Steve Cohn Named Alaska State Director

Experienced leader from BLM to lead major statewide non-profit

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA | March 12, 2018

The Nature Conservancy in Alaska is pleased to introduce Steve Cohn, the experienced leader selected to guide the organization into the next era of conservation achievement in the 49th state.

The Nature Conservancy’s longstanding commitment to protecting important lands and waters for nature and people has produced lasting conservation results across the state. As the Conservancy celebrates its 30th anniversary in Alaska, Cohn stands ready to continue that legacy by addressing the state’s most pressing conservation challenges.

“We’re at an important moment in Alaska,” says Cohn. “Even as people and sectors face new challenges, we are beginning to see more people responding as we pioneer new ways of working together and uncover new pathways that could lead us toward solutions that work in Alaska.”

Cohn joins The Nature Conservancy after a distinguished 16-year career with the federal Bureau of Land Management, where he successfully served as deputy state director for resources in Alaska for five years, in addition to serving in senior BLM postings in Washington, D.C. and Arizona.

“As the chair of the Board of Trustees of The Nature Conservancy in Alaska, I’m pleased to welcome Steve to a thriving non-profit organization with a proud history of innovation in the state,” says Steve Murphy, president of ABR Inc., an environmental research and services firm. “The issues that TNC in Alaska is addressing are urgent, and we look forward to calling on Steve’s leadership and deep regard for Alaska’s people and way of life as we seek new ways of working with tribes, Alaska Native corporations, businesses, institutions, and other non-profits around the state.”

The goal of The Nature Conservancy is to create non-confrontational, pragmatic solutions to conservation challenges that respect everyone’s rights and interests. In Alaska, the Conservancy has proven itself as a non-profit leader by developing strong science, bringing people together, and unleashing creative new tools to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.

In the Tongass National Forest of Southeast Alaska, the Conservancy’s science and convening power has been instrumental in charting a future for the fate of the region’s natural resources. Similarly, the Conservancy brought together diverse organizations from across Alaska’s Mat-Su to find new ways of living with salmon as thriving communities continue to grow. On the Copper River Delta, the Conservancy took on a key role in crafting a first-of-its-kind impact investment solution that protected salmon streams, retired a major coal deposit, and protected old-growth forest while generating revenue for Alaska Native corporation shareholders. The Nature Conservancy became the first private group in Alaska to successfully protect stream flows for fish when it led a long-term, comprehensive research effort focused on Bristol Bay’s Lower Talarik Creek. Through innovative creative financing initiatives, the Conservancy is working to build stronger, more environmentally sustainable local economies.

“We’re seeing new solutions emerge from cooperation across sectors and disciplines. It’s a time of employing new technologies and scientific capabilities. As we tackle the challenge of climate change and a continuing demand for natural resources, the Conservancy will play a key role in Alaska,” Cohn says. “I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and leading the Conservancy as we shape the society and the natural world our children will inherit.”

Cohn holds a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard University and advanced degrees from the University of California at Berkeley College of Natural Resources, where his master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation, respectively, were titled “Federal Reserves and the Politics of Alaskan State and Native Sovereignty” and “Competing Claims, Uncertain Sovereignties: Resource Conflict and Emerging Tripartite Federalism in Yukon Territory, Canada.”


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 72 countries, 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.

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Dustin Solberg
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