Natural Lands—the region’s oldest and largest land conservation organization—announced it has hired Todd Sampsell as vice president of conservation services. Sampsell’s 20-year conservation career spans the country, but his roots are in Pennsylvania.

Sampsell, who has both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in biology, began his career as Director of Northwest Conservation Programs at Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and went on to be Director of Conservation Operations and then Deputy State Director at The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Pennsylvania chapter. At TNC he managed land protection and land stewardship programs and negotiated major acquisitions.

From there, Todd became State Director of TNC’s Missouri chapter where he oversaw forest protection in the Ozarks, tallgrass prairie preservation, and urban conservation efforts in St. Louis. He later became Deputy Director of Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources where he led the staff of the director’s office, served as liaison to the Governor’s office and legislature, led an operations improvement process, and helped launch an update to Missouri’s State Water Resource Plan.

Most recently, Todd has served as President of Friends of Virgin Islands National Park in St. John.

“I’m very excited to return home to Pennsylvania to continue a focus on conservation with Natural Lands and our partners,” said Sampsell. “Natural Lands’ focus on both protecting Pennsylvania’s lands and waters while strengthening people’s connection to nature is so important. We have tremendous challenges ahead with climate change, loss of biodiversity and insufficient funding to meet the region’s needs. We will need everyone on board to ensure equitable access to and protection of our resources for today and future generations.”

“Todd joins Natural Lands at an exciting time,” shared Oliver Bass, president. “Throughout the course of the pandemic, people have turned to the outdoors in record numbers. Now more than ever, our region is aware of how essential protected open space is to our health and wellbeing. We look forward to Todd’s fresh perspective and energy as we build on our long record of success in saving land, caring for nature, and connecting people to the outdoors.”