Steve Cohn of The Nature Conservancy Named BLM Alaska State Director

Scenic view of a still lake with three canoes floating on it with rugged green and snow-covered mountains in the background under a blue sky dotted with puffy clouds in Alaska.
Alaska Playground The grandeur of Alaska is unparalleled. © Alaska Wildland Adventures

Steve Cohn, State Director for The Nature Conservancy in Alaska, has accepted a new position with the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as its new Alaska State Director. He will begin his new position on May 23.  

Steve Cohn joined The Nature Conservancy in 2018 after a distinguished 16-year career with the BLM, where he served as deputy state director for resources in Alaska for five years, in addition to senior BLM postings in Washington, D.C., Oregon and Arizona. In his new position Steve will oversee 70 million acres of public lands, as well as 220 million acres of subsurface mineral estate. 

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to lead a team of staff so dedicated to the conservation mission of The Nature Conservancy in Alaska. I have appreciated the deep commitment of TNC’s board of trustees in Alaska and the long-term commitment of our members, who continue to help TNC make a difference in Alaska,” said Cohn. “From the beginning of my tenure with TNC, together, we’ve helped bring to life a new kind of conservation in Alaska. It relies on working together in new ways and seeking out and building new relationships with tribes and local communities, and supporting their efforts as they help us to light the way ahead. With efforts like these, The Nature Conservancy will continue to play a critical role in creating a world where people and nature thrive.”

“Steve brought a fresh approach to leadership and decades of conservation experience to the Alaska program and, in the last four years, advanced our chapter in its mission, visibility and momentum,” said Karen King, board chair of The Nature Conservancy of Alaska. “He will be missed but leaves our chapter in good stead to continue to make progress on the conservation efforts he and his staff so expertly spearheaded.”

The Nature Conservancy will begin the process for recruiting a new state director as soon as possible, led by Toni Hardesty, Western U.S. and Canada Division Director. In the meantime the chapter will be led by interim director Elizabeth Kitchens, a 20-year veteran of The Nature Conservancy, who currently serves as Conservation Manager for the Western U.S. and Canada Division.

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 or follow @nature_press on Twitter.