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Field of gray headed coneflowers.
Cross Ranch Gray-headed coneflower at Cross Ranch. © Richard Hamilton Smith

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The Nature Conservancy Adds Five New Trustees to Help Guide its Work in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota

The Nature Conservancy announced today that it has added five new trustees — David Bryant, Claire Dempsey, Tadd Johnson, David Mortenson and Peg Skold— to its Board of Trustees overseeing the organization’s work in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

John Knapp, a retired attorney who resides in St. Paul, will continue to serve as 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 vice chair. Hema Nealon, chief financial officer and chief operating officer of Peregrine Capital Management, an equity firm based in Minneapolis, will serve as treasurer. 

We live in a fabulous and unique state. I’d like to help it stay that way for generations to come.

TNC Board Member, MN-ND-SD

Bryant, a member of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community who currently serves as its community development and training manager and who lives in Prior Lake, Minnesota, says he’s excited to join TNC to “help advance the actions needed in Indian Country and the people with whom we share these lands.” Bryant believes the most important conservation issues facing the region is “protection and access to clean water for rural and remote populations.”

Dempsey, a former marketing and business professional who resides in Edina, Minnesota, says TNC’s mission to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends is critical. “I hope to help TNC make real progress right here in Minnesota on climate change and protecting biodiversity. We live in a fabulous and unique state. I’d like to help it stay that way for generations to come.”

Johnson, an enrolled member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa and a resident of Duluth, Minnesota, is the first senior director of the University of Minnesota’s Indian Tribal Nation Relations, serving as liaison between the university system and tribal nations in the region. He cited TNC’s work on climate change, particularly in advancing natural climate solutions, and he also hopes to help the organization advance its relationship with Indigenous people in the region. “I believe in investing in water, wildlife, soil, plants and trees. I also hope to help forge a stronger bond between TNC and the Native American community.”

Our top environmental issue right now is global climate change. We need to address this issue both from the standpoint of slowing down the process and preparing for changes that have already been set in motion.

TNC Board Member, MN-ND-SD

Mortenson, chairman of Mortenson Company, a construction and engineering company, says TNC’s goals to help limit global warming and advance land and water protection attracted him. Mortenson, who resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota, also cited TNC’s growing effort to assist the agricultural industry in improving water quality and carbon storage. “I want to be part of helping the planet get to net zero by 2050. And providing food and water sustainably by helping implement sustainable farming solutions enables farmers to be more profitable and their businesses more resilient.”

Skold, a former pharmacist and a resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota, says TNC’s science-based and collaborative approach to conservation appealed to her. She also believes the organization’s efforts to help reduce emissions that contribute to climate change and to help people and nature adapt to the effects of warmer weather is sound. “Our top environmental issue right now is global climate change. We need to address this issue both from the standpoint of slowing down the process and preparing for changes that have already been set in motion.”  

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 www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.