Arched red rock formation in sunrise light with valley in the background.
Sunrise Mesa Arch in Utah. © Cameron Lefevre


The Nature Conservancy Announces Elizabeth Kitchens as New Utah Director

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TNC Utah State Director Elizabeth Kitchens with blurred winter vegetation in background.
ELIZABETH KITCHENS New state director for The Nature Conservancy in Utah. © Stuart Ruckman Photography

Elizabeth Kitchens recounts running around in open spaces with her sisters and cousins in rural New Mexico as a child. One grandfather was a cattle rancher; the other was an alfalfa farmer. She understands how tough it is to rely on the land for one’s livelihood. From an early age, she loved nature and wildlife, and through her parents’ influence she became keenly aware of the important role of conservation. She now steps into the role of Utah State Director for The Nature Conservancy (TNC). 

Kitchens brings 21 years of TNC experience to this role. Kitchens began her work with TNC as a senior attorney and then served for six years with the Utah Chapter as associate state director and conservation programs director. She has also served as interim state director for TNC’s Wyoming, Alaska and Utah chapters. Most recently, Kitchens worked as conservation manager for TNC’s Western U.S. and Canada Division.

“Elizabeth’s years of leadership, proven management skills and passion for TNC’s mission of conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends will propel the Utah chapter forward,” said Toni Hardesty, TNC’s Western U.S. and Canada Division director.

Kitchens is honored to be selected to succeed Dave Livermore, outgoing Utah director, who built a 43-year legacy of incredible conservation success. She is eager to get to work addressing the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss and to build more diversity and equity into Utah’s approach to these challenges. 

“I’m motivated by a love of nature, a passion for our mission and the chance to work alongside great people,” said Kitchens. “While we face many challenges in Utah and across the West, I’m more inspired than ever before to lead the Utah chapter to make lasting impacts now and into the future for the benefit of nature and people. It’s time to roll up our sleeves to build on the chapter’s successes and develop collaborative conservation solutions for Utah and the region.” 

Born and raised in New Mexico, Kitchens spent considerable time in Colorado and graduated from law school at the University of Denver. She moved to Salt Lake City after law school and loves living close to the magnificent Wasatch Mountains, where she frequently hikes. An avid reader, Kitchens also enjoys traveling in the U.S. and internationally. 

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. The Nature Conservancy is working to make a lasting difference around the world in 77 countries and territories (41 by direct conservation impact and 36 through partners) through a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on X.