar – who has served as the chapter’s deputy state director the last four years – is eager to advance initiatives designed to secure our water, improve forest health, clean our air and cool temperatures in vulnerable communities.

State director for The Nature Conservancy in Arizona.
Dan Stellar State director for The Nature Conservancy in Arizona. © TNC

“I’m thrilled about this opportunity,” says Stellar. “Over the last four years I’ve overseen a conservation staff of 44 who are innovative, determined and collaborative. This team can do anything it puts its mind to. I’ve also had the pleasure of cultivating relationships with our volunteer trustees who provide expertise, guidance and support.”

Stellar has spent his career in the nonprofit conservation sector including time working for Columbia University where he oversaw international water policy and conservation work. This gave him the opportunity to spend time in India, Brazil and Mali and greatly deepened his appreciation for the role the environment plays in people’s lives and livelihoods.

Stellar takes the role as Pat Graham moves to interim director of the Arizona Thrives Alliance, a collaborative effort to advance clean air, clean energy and a thriving economy in Arizona. Graham—who led the chapter for 19 years—says Dan is someone who can take our work to the next level.

“Dan will enable the chapter to maintain continuity,” adds Pat Graham, former director for The Nature Conservancy in Arizona. “I am excited about the quality of leadership throughout the Conservancy and I’m very confident in Dan, the leadership team and all of the staff in Arizona. There are many wins ahead.”

Conservation is a marathon, not a sprint. Stellar clearly understands endurance as he’s a committed runner who has completed over 25 long-distance races.

“As an athlete, I’ve learned so many skills including time management, goalsetting, discipline, focus and sportsmanship. That combined with my passion for and experience in conservation provides readiness for challenges, flexible solutions and perseverance.”

Dan’s passion for conservation originated by spending time in the mountains of northern New England as a child and was solidified when he lived in Alaska for three years. He and his wife are the proud parents of a 5-year-old who knows lots of facts about science.

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 76 countries and territories—37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners—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.