A mixture of mature hardwoods with hemlocks or spruces is the ideal nesting habitat for Blackburnian warblers.
Vermont Forest A mixture of mature hardwoods with hemlocks or spruces is the ideal nesting habitat for Blackburnian warblers. © David Middleton


The Nature Conservancy in Vermont Appoints Lauren Oates Interim Director of Government Relations and Policy

  • Eve Frankel
    Director of Strategic Communications
    Phone: 802.595.5000

The Nature Conservancy in Vermont (TNC) is pleased to announce that Lauren Oates will assume the role of Interim Director of Government Relations and Policy, following the departure of Phil Huffman in early August. Oates has been with TNC since 2019, where she has proven herself a leader in advancing climate-forward policies, programs, and initiatives. In her new capacity, she will further elevate the role of science in decisions and policy making, as well as leverage our natural and working lands to comprehensively address the dual crises of unprecedented bio-diversity loss and accelerated climate change. Oates will continue to serve on Vermont’s Climate Council, following her appointment by the Senate last year as an expert on resilience to climate impacts.

“In order to meet this critical moment in time in a way that builds both human and natural community resilience, we must create and implement strong public policies and innovative funding mechanisms. I feel fortunate to be in this space, at this time, and look forward to working with partners to promote science-backed solutions to our greatest environmental challenges,” said Oates.

Oates will be working with elected and appointed officials in state government, with Vermont’s congressional delegation, and with nongovernmental partners to advance solutions-focused policies and initiatives that support TNC’s mission to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.

“Climate scientists have underscored the importance of this decade to our collective ability to make significant progress in addressing the climate crisis,” said Heather Furman, TNC’s Vermont state director. “We are absolutely focused on investing in policies and actions that improve biodiversity, support clean water, sustain healthy forests, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to create a future where both people and nature thrive.”

Oates is a resident of East Montpelier, Vermont, where she is a volunteer on the Development Review Board and a trail steward for the community’s trails network. Prior to joining TNC, she was employed by the State of Vermont’s Hazard Mitigation Program, building initiatives, and implementing projects that improved flood resilience and restored riparian systems throughout Vermont. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Biological Sciences, with thesis projects focused on climate change adaptation and mitigation. 

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.