Our new Executive Director

Gathering Waters: Wisconsin’s Alliance for Land Trusts is pleased to announce the hiring of Mike Carlson as Executive Director. Mike has been with Gathering Waters for eight years, serving as Government Relations Director, External Relations Director, and, most recently, Interim Executive Director.

Gathering Waters’ Board Chair, Thomas Mitchell, said, “After a robust review-and overwhelmingly positive feedback from a number of important stakeholders about Mike’s qualifications to lead the organization-the Board decided to promote from within and to select Mike as the next permanent Executive Director.”

A native of Washington, D.C., Mike received his bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and then completed an M.S. in Environment and Resources at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the UW-Madison, and a J.D. at the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Mike traces his commitment to conservation to his youth and time spent at a family cabin in the mountains of central Virginia, trout fishing, and hiking in and around the Shenandoah National Park. Mike continues to be an avid outdoorsman. He is passionate about Gathering Waters’ mission and supporting Wisconsin’s land trust community.

Gathering Waters is pleased to announce the hiring of Mike Carlson as Executive Director.

“I’m excited to take on this leadership role at Gathering Waters and to build upon the organization’s strengths and past successes,” Mike Carlson said. “Together, with the land trust community, we will focus on advancing our mission-helping land trusts, landowners, and communities protect the places that make Wisconsin special.”

Mike has made a significant impact on several public policy campaigns, beginning with helping to obtain reauthorization of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program in 2007 and fighting for the program through the last four biennial state budgets. Due in large measure to his strong and focused advocacy efforts at Gathering Waters, land trusts have been able to secure nearly $100 million in Stewardship Program grant funding during the last decade to support important land protection efforts. Mike has also worked collaboratively with many partners at the local, state, regional, and national level to advocate for conservation funding and policies.

“The Board of Directors is thrilled that Mike is assuming this important role, and we’re confident that he is perfectly positioned to lead the organization forward,” Mitchell added.

Unlike any other organization, Gathering Waters exists to strengthen Wisconsin’s land trusts - advocating for funding and policies that support land conservation and fostering a community of practice that promotes land trust excellence and advancement. www.gatheringwaters.org