Kingsbury Browne Fellows, Current and Past

Updated to October 2023

The Lincoln Institute established the Kingsbury Browne Fellowship in association with the Kingsbury Browne Conservation Leadership Award in 2006. That award honors the late Kingsbury Browne, a Lincoln Fellow in 1980, whose work led to the creation of the Land Trust Alliance (LTA). Now a national organization of about 1,800 land trust members, LTA trains thousands of conservation leaders, encourages the passage of legislation on land conservation, and develops standards and practices to professionalize and safeguard work on land trusts.


Laura Johnson
2023-2024 Kingsbury Browne Fellow

Past President, Mass Audubon

Laura Johnson is a lifelong conservationist with more than 35 years of experience in nonprofit management. Johnson served as the president of Mass Audubon for 14 years, leading the country’s largest independent state Audubon organization. Prior to that, she spent 16 years at The Nature Conservancy working as a lawyer, Massachusetts state director, and vice president of the northeast region. She is also a past chair of the Land Trust Alliance board of directors. Johnson cofounded the Lincoln Institute’s International Land Conservation Network (ILCN) in 2014 with current ILCN Director Jim Levitt and 2012–2013 Kingsbury Browne Fellow Peter Stein.


Ebonie Alexander
2022-2023 Kingsbury Browne Fellow

Executive Director, Black Family Land Trust

Working at the intersection of equity and conservation, Ebonie Alexander is committed to promoting and ensuring rightful ownership and stewardship of inherited family land for Black landowners and other historically underserved populations in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and other states. As executive director of the Black Family Land Trust, which is based in Durham, North Carolina, Alexander designed the Wealth Retention and Asset Protection (WRAP) program and African American Land Ethic, two initiatives that have helped landowners retain family ownership and control of more than $12.5 million of their land assets and secured more than $500,000 of federal funding to support farmland conservation.


Mark Anderson
2021-2022 Kingsbury Browne Fellow

Director of Science, Eastern U.S., The Nature Conservancy

Mark Anderson works at the forefront of research on climate change and its interaction with ecology. In his role as director of The Nature Conservancy’s Center for Resilient Conservation Science, he oversees a team of scientists that has created detailed maps of areas whose topographies, elevations, and geologies are particularly suited for withstanding the impacts of climate change. These maps are used by government agencies, land trusts, and other organizations to prioritize conservation work. Anderson has also produced a deep body of scholarship in climate resilience, large landscape conservation, biodiversity, and forest dynamics, including co-authorship of the National Vegetation Classification, an online inventory of plants and plant communities across the United States.


Fernando Lloveras San Miguel
2020-2021 Kingsbury Browne Fellow

Executive Director, Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico

For the past 17 years, Fernando Lloveras San Miguel has led the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico, which manages and protects Puerto Rico’s natural areas, runs habitat and species restoration initiatives, and implements coordinated public awareness campaigns, among other activities. Under his leadership, the Trust has received the Seal of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission and been accepted into the International Union for Conservation of Nature, becoming the only organization in Puerto Rico to receive this distinction. Since 2012, Lloveras has also served as president of Para la Naturaleza, a unit of the Trust which aims to protect 33 percent of natural ecosystems in Puerto Rico by 2033. Prior to joining the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico, Lloveras cofounded, which provides digital legal and legislative information and tools to users in Puerto Rico, Chile, Argentina, and Venezuela.


Jane Difley
2018-2019 Kingsbury Browne Fellow

Former President, Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests

Jane Difley served as president of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests for two decades, doubling the size of its conserved Forest Reservations to 56,000 acres. Under her leadership, the Forest Society played a pivotal role in the creation of the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), a state authority that supports the conservation and preservation of New Hampshire’s natural and cultural resources. LCHIP has since made 240 grants to land conservation and historic preservation projects in 141 communities across the state, protecting a total of 260,000 acres and 142 historic structures in the process. Before her tenure at the Forest Society, Difley served as executive director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council and as vice president of forestry programs and national director of the American Tree Farm system at the American Forest Foundation. She was the first woman to serve as the president of the Society of American Foresters.


Michael Whitfield
2018-2019 Kingsbury Browne Fellow

Former Executive Director, Heart of the Rockies Initiative, Montana

Michael Whitfield spent a decade as the Executive Director of the Heart of the Rockies Initiative, a partnership of 23 land trusts in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and southern British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. During his tenure, he led the creation of the High Divide Collaborative, which built a conservation vision for the region bordering Yellowstone National Park and attracted millions of dollars in federal funding. Previously, Whitfield led the Teton Regional Land Trust for 17 years, taught wildland ecology, and worked as a U.S. Forest Service biologist and wildland recreation manager.

Michael Whitfield’s Kingsbury Browne working paper:

Toward Holistic Landscape Conservation in the 21st Century


Will Rogers
2017-2018 Kingsbury Browne Fellow

Former President, Trust for Public Land

Will Rogers served from 1998 to 2018 as CEO of The Trust for Public Land, an organization he joined in 1991. He has been a key figure in the growth of land conservation in recent decades, overseeing the protection of 2.5 million acres of land and developing new tools and capacities for conservation professionals and organizations. These include the Conservation Finance Program, which has helped generate $68 billion through state and local ballot measures, a technology-enabled “greenprinting” process to help communities map and prioritize conservation, and the Conservation Almanac, a repository of information on conservation protections in all fifty states. Prior to becoming CEO of the Trust for Public Land, Rogers served as director of the organization’s California, Hawaii, and Nevada operations. Previously, he managed urban real estate development in Chicago, and worked as a commercial beekeeper in Bogotá, Colombia.

Will Rogers’ Kingsbury Browne working paper:

Harnessing Technology to Accelerate Land Protection


David Hartwell
2016-2017 Kingsbury Browne Fellow

Board President, Belwin Conservancy, Afton, Minnesota
David Hartwell was a leader in a seven-year campaign to pass Minnesota’s Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, a 2008 initiative that will fund conservation projects through 2034 through an enhanced sales tax of three-eighths of one percent. The amendment will generate an estimated $7.5 billion for conservation, arts and cultural preservation and parks and trails. From 2010 to 2013 alone, it funded some 65 projects related to land acquisition, restoration and conservation in Minnesota. Hartwell is the founder and former president of Bellcomb, Inc. He serves as president of the board for the Belwin Conservancy, a 1,350-acre sanctuary in Afton, Minn., and on the boards of National Audubon Society, Children & Nature Network, Island Conservation, Conservation Minnesota, Wildlife Land Trust and the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council as well as a number of private company boards. He is a former member of the Land Trust Alliance board.

David Hartwell’s Kingsbury Browne working paper:

Minnesota’s Road to a Legacy Amendment


Steve Small
2015-2016 Kingsbury Browne Fellow

Attorney, Boston, Massachusetts
Steve Small, a legal pioneer who paved the way to make conservation easements tax-deductible in the U.S., is a nationally recognized expert in private land protection. A former attorney-advisor in the Office of Chief Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service, he wrote the federal Income Tax Regulations on Conservation Easements, a key framework for private land conservation. He has been involved in the protection of more than 1.5 million acres of land, working with more than 500 property owners in more than 45 states on land conservation strategies for farms, ranches, forestland, family estates and coastal and island properties. Small has given more than 400 speeches and workshops, including numerous workshops at the Land Trust Alliance’s annual Rally.

Steve Small’s Kingsbury Browne webinar:

The Advent and Future of Tax-Deductible Conservation Easement Policy in the United States


Jean Hocker
2014-2015 Kingsbury Browne Fellow

Consultant, Washington D.C.
Jean Hocker is former president of the Land Trust Alliance and longtime board member at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. During her tenure from 1987 to 2002 as president and CEO of the Land Trust Alliance, Hocker played a key role in shaping the organization, ensuring land trusts have the tools they need to do their critical work, such as guidance through Land Trust Standards and Practices, extensive educational materials, resources for direct services, and a key voice advocating for federal funding and tax incentives for private land conservation. She continues to be active, consulting with land trusts and their boards, chairing the board of The Wilderness Land Trust, and serving recently as a member of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.

Jean Hocker’s Kingsbury Browne working paper:

Leadership of Land Trusts


Lawrence Kueter
2013-2014 Kingsbury Browne Fellow

Attorney, Denver, Colorado
Lawrence Kueter, a Denver attorney specializing in conservation easements, has been instrumental in the protection of agricultural lands, including the completion of more than 400 conservation transactions and the protection of nearly 600,000 acres of land. Kueter has been the focal point on legislative issues for the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts, legal counsel for the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust since its creation in 1995, and a member of the Board of the Land Trust Alliance. He co-chaired the Accreditation Steering Committee that recommended the adoption of an accreditation program to the Land Trust Alliance, and he has been chair of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission since its creation in 2006. He also has served as an Adjunct Professor in Environmental and Natural Resource Law at the University of Denver’s Strum College of Law. He has a J.D. from the University of Denver-Sturm College of Law, an M.A. from Wayne State University, and a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Lawrence Kueter’s Kingsbury Browne working paper:

Cowboys and Conservation


Peter R. Stein
2012-2013 Kingsbury Browne Fellow

Managing Director, The Lyme Timber Company LP, Hanover, New Hampshire
Peter R. Stein joined Lyme in 1990 where he provides leadership in the development and structuring of conservation-oriented forestland and rural land purchases and dispositions. Before joining Lyme, he was senior vice president of the Trust for Public Land (TPL), where he directed TPL’s conservation real estate acquisitions in the Northeast and Midwest. Stein lectures extensively at graduate schools and professional conferences on conservation investment strategies. He is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Appalachian Mountain Club and serves on the boards of Island Press, National Alliance of Forestland Owners, the Forest History Society, and the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation. In addition, he is a former board chair of the Land Trust Alliance and a founding commissioner of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. During his fellowship, he is conducting research and will write a working paper cataloguing the current state of land trust-type NGOs around the world, with particular emphasis on Chile, Canada, Australia, and Germany.

Peter Stein’s Kingsbury Browne working paper:

The Global Reach of Land Trust Organizations


Audrey C. Rust
2011-2012 Kingsbury Browne Fellow

President Emeritus, Peninsula Open Space Trust, Palo Alto, California
Audrey C. Rust, president emeritus of the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) based in Palo Alto, California, was named the 2011-2012 recipient of the joint Lincoln Institute and Land Trust Alliance fellowship and conservation leadership award. As executive director and then president of POST from 1987 to 2011, Rust partnered with public agencies and private landowners as the land trust protected more than 53,000 acres of open space lands in San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties. The Saving the Endangered Coast campaign, launched in 2001, is the largest land protection initiative ever completed by a local U.S. land trust. She has served on the boards of numerous local, state, and national organizations, primarily in the conservation and housing arenas, and she has received numerous awards for community service.

Audrey Rust’s: Kingsbury Browne working paper:

A Tale of Two Land Trusts


Jay Espy
2010-2011 Kingsbury Browne Fellow

Executive Director, Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, Brunswick, Maine
Jay Espy has been a pioneer in collaborative and large-scale land conservation for over 20 years. He joined the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation as its first executive director in January 2008. The Sewall Foundation is a private, grant making foundation focusing on conservation, animal welfare and social needs. Jay previously served as president of Maine Coast Heritage Trust, a statewide land conservation organization. During his tenure, Maine Coast Heritage Trust accelerated its land protection efforts along Maine’s entire coast, conserving more than 125,000 acres and establishing the Maine Land Trust Network, which helps build capacity of local land trusts throughout Maine.

Jay Espy’s Kingsbury Browne working paper (with Gina Schrader):

Effective Practices in Funding Land Conservation for Impact


Jamie Williams
2009-2010 Kingsbury Browne Fellow

Director, Northern Rockies Initiative, The Nature Conservancy, Boulder, Colorado
A pioneer in collaborative conservation work in the West, Jamie Williams joined The Nature Conservancy in 1992 as its Northwest Colorado program manager and earned a reputation for setting the standard for “community-based” conservation. He served as Montana state director for nine years, where he focused on conserving the state’s largest, most intact landscapes through strong community programs and private-public partnerships. He is a graduate of Yale University and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a former instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).

Jamie Williams’ Kingsbury Browne working paper:

Large Landscape Conservation


Laurie A. Wayburn
2008-2009 Kingsbury Browne Fellow

Cofounder and President, Pacific Forest Trust, San Francisco, California
Through her work with the Pacific Forest Trust, Laurie Wayburn seeks to preserve, enhance, and restore America’s private forests, sustaining their many public benefits. Ms. Wayburn has 25 years of experience in conservation-based sustainable development, nationally and internationally. She has served on the boards of numerous entities to further forest conservation and stewardship, including the Seventh American Forest Congress, The University of California Center for Forestry, The Oregon Board of Forest Incentives Group, the Society of American Foresters Certification Task Force, and the Board of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. She is a former board member of the Land Trust Alliance, and has also served on the boards of the U.S. Man and Biosphere Committee for Biosphere Reserves and The Compton Foundation. Ms. Wayburn is a frequent writer and speaker on the topic of private forest conservation and incentives, and serves as a lead advocate for the significant climate benefits of forests. She most recently coauthored America’s Private Forests: Status and Stewardship, (Island Press 2001) and the report, “Forest Carbon in the United States: Opportunities and Options for Private Lands,” (2001/2007).

Laurie Wayburn’s Kingsbury Browne working paper:

The Role of Forests in U.S. Climate Policy


Mark Ackelson
2007-2008 Kingsbury Browne Fellow

President, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Des Moines, Iowa
Mark Ackelson joined the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation as one of its original staff members in 1980 and has been its president since 1994. The Foundation has helped protect nearly 100,000 acres of Iowa’s prairies, wetlands, woodlands, watersheds, and trail corridors. Ackelson also helped found the Mississippi River Blufflands Alliance, Iowa Environmental Council, the Resource Enhancement and Protection Alliance, and the Land Trust Alliance. The Kingsbury Browne Fellowship supports Ackelson in lecturing, writing, and mentoring projects during 2008.

Mark Ackelson’s Kingsbury Browne fellowship perspective:

Land Conservation and Communities


Darby Bradley
2006-2007 Kingsbury Browne Fellow

President, Vermont Land Trust, Montpelier, Vermont
The first award and one-year Kingsbury Browne Fellowship were given to Darby Bradley for his 25 years of service as counsel and president, working with the group’s founder to set up the organization and complete some of its early conservation projects. During his tenure, VLT has helped landowners in communities throughout the state to permanently protect more than 440,000 acres-roughly 7.5 percent of Vermont’s privately owned land.

Darby Bradley’s Kingsbury Browne working paper:

Amending Perpetual Conservation Easements Confronting the Dilemmas of Change