file photo by Patrick Robinson
Nancy Whitlock, who has served as Executive Director for West Seattle based Nature Consortium has chosen to leave that role, after serving for 15 years.

Nancy Whitlock leaving post as Exec. Dir. of Nature Consortium

Nancy Whitlock, whose efforts to raise the public consciousness about the environment and who has led efforts to rebuild and restore many natural areas around the West Seattle community has announced she will leave the post of Executive Director of the organization she founded, Nature Consortium.

She shared the news in a letter to supporters:

Dear Friends,

Every day when I come into the office, I am humbled by how far Nature Consortium has come. What started 15 years ago as my personal mission to connect with my neighbors, has now evolved into a thriving organization with 11 hard-working staff members and thousands of committed volunteers. We are all in it together to connect people, arts, and nature.

I can’t help but look back on what we’ve accomplished at Nature Consortium with reverence and joy. In less than two decades we’ve rallied more than 23,000 environmental enthusiasts of all ages to help us plant more than 43,000 native trees and understory plants in the West Duwamish Greenbelt. Our Youth Art Program has conducted just under 9,000 classes in music, dance, theatre, culinary arts, gardening, and much more, for more than 15,000 Seattle area youth. And, the project that started it all, the Arts in Nature Festival, has delighted more than 22,000 festival-goers over the years. I am in awe of how my original vision has grown, and how it has inspired others well beyond what I had expected.

Because Nature Consortium is in such a great position to continue its important work within the community, it is with mixed feelings that I share the news with you that I have decided to make way for new leadership and begin my transition out of the Executive Director role.

While I have put months of thought into this decision, it was still a difficult one to make. I founded Nature Consortium not long after my son was born, and both it and he have grown up together. NC is, in a way, a child to me, and the people that form its community have become my family. Knowing that has made this decision easier, as I leave this thriving organization in the good hands of our passionate board, amazing staff, and excellent partners.

Fifteen years is a long time in any position, and I knew that one day, if I had done my job well, Nature Consortium would be ready to move to the next level without me standing at the helm of the ship. The time has come to begin setting this in motion.

I won’t be disappearing entirely, though. I’ll be working full-time now through October curating the Arts in Nature Festival, leading our team and assisting with the transition. Then starting in November I’ll begin a four-month sabbatical during which time I look forward to spending with my family, letting my creative juices flow, and maybe even doing some solo guerrilla tree-planting in the Greenbelt. After the four months, it will be the decision of the Board on what formal capacity I might return to Nature Consortium – but at the most it will be in a very part-time capacity.

While I will always be Nature Consortium’s #1 cheerleader, I feel that it is time for new leadership to carry on and lead our growing team. It’s also time to undertake the exciting, and scary, task of reflecting on what lies ahead for me.

Additionally, this presents the organization with an opportunity. While we don’t know who the next executive director will be, I do know that new leadership can bring energy to a solid foundation. In appreciation of all that you’ve given Nature Consortium, the Board and I are committed to making sure that we continue to inform you of pending leadership decisions. A transition committee has formed and we are in the midst of developing a plan for hiring a new Executive Director.

Nature Consortium has built so much, but there is still untapped potential – and I can’t wait to see what wonderful things will happen in the next fifteen years, and more. I want to thank all of you for allowing me to engage in this joyful work of connecting people, arts, and nature. There have been so many people that have brought us to where we are today. I know that there is a true community of people here that are passionate and committed to this work.

My last day will be in November. In the meantime, you’ll still see me around Seattle and participating in all of our summer events – including our 15th anniversary celebration of the Arts in Nature Festival. Please don’t hesitate to stop by, drop me a line, or call me with any questions you might have.

With joy & appreciation,

Nancy Whitlock
Executive Director

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