Return to beloved Adirondacks – Plattsburgh Press Republican

KEENE VALLEY — After experience around the world, Peg Olsen is at work as the new director of the Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter.

Olsen most recently served as the National Audubon Society’s chief conservation officer and Atlantic Flyway vice president, overseeing 23 state programs, including 46 nature centers, as well as a number of international programs.

Olsen began her conservation career in the Adirondacks by helping to launch the Lake George Land Conservancy, a watershed-based land trust with an office in Bolton Landing.


Her love of the outdoors and sense of adventure were shaped by hiking and paddling in the Adirondacks, where she has spent a lifetime exploring woods and waters.

“I have worked in so many beautiful places in the United States and around the globe, but my heart has always been in the Adirondacks,” she said in a news release.

“This opportunity is allowing me to come home and work in my own back yard.”


She had worked for the Nature Conservancy from 1989 to 2003, holding positions that included Eastern New York Chapter director, overseeing a staff of 17, and Asia Pacific Region deputy director, managing operations with 185 staff across 14 times zones in China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, the Solomon Islands, Palau, Australia and the United States.

“Peg brings a wealth of experience and a passion for the Adirondacks to this position,” Stuart F. Gruskin, the Nature Conservancy’s chief conservation and external affairs officer in New York, said in the release.

“As a seasoned conservationist with a global vision, Peg is the perfect person to lead our Adirondack chapter as we work locally and regionally to address the most important environmental challenges of our time.”


Olsen described the Adirondack Park as “a grand experiment in protecting an intact ecosystem while balancing the economic needs of its residents” and said that with climate change, that mission “is more important than ever before.”

She said she is “thrilled to work for the Nature Conservancy to continue to apply cutting-edge climate science and solutions-oriented approaches to tackle the conservation challenges ahead.”

Sarah Underhill, chair of the Adirondack chapter’s Board of Trustees, said Olsen will “take us to new heights as we continue to expand our conservation strategies in this inspiring landscape where people and nature can thrive.”


The Nature Conservancy has been operating in the Adirondacks since 1971.

It has protected 585,000 acres of land, including Boreas Ponds, Lake Lila and Lyon Mountain, and has established stewardship programs, such as the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program.

The agency has collaborated with state, county and local governments, landowners and nonprofits on a number of initiatives.

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