The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania and Delaware, along with its Board of Trustees, has elected Carol R. Collier as Board Chair and Rich Innes as Vice Chair. Each will serve a two-year term.
“Carol and Rich are extraordinary leaders in their fields and invaluable to our conservation efforts in Pennsylvania and Delaware,” said Lori Brennan, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania and Delaware Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.
Collier, who has served as Vice Chair for TNC’s Pennsylvania/Delaware Chapter since 2021 and has been a Trustee since 2015, is a highly decorated water scientist and environmental planner and a longtime environmental leader in Pennsylvania, working across aisles to improve water quality in the Delaware River Watershed and beyond. She is currently the Senior Advisor for Watershed Management and Policy at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. For 15 years, she served as executive director of the Delaware River Basin Commission.
Prior to that, she was the executive director of Pennsylvania’s 21st Century Environment Commission and director of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) Southeast Region. She began her career at BCM Environmental Engineers, Inc., starting as a student intern and ultimately becoming vice president of environmental planning, science and risk.
In December, Collier was named to Pennsylvania Governor-elect Josh Shapiro’s transition team on environmental issues, marking the third time she will have advised an incoming Governor (both Republican and Democrat).
“Since I left government and was able to join a non-profit organization, The Nature Conservancy has been on the top of my list,” Collier said. “I so admire the “boots on the ground” as well as the important role the organization plays in policy development – water resources, climate, and energy. I am so honored to be named board chair of the Pennsylvania/Delaware Chapter.”
“I look forward to working closely with my fellow trustees and excellent staff to make our imprint even more durable,” she continued. ”These next two years will be very important as we help protect our portions of the Appalachians, the mountain chain designated as one of four areas of global significance by TNC. We also have critical work to do in the areas of coastal sustainability, urban greening, climate change mitigation and adaptation and water quality improvement.”
Rich Innes excels at navigating both science and policy, serving as a Senior Fellow at Meridian Institute, where he helps lead the work of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative to catalyze ocean policy reform at the national, regional, state and local levels. Based in Lewes, Delaware and Washington D.C., he also helps direct the work of the Association of National Estuary Programs, working directly with the 28 programs on every coast to assure sound policy and federal support for implementing comprehensive, broadly supported plans to protect and restore some of our most vital bays and estuaries.
Previously, Innes served as a lead staffer for the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, where he helped shape bedrock laws, including the Clean Water Act. He began his career in government at the EPA as a Presidential Management Fellow under then-Administrator Bill Ruckelshaus.
“I have had the good fortune of interacting with The Nature Conservancy throughout my career,” Innes said. “They have consistently stood for excellence, honesty, a commitment to diversity, a reliance on science and a single-minded focus on conserving nature for the benefit of mankind. I am greatly looking forward to working with Carol and my fellow trustees and the immensely talented TNC staff to do our part to meet the unprecedented challenges of a rapidly changing climate. “
Both Collier and Innes recognized the enormous contribution and steady leadership of outgoing Chair Rich Aneser, who has led the Pennsylvania and Delaware Board for the past two years and will remain a Trustee.
“We’d like to commend Rich for his leadership and success as Board Chair, guiding the Pennsylvania and Delaware Chapter through COVID and other challenges to ultimately emerge stronger and better positioned to make a difference in our two states than ever before,“ said Collier and Innes in a joint statement.
In Pennsylvania and Delaware, TNC is leading large-scale conservation programs that protect the lands and waters that are critical to the health and well-being of both people and nature. In Pennsylvania, TNC is also working to reduce stormwater runoff in cities, protect vital migration corridors like the Kittatinny Ridge and engage farmers and landowners in supporting the adoption of conservation practices. TNC’s work in Delaware focuses on building resilience against climate change—including along the state’s vulnerable coastlines—to protect human communities and habitats.
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 more than 70 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.