Cites “Proven Track Record of Effective Leadership in Maine and Nationally”

January 21, 2016

(BRUNSWICK, Maine) – National leaders of The Nature Conservancy today announced the naming of Kate Dempsey as State Director in Maine. Dempsey brings more than 25 years of experience in conservation, economic development and public health to her new role, including 12 years at The Nature Conservancy in Maine as Senior Policy Advisor for Federal Affairs and most recently Director of External Affairs.

“Kate has a proven track record of effective leadership in Maine and nationally,” said Dr. Michelle B. Lakly the Conservancy’s Eastern U.S. Division Director. “She brings people together to get things done – whether it is major projects in Maine like the Penobscot River Restoration or nationally through leadership of our 50-State Climate Strategy. Maine and The Nature Conservancy have a terrific, dynamic new leader.”

Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy in 2003, Dempsey served as the Economic Development Director for former U.S. Congressman Tom Allen (ME) and District Director and Economic Development Director for former U.S Congressman Marty Meehan (MA). She also has deep experience in public health and affordable housing development.

“The Nature Conservancy in Maine was founded 58 years ago by Rachel Carson and others deeply committed to a healthy Maine,” said Dempsey. “I will carry on that tradition by leading an incredibly committed, talented group of TNC people and working closely with partners all over our state to find practical approaches that ensure our incredible natural resources remain an asset for Maine people.”

“For nearly 60 years, The Nature Conservancy has been a leader in conservation in Maine and beyond,” said Dr. George Jacobson, Chairman of The Nature Conservancy in Maine’s Board of Trustees. “From groundbreaking land conservation like the Big Reed and St. John River projects to our partnership with fishermen in the Gulf of Maine, we’ve been working to ensure the health of our natural resources and support communities all over the state. But our changing world presents even more challenges. Kate’s leadership, vision and experience make her an ideal choice to lead the Conservancy in Maine as we move forward.”

Dempsey has worked on many efforts of statewide and national significance during her time at the Conservancy, including:

• Played a key role in the Penobscot River Restoration Project, widely recognized as one of the most innovative and far reaching river restoration projects ever undertaken in the United States.

• Helped bring the Conservancy’s groundbreaking 240,000-acre Katahdin Forest Project to completion. The innovative debt-for-nature swap ensures sustainable forest management, guarantees public access and conserves important wildlife habitat.

• Helped lead a broad coalition of business leaders, contractors, sportsmen and women, municipal leaders, economic development professionals and environmentalists from every region of the state in successfully passing the 2014 Clean Water Bond. The bond creates new state funding to help communities take action to prevent flooding while improving fish passage in Maine streams.

• Today, Dempsey is helping lead the Conservancy’s effort to partner with stakeholders to find new ways for sustainably managed forests to both reduce carbon emissions and support jobs critical to Maine communities.

• Working with partners to find innovative ways to support schools and communities that want to encourage their students to learn about and connect to the natural world.

In addition to her work in Maine, Dempsey serves as the Vice Chair of The Nature Conservancy’s US Government Relations Cabinet and recently served as Interim Director of the organization’s 50-State Climate Strategy, a project designed to ensure that The Nature Conservancy is optimizing its efforts across the country to act on climate emission reductions.

Dempsey will lead the Conservancy in Maine’s work to find new approaches for carrying out conservation work that fosters understanding of, and connection to the natural world.

“This is an exciting time, when our work with partners in Maine – commercial and recreational fisherman, sportsmen and women, conservationists, energy innovators, the business community, state and municipal leaders – can have an impact across the country and around the world,” said Dempsey. “We are committed to doing that work and engaging a new generation in the mission of protecting and passing on Maine’s incredible natural legacy.”

Dempsey replaces Michael Tetreault, who served as State Director for the previous 11 years and was promoted within The Nature Conservancy in November. Dempsey will officially take over for Interim Director Tom Rumpf on February 1.

Dempsey is a graduate of Bowdoin College and holds a Master’s Degree from Tufts University, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy. She lives with her family in Bath.

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 unprecedented scale, and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 65 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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