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Mark Tercek
Mark Tercek is president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy, the global conservation organization known for its intense focus on collaboration and getting things done for the benefit of people and nature. He is the author of the Washington Post and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling book Nature’s Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature.

Growing up as a city kid in Cleveland, Mark was a late-bloomer to conservation. It was becoming a parent that sparked his passion for nature. “I want to be able to look my kids in the eye,” he says, “and tell them I did all I could to leave the world a better place.”

A former managing director and Partner for Goldman Sachs, where he spent 24 years, Mark brings deep business experience to his role leading the Conservancy, which he joined in 2008. He is a champion of the idea of natural capital — valuing nature for its own sake as well as for the services it provides for people, such as clean air and water, productive soils and a stable climate.

During his time at Goldman Sachs, Mark managed several of the firm’s key units, including Corporate Finance, Equity Capital Markets and Pine Street, the firm’s leadership development program. In 2005, after two decades as an investment banker, Mark was tapped to develop the firm’s environmental strategy and to lead its Environmental Markets Group.

Inspired by the opportunity to help businesses, governments and environmental organizations work together in new, innovative ways, Mark left Goldman Sachs in 2008 to head up The Nature Conservancy.

In 2012, Mark was appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to serve on the New York State 2100 Commission, which was created in the wake of Superstorm Sandy to advise the governor and the state on how to make the state’s infrastructure more resilient to future storms. Mark is also a member of several boards and councils, including Resources for the Future and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Mark earned an M.B.A. from Harvard in 1984 and a B.A. from Williams College in 1979.

Entries by Mark Tercek

Protecting Water: The Pulse of Our Civilization

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2015 | 5:33 PM

In this week's episode of EARTH A New Wild, host Sanjayan discovers firsthand that not all rivers flow to the sea.

Beginning in the Grand Canyon, Sanjayan attempts to kayak down the Colorado River to its delta just south of the Mexico border. But his journey ends 100...

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Changing the Way We Think About Water: Q&A With Peter Gleick

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2015 | 4:33 PM


Peter Gleick knows water.

An environmental scientist and communicator and co-founder of the Pacific Institute, the MacArthur "genius" fellow and member of the U.S. National Academy of the Sciences is an expert on the connections between water, energy, food and health;...

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Why a (Nearly) Deserted Island Gives Me Hope for the Oceans

(0) Comments | Posted February 18, 2015 | 4:23 PM

A red-footed booby flies over black-tipped reef sharks in Palmyra's western lagoon (© Kydd Pollock, 2011)

From Robinson Crusoe to Gilligan's Island, deserted islands have long captured our imaginations. Tonight's episode of the PBS series EARTH A New Wild opens at one...

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Q&A With Ian McAllister: Protecting the World's Largest Remaining Temperate Rainforest

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2015 | 5:00 PM


If you visit Canada's Great Bear Rainforest -- and you should -- you'd be lucky to have Ian McAllister as your guide. His knowledge of the world's largest remaining coastal temperate rainforest is unparalleled, and his passion for conserving it is...

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New Hope for an Ancient Forest

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2015 | 4:41 PM


On tonight's episode of PBS's EARTH A New Wild, host M. Sanjayan travels deep into some of the most spectacular forests on the planet, from uncharted areas of the Amazon to the jungles of Sumatra. But this isn't your typical nature...

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Saving the Least Protected Habitat on Earth

(2) Comments | Posted February 4, 2015 | 3:55 PM


In the second episode of the new PBS series, EARTH: A New Wild, which debuts on PBS tonight, we learn about radical new ideas for restoring the planet's iconic grasslands.

It may seem counterintuitive, but adding more grazing animals to...

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Talking Grasslands With Ted Turner

(2) Comments | Posted February 3, 2015 | 6:27 PM


Ted Turner is one of my personal heroes, going back to his 1977 win of the America's Cup in Newport, Rhode Island, at the helm of the boat Courageous. Back then I never would have guessed that I would someday be talking conservation...

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Finally, a Nature Documentary That Shows the Whole Picture

(0) Comments | Posted February 3, 2015 | 9:55 AM

Preview of EARTH: A New Wild, a new PBS series that takes a fresh look at humankind's relationship to the planet

I love nature documentaries. They take us to Earth's most spectacular places and teach us about its fascinating diversity of life. Yet something always seems missing. Where are the people who live alongside these animals? Even in the remotest landscapes, people are an integral part of nature.

That notion is at the heart of EARTH: A New Wild, a remarkable new five-part PBS series. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is delighted to partner with PBS on the series, which examines people's relationship with wildlife in some of the planet's most beautiful and wildest places. Dr. M. Sanjayan, a gifted storyteller and TNC's former lead scientist, hosts the series, which was filmed in 29 different countries.

The first episode, which airs Wednesday night, is entitled "Home." Through powerful stories of how people and wild animals can thrive together, this episode helps us understand that the fate of wildlife and people are deeply intertwined. We learn about how collaboration and community-based conservation can lead to tangible results for the health of wildlife and people.

I recently traveled to northern Kenya, where parts of EARTH: A New Wild were filmed. It's a place where vast herds of wildlife coexist with a growing human population. While there I visited a TNC partner, the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, a 62,000-acre wildlife reserve. Lewa has become a testing ground for innovative conservation strategies demonstrating that security for wildlife equals security for people.

Founded by visionary conservationist Ian Craig, Lewa attracts tourists and their dollars from around the world. Using these funds, Lewa hires local people to protect wildlife from poachers and supports schools, health clinics and micro-credit lending programs in the communities that surround the reserve.

As a result, local communities benefit directly from wildlife conservation. Elephants and rhinos, for example, now have value to local communities far greater than what their tusks or horns could fetch on the illegal poaching market.

Critically endangered black rhinos graze at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Northern Kenya (© 2013 Ami Vitale)

Part of Craig's vision is to share Lewa's learning with other community-owned conservation areas, known as "conservancies," throughout Northern Kenya. To extend the Lewa model, the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) was created to help protect natural resources, resolve conflicts among warring tribes and enhance security for the people and wildlife that share these lands. Visit A New Hope for a New Wild for stories and video about how the Nature Conservancy is working with NRT to transform both conservation and security in the region.

During my trip to Kenya, I sat down with two elders from the Namunyak Conservancy, a 1,500-square-mile community-owned landscape that surrounds the Mathews Range mountains. Sitting on the patio at a conservancy-owned lodge, these leaders described how profits from the lodge were helping pay school fees for local kids and for doctors to visit far-flung villages. They talked about how, with NRT's help, they had put in place governance to reduce conflict between villages and ensure forage was well managed so that wildlife and livestock could coexist.

Samburu women collect water from a well built by Northern Rangelands Trust and the Nature Conservancy at the West Gate Conservancy in Northern Kenya (© 2013 Ami Vitale)

Since it was launched in 2004, NRT has grown to encompass 27 member conservancies and nearly 12,000 square miles of important wildlife habitat. Lewa and NRT's success shows that community-led conservation is scalable. And, perhaps most importantly, it shows that the health, security and well-being of people are deeply intertwined with the natural systems that surround us.

I hope you'll tune into EARTH: A New Wild for more stories like this that show it is possible for wildlife and people to thrive...

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Q&A: Putting African Communities in Charge of Wildlife Protection

(2) Comments | Posted February 3, 2015 | 9:51 AM

Adin Tapicha feeds orphaned southern white rhinos at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Northern Kenya (© 2013 Ami Vitale)

Ian Craig grew up in a family that -- unusual for African ranchers of the time -- valued wildlife on their ranch in northern Kenya....

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10 Reasons to be Encouraged We Made Real Environmental Progress in 2014

(1) Comments | Posted January 2, 2015 | 6:02 PM

2014 was a year of significant progress for the environment. To be sure, we still face plenty of very daunting challenges (you know the list).

But there was also a lot of very significant progress to celebrate. Around the world, governments, businesses, nonprofits, and communities successfully came together to protect...

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Protected Areas: Much More Than Pristine Nature

(1) Comments | Posted December 1, 2014 | 4:31 PM


Last month, more than 6,000 government, business, and civil society leaders gathered at the once-a-decade World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia, to discuss the future of protected areas.

To some, protected areas may seem like "traditional" conservation -- setting aside...

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Q&A with Henry Paulson: Dialogues on the Environment

(3) Comments | Posted September 3, 2014 | 3:52 PM

In this ongoing series, I talk with thought leaders about ideas and trends in the environmental movement. Next in the series is my conversation with Henry Paulson, the founder and chairman of The Paulson Institute.

Mark Tercek: Over the course of your distinguished career as CEO...

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Bringing Conservation and Development Together

(0) Comments | Posted August 25, 2014 | 5:40 PM


Development and conservation are often viewed as separate or even opposing needs. The truth is, we simply won't be successful in addressing either the world's economic or environmental challenges unless we bring them together more often.

USAID is the United...

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Investing in Nature: New Sources of Capital

(0) Comments | Posted April 30, 2014 | 12:12 PM


Two hundred and fifty billion dollars: that's the gap between the estimated need to support global conservation efforts and what's currently devoted to these activities annually, according to a recent study.

How can we close this enormous funding gap?

As a...

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One of the Smartest Investments We Can Make

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 3:53 PM


By Jane Lubchenco, Former Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Mark R. Tercek, President and CEO, The Nature Conservancy

This article first appeared on Ensia Online.

For the past 25 years, every U.S. president beginning with George H. W....

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Getting Dams Right

(0) Comments | Posted March 21, 2014 | 5:11 PM


By Mark Tercek, President and CEO; and Giulio Boccaletti, Managing Director of Global Freshwater, The Nature Conservancy

Over the next 20 years, most key decisions affecting the future of the world's great rivers will have already been made,...

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Q&A with Elizabeth Kolbert: Dialogues on the Environment

(1) Comments | Posted February 25, 2014 | 11:40 AM


In this ongoing series, I talk with thought leaders about ideas and trends in the environmental movement.
Next in the series is my conversation with New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert.

Mark Tercek: Your great new...

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Building From a Merger That Didn't Happen

(0) Comments | Posted January 23, 2014 | 5:04 PM


The following post is jointly authored by Mark Tercek, President & CEO of The Nature Conservancy and Brett Jenks, President & CEO of Rare.

Last fall, we were pleased to announce that The Nature Conservancy and Rare planned to merge....

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Q&A with Andy Revkin: Dialogues on the Environment

(0) Comments | Posted January 15, 2014 | 6:35 PM

In this ongoing series, I talk with thought leaders about ideas and trends in the environmental movement.

Next in the series is my conversation with environmental journalist Andy Revkin. Also a performing songwriter and accompanist for Pete Seeger, Revkin recently released his first album of...

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Q&A With Judith Rodin: Dialogues on the Environment

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2014 | 5:01 PM

2014-01-06-Judith_Rodin_2011211hghig252x300.jpgIn this ongoing series, I talk with thought leaders about ideas and trends in the environmental movement.

Next in the series is my conversation with president of The Rockefeller Foundation, Judith Rodin.

Mark Tercek: The Rockefeller Foundation...

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