National Board Members

The Trust for Public Land benefits from the expertise and guidance of the National Board of Directors and its emeritus members. State advisory boards attuned to local conservation needs help guide our work across the country.

Stephen W. Baird

Background and Expertise: President and chief executive officer of Baird & Warner; chairman of The Realty Alliance; past president of CorLands, The Openlands Project; serves on The Trust for Public Land's national board of directors and as chair of its Chicago advisory board; trustee of the Morton Arboretum; recently appointed to the boards of Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ), and the local advisory board of US Bank; selected by Fortune Small Business magazine as a "Best Boss" for 2004; 1975 graduate of Harvard University; serves as the national chairman for the HAA Schools and Scholarship Committee; co-chair of the Harvard Schools Committee in Chicago; MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Business Management and currently serves as a director of its alumni board; lives in Chicago and the North Shore with his wife and two daughters.

Why I believe in protecting land and creating parks: "My family and I share The Trust for Public Land's belief in the importance of open space in people's lives. In cities and the wilderness, parks are where people connect and community is built. Creating a better, more open environment is critical to a better society in general."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "My family and I have supported The Trust for Public Land for decades because we believe its work changes lives. From preserving nature to giving more children access to a park close to home, The Trust for Public Land reaches more communities and creates more parks."

George P. Bell

Background and expertise: 25-year veteran of creating and growing consumer businesses; currently Executive in Residence at General Catalyst Partners, a private equity investment firm; board member, John Wiley and Sons (NYSE: Wiley); chairman, Visible Measures, a video advertising platform, and advisor to various public and private companies in digital media. Former CEO of Jumptap, a leading mobile ad network; former CEO of Upromise; former chairman and CEO of Excite and Excite@Home; former chairman, Harris Interactive; founder of The Outdoor Life Network (now NBC Sports Network); former SVP of Times Mirror Magazines, overseeing titles such as SKI and Field & Stream; Recipient of Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for California and New England; four-time Emmy Award–winning producer and writer of adventure, wildlife, and vanishing-culture documentaries; national board member of The Trust for Public Land.

Why I believe in protecting land and creating parks: "I have three sons and I have seen the powerful effect of nature and parks in our family's life. Opportunities to affect major, lasting transformations across the country don't come around often. I chose to make a commitment to protecting land and creating parks because I know our work will ripple across countless families and communities in America, for today and for generations to come."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "Now more than ever, there's urgency for this work. At the end of the day it's going to take a collective effort to make significant strides in land conservation. The Trust for Public Land is a major force in this movement, and the scope of our mission inspires me."

Page Knudsen Cowles

Background and expertise: Investment professional in the financial services industry during the 1980s; founder and partner in Ruminator Books Press, an independent trade book publishing company, during the 1990s; active volunteer in the Twin Cities for many years; served on the boards of the Children's Theater Company, Planned Parenthood Minnesota/South Dakota and Graywolf Press, a nationally acclaimed literary book publisher; currently serves on the board of Unity Avenue Foundation, a family foundation, and is a director of Lawrence Creek, LLC, a private investment company; former trustee of St. Paul Academy and Summit School, an independent school in St. Paul, Minnesota.; has served on the national board of The Trust for Public Land since 2000 and currently serves as chair; immediate past chair and current board member of The Conservation Campaign, The Trust for Public Land's separate 501 (c) (4) lobbying affiliate; managing director of Knudsen Vineyards in Dundee, Oregon; president of Madison Valley Park Foundation, which stewards Julia Lee's Park in Seattle; native of Seattle, Washington; received a B.A. from Yale and MBA. from Harvard University and is a chartered financial analyst.

Why I believe in protecting land and creating parks: "It's about a connection to nature for me. I like to be outside and feel the elements-the sun on my face and the wind at my back. I think nature grounds us in a way that is important for human beings. As a child I hiked and camped a lot, and my memories of the places that we went as a family remain very special to me."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "The work is relatively permanent in an ever-changing world. When we create a park, it stays there. We ask communities what is important to them, and we help them realize their vision. When the space is complete, people feel a sense of ownership, empowering them to be committed long-term stewards."

William J. Cronon

William Cronon is a historian of American environmental history and of the American west. In 1991, his book, Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West, was awarded the Chicago Tribune's Heartland Prize; in 1992 the Bancroft Prize; and in 1993, the George Perkins Marsh Prize as well as the Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Award. He co-edited Under an Open Sky: Rethinking America's Western Past, a collection of essays on the prospects of western and frontier history in American historiography, and edited Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, which examines the implication of different cultural ideas of nature for modern environmental problems. Currently he is working on a history of Portage, Wisconsin, which will explore how people's sense of place is shaped by the stories they tell about their homes, their lives, and the landscapes they inhabit.

Professor Cronon is also completing a book entitled Saving Nature in Time: The Past and the Future of Environmentalism, on the evolving relationship between environmental history and environmentalism and what the two might learn from each other. In 1992, he became the Frederick Jackson Turner and Vilas Research Professor of History, Geography, & Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was previously a member of the Yale History Department. He is past President of the American Society for Environmental History, serves on the Governing Council of The Wilderness Society and is general editor of the Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books Series. He received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison; an M.A., M.Phil. and a Ph.D. from Yale, and a D.Phil. from Oxford University. He has been a Rhodes Scholar, Danforth Fellow, Guggenheim Fellow, and MacArthur Fellow.

Douglas Durst

Background and expertise: Third-generation family member to run The Durst Organization, pioneering environmentally responsible design and building practices in New York City such as the creation of 4 Times Square at 42nd Street and Broadway, The Helena, a 600 unit residential building at 57th Street and 11th Avenue (LEED gold), The New School's University Center (expected LEED gold), and the Bank of America Tower at 1 Bryant Park (LEED platinum); graduated in1962 from the Fieldston School and in 1966 from the University of California-Berkeley, where he studied economics and learned civil disobedience; member of the board of directors of the Roundabout Theater, Primary Stages, and The New School; serves on the Real Estate Board of New York and as chair of Earthday New York; part-owner of the largest organic farm in New York State and co-founder of New York Water Taxi.

Why I believe in protecting land and creating parks: "As an urban builder, supporting parks and open space is essential to the success of my family's business. Building big, tall, and dense is how we preserve the green space that makes our cities livable and our environment viable for generations to come."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "The Trust for Public Land is the premiere land conservation and public green space developer in the United States. Their mission is clear, their staff is motivated and informed, and their results are extraordinary."

Whitney Hatch

Background and expertise: Currently serves as chairman of the board of The Fund for the Republic, dedicated to challenging the undue influence of well-financed special interests over American politics and government; director of program initiatives and trustee at The John Merck Fund, whose mission is to benefit human health in New England and beyond by accelerating the region's transition to clean energy and sustainable food systems and by eliminating harmful chemicals in the environment, as well as to ease the burdens for families with developmentally disabled children and to enhance those children's futures; worked at The Trust for Public Land from 1998 until 2011, primarily as director of the six-state New England region; previously served for 15 years at GTE Corporation in various capacities, including as vice president of regulatory affairs, responsible for all GTE's Washington, D.C. federal regulatory advocacy on behalf of its local and long-distance telephone, cellular, Internet, public air-to-ground, and satellite business units, among others; reappointed by Governor Deval Patrick to a second, seven-year term on and serves as chair of the stewardship council of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation; serves on the Conservation Law Foundation board of trustees, on the board of overseers of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and on the board of the Merck Family Fund; founding board member of the School for Field Studies; previously served as chairman of the American Rivers and Management Assistance Group boards.

Why I believe in protecting land and creating parks: "Everybody needs a place to play, a place to reflect, a place to roam. Be those places in cities or in the boonies, those lands, those street corners, those playgrounds, those gardens, those park benches need to be there to receive us. We at The Trust for Public Land need to ensure they are available, maintained, and nearby to all."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "Unlike other organizations with which I am deeply involved, The Trust for Public Land feels like home. Having worked at The Trust for Public Land for over a decade, I witnessed firsthand the creativity, commitment, and collegiality with which my former colleagues threw themselves into often impossible conservation opportunities with local partners. The heartfelt New England town meeting testimonies urging neighbors to support a conservation project followed by unanimous votes to tax themselves to pay for it still reverberate years later. They did it, and The Trust for Public Land helped. Priceless."

Ignacia S. Moreno

Background and expertise: Has practiced environmental and natural resources law for nearly 25 years; currently Chief Executive Officer and a Principal of The iMoreno Group, PLC, where she provides legal services and strategic counseling on environmental and natural resources matters; served as Senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the United States Department of Justice (2009 to 2013) and was recognized for her outstanding service, including her leadership of the Division’s response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; former Counsel for the Northeast/Midwest Regions and International at the General Electric Company; practiced at two prominent Washington, D.C. law firms, including as a partner; served at the United States Department of Justice in the Environment and Natural Resources Division for seven years during the Clinton Administration; currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law and is Chair of the Litigation Committee; served pro bono as General Counsel to the Hispanic National Bar Association and on the boards of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and the Center for International Environmental Law; former President of the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia; named one of the Top 100 Green Leaders in the United States by PODER Hispanic Magazine and one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States by Hispanic Business Magazine; earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University in 1986, and a Juris Doctor degree from New York University School of Law in 1990; born in Cartagena, Colombia, grew up in New York City, and lives in McLean, Virginia with her husband and teenage son.

Why I believe in the importance of protecting land and creating parks: "As a child growing up in New York City north of Harlem, I loved walking with my sister and brother to Riverside Park on the Hudson River. The calm and natural beauty of the park offered a respite from the hectic and concrete world in which we lived, and it made us all very happy!"

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "The work of The Trust for Public Land makes an enormous difference in the lives of the American people by protecting land and creating parks and playgrounds for the enjoyment and well-being of communities across the country. The Trust has long understood that conservation efforts, including the creation of parks, 'must serve all people and all communities, regardless of income, ethnicity, or geography.' These are values that I hold dear."


Caroline Niemczyk

Background and expertise: Currently serves as chair of The Conservation Campaign and the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies and as vice chair of the Open Space Institute; serves on the advisory boards of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and the Land Trust Alliance; served on the staff of Senator Daniel P. Moynihan, as a program officer at the Smith Richardson Foundation, as special assistant to Boston University President John Silber, and as an adjunct professor on the history faculty at Barnard College; graduated from Yale, the London School of Economics, and Columbia; has three children and resides in Bedford, New York.

Why I believe in protecting land and creating parks: "I first fell in love with the natural world while camping as a child. My family was traveling cross-country. I remember scampering over the rocks of a streambed in the Great Smoky Mountains, light sparkling off the water as sun fell through the forest leaves. I felt happy, energized, independent, and peaceful."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "This organization has stunning success conserving the land people love. By being here, I'm part of a national team that strengthens community bonds. We deliver what people ask for, whether it's a trail, a playground, a historic site, a community garden, or a family farm."

Michael E. Patterson

Background and expertise: Director of The Hastings Center and USA Cycling; serves as chairman of the board of directors of The Child School; former general counsel, chief administrative officer, board member, and vice chairman for JPMorgan Chase & Co. from 1987 to 2009; practiced law in New York and Paris as a partner of Debevoise & Plimpton; graduated from Harvard; earned Juris Doctor degree from Columbia Law School; lives with his wife, Elena, in New York City and Connecticut, and is a bicycle racer.

Why I believe in protecting land and creating parks: "I believe in green spaces because they are good for people."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "I support The Trust for Public Land because no one better protects land and creates parks for people."

Thomas S. Reeve

Background and expertise: Chair of The Trust for Public Land's National Leadership Council; past chair of The Trust for Public Land 's Washington State advisory board; past president of the board of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition; serves on the national council of the Land Trust Alliance; 18-year veteran of Microsoft, managing teams focused on consumer software, internal tools, international software versions, the Works business, media production, and the portal site; avid traveler and outdoorsman; bachelor's degree from Harvard University; lives with his family on their Lopez Island farm, which they protected by conservation easements.

Why I believe in protecting land and creating parks: "Historically, the American experience has centered around place. You can't tell the American story without recounting tales of people and the lands where they live and explore. We need to ensure that people continue to connect with the land and that outdoor experiences-whether learning to ride your bike in a nearby park or visiting a farm where your food is grown-continue to be a part of the American story."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "My wife Sally and I support The Trust for Public Land as our top charity because we believe our investment of time and money in this organization has the potential to help more Americans, in more communities, in a broader variety of ways than any other conservation investment we could make."