Elizabeth smiles at the camera seated at her desk with palms on the desk, computer and credenza in the background
Elizabeth Koehler: Elizabeth directs TNC’s work in Wisconsin. © Jim Schumaker


New Wisconsin State Director

Former Wisconsin Deputy State Director Elizabeth Koehler chosen as new Wisconsin State Director

Madison, WI

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Koehler has been chosen as the new state director in Wisconsin.

Koehler brings more than 20 years of non-profit management experience, fundraising leadership, and board and staff development to the job, most recently serving as deputy state director for TNC in Wisconsin and, before that, as its director of development. She steps into the role held by Mary Jean Huston, who retired from TNC after 38 years with the organization and 20 as the Wisconsin State Director.

“I am delighted that Elizabeth was chosen to lead The Nature Conservancy’s program in Wisconsin and will have the opportunity to continue to do the great work for our state’s precious natural resources that she has done over the last 20 years with TNC,” says Chris Noyes, member of Wisconsin’s Board of Trustees and attorney at Godfrey & Kahn in Milwaukee. “Elizabeth has the leadership skills, passion, energy and talent to help us build on our legacy of land and water protection to tackle big challenges like keeping our water clean as we meet the increased demand for food.”

The transition comes at a pivotal time for TNC in Wisconsin, as the chapter prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2020. The occasion also marks the launch of the chapter’s innovative three-year strategic plan, which calls for a new kind of conservation that aligns with the needs of a changing world. To meet those evolving needs, TNC is focused on four main priorities: tackling climate change, providing food and water sustainably, building healthy cities, and a continued commitment to TNC’s core work of protecting the land and water upon which all life depends. All of this is being done while engaging more diverse audiences in the work of the chapter to find solutions to increasingly complex problems.

A series of anniversary events, including opportunities to explore TNC’s preserves in the state as well as to meet and mingle with others who love nature and want to protect it, is planned for the new year. Koehler will also be traveling the state to introduce herself and talk with members, volunteers, and anyone interested in TNC’s work in Wisconsin. Details and a calendar of events will be available at nature.org/wisconsin in early 2020.

Originally from Ohio, Koehler says she forged her love of nature while on vacations with her family in Wisconsin’s Northwoods, and she continues to see it as a “magical state” today.

Koehler has formed and led teams of staff and volunteers in three successful fundraising campaigns over the last 15 years for TNC’s work locally, regionally, and globally. She also played a leadership role in strengthening TNC’s relationships with volunteer leaders across the U.S. and stepped in as acting director of the Iowa program in 2018.

Koehler has a background and education in the arts and communications and is a gifted writer and speaker. She enjoys time in the outdoors trail running, rock climbing, and wandering Wisconsin (and beyond) with her husband, David Koehler.

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 75 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 38 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.