The Nature Conservancy Selects Officers and Two New Trustees to Help Guide its Work in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota

Paddling on a Minnesota lake.
Paddling-on-a-Minnesota-lake Paddling on a Minnesota lake. © Rachel Davis & Mike Bowman

The Nature Conservancy announces today that it has elected John Knapp as chair of its Board of Trustees overseeing the organization’s work in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota and added new trustees Allison Gage and Steve Christenson.

Knapp, a retired attorney who resides in Saint Paul, is eager for TNC to help tackle climate change as more frequent and devastating wildfires, hurricanes and droughts show action is urgently needed. 

I’m really pleased to be able to work with this organization and get things done for people and nature.

Board Chair in MN-ND-SD

“The Nature Conservancy’s approach is and always has been, ‘How do we get things done?’” Knapp said. “I’m really pleased to be able to work with this organization and get things done for people and nature.” 

Knapp is joined by new trustees Allison Gage of Edina, Minnesota, president of the Big Know, an online-learning company focused on health and wellness, and Steve Christenson, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ecolab’s global senior vice president of regulatory affairs and associate general counsel.

TNC and conservation play a really important role in our wellbeing.

Allison Gage President, The Big Know

Gage is interested in the connection between human health and wellbeing and conservation. “Wellbeing is not just one thing. It’s your physical wellbeing, your mental wellbeing, your community and your social connections. TNC and conservation play a really important role in our wellbeing,” Gage said.

Christenson, who co-founded Ecolab’s corporate sustainability program, hopes to support TNC’s work with businesses to help advance its strategic priorities, which include not only climate change, but also providing food and water sustainably and protecting our land and water. 

I’ve been inspired by the initiatives TNC is driving to help foster more collaboration between conservation and corporate partners.

Steve Christenson SVP of Global Regulatory Affairs, Ecolab

Mike Meyer, a senior executive coach and consultant who resides in Minneapolis, will continue to serve as vice chair of TNC’s Minnesota-North Dakota-South Dakota Board. Mary Brainerd, of Mahtomedi, Minnesota and former CEO and president of Health Partners, was selected as treasurer.  

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.