Natural Lands Leadership Transition

December 1, 2018

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

As you may have read elsewhere, Natural Lands President Molly Morrison is retiring at the end of this year. Molly’s leadership has been so strong and effective that it is difficult for me to imagine our organization without her. Even though Field Notes co-blogger Tim Burris and I have both been with Natural Lands through the leadership of three presidencies it simply hadn’t occurred to me to think about what things might be like after she leaves.

Fortunately, we know well the leader who will be at the helm of Natural Lands starting in the new year. He’s Oliver Bass, outgoing Vice President for Communications and Engagement. Oliver has big shoes to fill but he is up to the job; I have watched him negotiate a tightrope of difficult challenges for many years.

Oliver and Molly both moved Natural Lands toward more engagement with people. It’s even reflected in our tag line now: land for life, nature for all. It’s not enough to save land, not even enough also to be a good steward of land—though both of these are essential, are two-thirds of our mission, and are things at which we excel. The third tenet of our mission is to connect people to nature and is absolutely necessary—morally, ethically, and practically. I’ve always appreciated that Natural Lands preserves are open daily, free of charge, for everyone to enjoy. In recent years we’ve gone beyond that to dramatically expand programming on our preserves, meet new people, and reach out to communities where people don’t necessarily have access to rural, protected lands. We are working in towns and cities now where people need more access to nature; look here to learn how we contact people to the outdoors.

These projects have both Molly Morrison’s and Oliver Bass’ fingerprints all over them, so I predict a smooth transition. We wish Molly well: enjoy the well-earned travel, relaxation, and future endeavors she takes on (it’s hard for me to imagine her relaxing too much). And we welcome Oliver in his new role, the next chapter of Natural Lands’ story.