West Virginia

Q & A with Thomas Minney

Meet Thomas Minney, the Conservancy’s new state director in West Virginia.

In March, The Nature Conservancy welcomed Thomas Minney as the new state director for its West Virginia chapter. A native West Virginian and veteran Nature Conservancy employee, Thomas knows the Conservancy and Mountain State well and is excited to continue to protect the wild, wonderful places we all need. Nature.org recently sat down with Thomas to learn more.
"We need to work shoulder to shoulder with others in creating a conservation vision for this state that’s meaningful for people..."

nature.org:

Where in West Virginia are you from?

Thomas:

I grew up on Jesse Run, a small hollow in Gilmer County where my family owned a farm, and still does today. We had a garden and some cattle. And much of the acreage was woods, so I grew up close to nature.

nature.org:

How has your upbringing influenced the person you are today?

Thomas:

I think like a lot of others who grew up in West Virginia, I have strong family roots here, a way of life I’m proud of, and a connection to the land that many others aren’t so lucky to have. Those are some of the things I value most in my life.

nature.org:

How do you think the Conservancy can work to protect those things that are most valuable to you and others?

Thomas:

I think the Conservancy has always strived to strike a balance between the needs of people and nature, but the approach has evolved over the years: More than ever, it’s critical that we find a way to get more people connected to, and supportive of, our work. Our recent work to protect the beloved Cheat Canyon is an outstanding example of the type of legacy we can create when we work with others and have the needs of both people and nature in mind.

nature.org:

In addition to connecting more people to the Conservancy’s work, is there anything else you plan to focus in on?

Thomas:

Through my years at the Conservancy—most recently as director of the organization’s Central Appalachians program—I’ve worked with private landowners, industry representatives, state and federal agencies, researchers, conservation organizations, and scientists. I think it’s critically important that I lead efforts that continue to engage a wide range of partners. We can’t work in a vacuum. We need to work shoulder to shoulder with others in creating a conservation vision for this state that’s meaningful for people here and the benefits we enjoy from our natural resources.

nature.org:

Any parting thoughts?

Thomas:

People and culture in West Virginia are shaped by the close ties we have to the land and the outdoors. People belong to the land as much as the land belongs to the people. We need to be good stewards of the amazing resources we have in this state.


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