Executive director of Swaner takes on a new challenge in Los Alamos, New Mexico

Nell Larson is leaving Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter for a new job in New Mexico.

Nell Larson, the executive director of Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter, will be leaving her position this fall after 17 years with the organization. She has led Swaner for the past 10 years, after previously working as the conservation director.

“I’m so grateful for the unwavering support of this community and for my time at Swaner,” Larson said. “This is such a special place, and Swaner’s work is critical to maintaining a healthy environment and community into the future. We have an amazing team in place to keep the momentum moving, and I can’t wait to see what the organization will take on next!”

Larson will move to Los Alamos, New Mexico, and join Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she will lead the new Enduring Environmental Stewardship Program.

“We are so fortunate to have had Nell leading Swaner for the past decade.” said the chair of Swaner’s board, David Kizer. “She has driven enormous growth and development for the organization through the introduction of major new programs and innovative projects as well as successful fundraising to strengthen our ability to serve a larger community of people.”

Under Larson, the organization established a traveling museum exhibition program, strengthened community partnerships to broaden program reach, and lead innovative projects to improve watershed health, officials said. She also grew the annual budget from $300,000 to $1.3 million, now serving 25,000 people annually and expanding the organization’s conservation and research work.

“Nell has been the driving force that has made the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter the success that it is,” said Justen Smith, a professor and the Utah State University Extension statewide director for agriculture and natural resources. “Nell has been the face of the organization and it will be hard to imagine a Swaner without her. I know she will take the same tremendous leadership skills and passion for the environment to her next adventure and chapter in her life. Utah State University is so thankful and appreciative of all her impacts over the past decade.”

The university will lead the search for the organization’s next executive director, with support from the Swaner board and staff. They plan to launch a national search by the end of the year in order to identify Swaner’s next leader, they said.

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