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Q&A: Lori Brennan, Executive Director of the Nature Conservancy

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Photo by Tessa Marie Images

The Broomall resident recently returned to conservation.

Lori Brennan has spent her entire career in our region, working with People’s Light in Malvern, the Academy of Natural Sciences and the University City District. She also spent some time at the Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental organization with a reach that extends to 79 countries and territories around the globe. The Broomall resident recently returned to conservation and is now serving as executive director of the Nature Conservancy’s newly merged Pennsylvania and Delaware chapters.

MLT: When did you realize you wanted to work on environmental issues?

LB: I went to school at West Virginia University in the mountains, and it’s really where I began to develop a deep connection to the outdoor world. I spent a lot of time camping, I’ve driven across the country just seeing different landscapes and different communities and really interacting with nature.

MLT: Why the Nature Conservancy?

LB: It’s always been a dream of mine to sit exactly where I am today. My personal goal is—and has always been—to really make the biggest impact that I can.

MLT: What areas are you focused on now?

LB: First, we have the obligation to restore and protect nature in our state. Second is the acceleration of clean energy, energy efficiency and electric vehicle deployment. Third, carbon emission reductions that are in line with the Paris Agreement reduction goals. One of our critical conservation land-protection projects right now is a 1,276-acre property in central Pennsylvania. By purchasing this property, we’ll be able to connect existing public lands to our Cove Mountain Preserve, which will create a 14-mile contiguous corner of protected land along one of the most important climate and migratory bird corridors in the eastern United States.

MLT: What about future projects?

LB: The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in North America, and we know that excess nutrients and sediments from numerous sources, including Pennsylvania, have degraded the bay’s water quality and impacted many communities who depend on the bay for their livelihood.

MLT: How has the conservancy approached the COVID-19 crisis?

LB: People’s connection to nature has become more important than ever. We want folks to understand that nature is here with us throughout all of these challenges. We need to do our part to make sure that it’s sustainable and is around for generations to come.