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 D. 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 Issue One, 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 26 years; currently Chief Executive Officer and a founding Principal of The iMoreno Group, PLC, where she provides legal services and strategic counseling on environmental and natural resources matters; served as the Senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. 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 U.S. Department of Justice in the Environment and Natural Resources Division for seven years during the Clinton Administration; appointed in 2016 by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to serve a four-year term on the State Air Pollution Control Board; elected in 2016 as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation; serves on the Advisory Board of the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law and as Chair of the Litigation Committee; serves on the Board of Directors of Green 2.0; and serves as Chair of the American Bar Association, SEER, Special Committee on State Bar Coordination and Engagement; 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 Trust for Public Land Action Fund 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; Chair of the San Juan Islands National Monument Advisory Committee; member of 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."

Jeff Resnick

Background and Expertise: Former partner and managing director at Goldman Sachs, where he was global head of commodities trading and money market businesses and served on the firm's risk and finance committees; worked for Chevron Corporation in San Francisco and Houston; former treasurer of Riverkeeper, a non-profit advocacy organization for the Hudson River watershed chaired by Robert Kennedy, Jr.; serves on the board of the dZi Foundation, supporting economic development in Nepal; avid skier, cyclist and furniture builder; lives in Telluride, Colorado, with his wife Debbie and their two sons.

Why I believe in protecting land and creating parks: "Most of the best moments in my life have been shared with friends and family in the simple setting of a natural environment. In a world where our lives are becoming increasingly complex, the need for simple, healthy time in a beautiful city park or wilderness area is paramount. The health of our communities depends on the preservation and access to these places."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "I believe The Trust for Public Land is simply the best and smartest conservation organization protecting land for people. The combination of thought leadership, unique execution capabilities, and a focused, collaborative approach ensures great outcomes for the communities we work with. From parks in New York City to mountaintops in Colorado, I have personally experienced many of the amazing projects that The Trust for Public Land has completed."

Laura Richards

Background and expertise: Founder and chair of the Friends of Carrollton GreenBelt (founded in 2011); currently serves as manager of Lakeview Farms LLC; previously worked for A.D.A.M. Software in Atlanta, for McMahon Publishing as a managing editor in New York City, and for Vermont Bicycle Touring as a European guide in Holland, Italy, France, and Spain; serves as a board member for the PATH Foundation in Atlanta and the Tanner Medical Foundation in Carrollton; graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1994; resides on 79 acres within the city of Carrollton with her husband, Jim Naughton and three daughters.

Why I believe in protecting land and creating parks: "A quotation I like about land and parks is: 'One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,' by Shakespeare. For me, parks are about uniting people and place."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: I give because The Trust for Public Land has a track record of helping in places where quality of life needs attention. For example, my city now enjoys a 26-acre park, which was one of The Trust for Public Land's projects. I want others elsewhere to share in a similar positive experience.

Roy Richards, Jr.

Background and expertise: Chairman of Southwire Company; served as past president of the International Cablemakers Federation; past chair of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce; elected "Georgia's Most Respected CEO" in 1999 by readers of Georgia Trend magazine; active fly fisherman, downhill skier, and reader; resides with his family in Charleston, South Carolina.

Why I believe in protecting land and creating parks: "We are creatures that need open, natural space for our health and happiness. Without access to the land, we would be a lesser people. As our country becomes more urbanized, I believe it's time to rethink exploitation before all of our wild land is gone, and before parkland becomes too expensive to wrest from the path of development."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "I was introduced by another committed board member and have been attached ever since. I truly identify with the land-for-people mission. There is near-unanimous support for the protection of green space, once we remind people that it should be done. The Trust for Public Land advocates for conservation and provides the tools and financing to make it possible."

William Rogers
President and Chief Executive Officer

Will Rogers is the president and CEO of The Trust for Public Land. He has been with the organization since 1991, first as the director of California, Hawaii, and Nevada operations and as CEO beginning in 1998.

Rogers is a nationally recognized advocate for land conservation and has given major addresses or interviews to the Urban Land Institute, the National Smart Growth Conference, the National Brownfields Conference, and Talk of the Nation, among others.

Prior to joining The Trust for Public Land, Rogers managed urban projects for a Chicago-based real estate development company, managing both new construction and the rehabilitation of vacant industrial buildings for commercial, office, and residential use. Before becoming a developer and then an "undeveloper," Rogers was a commercial beekeeper, founding and managing a commercial honey production company in Bogotá, Colombia.

He is a graduate of Stanford University and received his MBA from Harvard University. Will lives with his family in Kensington, California. In addition to tending to the chickens, beehives, and vegetables in his backyard, his favorite outdoor activities are hiking, backcountry skiing, and bicycle touring.

Lex Sant

Background and expertise: Co-founder and managing director of Persimmon Tree Capital; past director in the Alternative Energy group at AES Corporation, responsible for the origination and execution of transactions related to biofuels, wind, and other forms of renewable energy; director emeritus and past chairman of Island Press; treasurer and trustee of the Summit Foundation; MBA (Baker Scholar) from Harvard Business School; Lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and two daughters.

Why I believe in protecting land and creating parks: "As people, we need natural places in order to be ourselves. Whether it's a small city park that provides a quiet refuge from a busy day or a wild landscape with the broad vista to inspire awe, our interactions with nature are made possible by the places we protect for ourselves and for all those who will follow us."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "It takes great skill and deep knowledge to provide and protect the natural and special places, small and large, on which we rightly depend for human wellbeing. For 40 years, The Trust for Public Land has focused on this important work with an enviable entrepreneurial spirit and a deep commitment to conservation, which benefits us all."

Sheryl Crockett Tishman

Background and expertise: Philanthropist and environmentalist; serves on The Trust for Public Land's national board; serves on the board of trustees of the Mianus River Gorge Preserve and Teton Valley Ranch Camp; former trustee of The Open Space Institute, The George Mitchell Scholarship Foundation, and The Meade School in Stamford, Connecticut, as well as the National Audubon Society Expedition Institute, where she also served as trip leader; former teacher at Weymouth House, Maine; owner/proprietor of Sleepy Hollow Llama Farm, Jefferson, Maine; B.S. in environmental studies from Middlebury College; M.S. in education from Lesley University; avid outdoorswoman who enjoys wilderness travel with her husband and two sons.

Why I believe in protecting land and creating parks: "My greatest teacher has been and continues to be the natural world. I feel honored, as well as responsible, to do what I can to enable future generations to have nature in their lives. Ensuring that there are protected lands for years to come is a win for us all."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "Many environmental advocacy organizations do amazing work. What sets The Trust For Public Land apart for me is its focus on the belief that all people have the right to experience the natural world every day-making our planet stronger and healthier. From inner city parks to iconic landscapes, The Trust for Public Land accomplishes projects that greatly enhance people's exposure to the natural environment."

F. Jerome Tone

Background and expertise: Serves as agent for Hellman Properties LLC in Seal Beach, California; former general partner and executive vice president of Montgomery Capital Corporation in San Francisco; served as a director of the Alamitos Land Company in Signal Hill, California; former chief financial officer with BRIDGE Housing Corporation; former vice president in the real estate lending department at Wells Fargo Bank; currently serves on The Trust for Public Land's national board of directors, and the board of the Seattle Parks Foundation; graduated from Williams College and received his MBA from the University of California-Berkeley.

Why I believe in protecting land and creating parks: "When I walk through cities across America, I am struck to see that the parks, trails, and open spaces are in constant use. There is always a resident, a couple, a family, or a group who are using our public spaces. These spaces are open and free: a perfect demonstration of our democracy at work. For example, my father recently pointed out an older fellow who sits on a bench in a central riverside park across the street from a coffee shop dad frequents. He told me that the guy is there every day. We were in Cleveland, Ohio, and so I asked, 'I wonder what he does in the winter?' Dad said, 'He's there in the winter!' Sitting in the park, enjoying his community. That's why I believe in protecting land and creating parks. The Trust for Public Land is doing a fantastic job creating special places for people to get outside and enjoy their communities."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "Having been on the 'inside' of The Trust for Public Land for many years, I can attest to the fact that the income that comes into the organization is allocated and used very efficiently. The Trust for Public Land leverages its resources in the most amazing ways, with project teams, the legal team, the finance and administrative teams cooperating to bring complicated and expensive transactions to closure. They navigate complex political situations at the local, regional, state, and federal levels-with thousands of examples (5,000-plus transactions to date) demonstrating their professionalism and efficiency. I am very proud to be associated with staff and volunteers for The Trust for Public Land and to have witnessed so many incredible transactions which have enhanced communities across the country."

Ana Valdez

Background and expertise

Co-founder and president of Valdez Consulting Group, Inc.; current principal of The 650 Company; graduated from the Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico with a degree in business; received master's degree in international relations in Spain. Formerly held positions with the AC Nielsen Co., Banamex, and the United Nations; held assignments within the Clinton-Gore administration; serves on the boards of Southern California Public Radio, Los Angeles Universal Preschool, Los Angeles Children's Bureau, and the Public Policy Advocacy Planning Group; formerly served on the board of American Public Media, as chair of the Center for Early Education's Multicultural Committee, as co-founder and vice chair of FOCUS, and as a director of Southern California Goodwill Industries.

Why I support The Trust for Public Land

From the moment I read the mission of The Trust for Public Land, I knew I wanted to be part of it. I believe in empowering communities nationwide for a better livability: preserving green spaces, historic sites, and parks is a basic part of that. I am also excited about The Trust for Public Land's commitment to generating public support for pro-conservation policies. Creating awareness at all levels is the key to a better and more balanced world for everybody.

Why I believe in the importance of protecting land and creating parks

When my first son was born, it was clear from the beginning that he would be a naturalist: he adored all kinds of animals, plants, and every manifestation of nature around us. I became a volunteer park ranger originally to enjoy nature with him, and I went on to become a guide of park tours for underprivileged kids from urban areas. Their fascination when seeing a park for the first time made me realize that the lack of green spaces in their lives was much more important-and unfortunately, more of a handicap-than I had thought. The Trust for Public Land makes me hopeful that eventually many more kids will be able to grow up like my children, with close-to-home access to places to run, learn, and thrive.

Susan D. Whiting

Background and expertise: C-level executive and board director working with multinational corporate and not-for-profit organizations in the United States; served for the past decade as top advisor and director for consumer, technology, and financial services companies, working with executive leadership, external business partners, clients, and investors; currently serves on the board of directors for Alliant Energy Corporation and DJE Holdings; actively involved in several community, educational, and environmental organizations, including Denison University and as the chair of the board of the The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum; served as vice chair at Nielsen; retired from the company in January 2014, after a 35-year career; known for building Nielsen's most visible franchise in television measurement during the cable, telecommunications, and media industries' digital transition; currently resides in Chicago and Wisconsin with her children.

Why I believe protecting land and creating parks: "Green spaces and parks have a unique ability to transform cities and urban spaces, inspiring people-both young and old-to be a part of their community. We need to preserve the land for all those who come after us. It is our national legacy."

Why I support The Trust for Public Land: "I support The Trust for Public Land because I believe in its core mission. I also believe it is our civic duty to protect our environment for future generations."