Indiana State Director, The Nature Conservancy (Indianapolis)
An invitation to kids to plug in and connect to nature
In the 1970s, the Earth Day movement inspired a generation to clean up pollution and protect threatened species and landscapes. Can we reboot the environmental movement by reimagining how we care about our fragile natural lands and waters? Is it possible to inspire youth to create the next big environmental movement by harnessing technology and putting the future of conservation directly in the hands of kids? Mary McConnell, director for The Nature Conservancy’s Indiana Chapter, unveils her simple idea to transform how we protect the environment: deeding each child in Indiana a parcel of land in the unique Children’s Nature Park and utilizing their love of all things digital to inspire a lifetime of engagement with our natural world.
Mary is the State Director for the Indiana Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, which has protected over 85,000 acres of land in Indiana. One of the highlights of her 23 years of work at the Conservancy has been spearheading the creation of the Bicentennial Nature Trust, a $30 million public/private partnership to purchase land for nature parks and trails to commemorate Indiana’s 200th birthday in 2016. She also oversaw the design and construction of the Conservancy’s LEED Platinum headquarters in Indianapolis.
Mary sits on the Bicentennial Commission, the Indiana Land Resources Council, and the Indiana Heritage Trust Project Committee.