WALT Welcomes New Executive Director

- Blog

Hailing from the rolling hills of the Palouse, WALT's new ED Nick Norton brings "compassion, creativity, diplomacy, and grit."


This August, the Washington Association of Land Trusts had the pleasure of welcoming its new Executive Director, Nick Norton. Nick comes to WALT from the Palouse Land Trust, where he served as the Conservation Projects Manager since 2015 and, more recently, as its Interim Executive Director.

Born and raised in the fertile, rolling hills of the Palouse Region of Eastern Washington and North-Central Idaho, Nick moved to the east coast in 2005 to attend Bowdoin College in Maine, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Environmental Studies. It was during his four years in New England where he discovered the “joys” of lugging a heavy pack straight up a mountainside, waking up at dawn to put on a frozen wetsuit, and lunging across a snowscape during free-heel skiing. These experiences cemented his belief that a key ingredient in a healthy and happy life is an abundance of the outdoors. Even today, when not tucking into a good book, gardening, or playing pick-up soccer, Nick can be found enjoying whatever recreational opportunities the season provides, be it kayaking, mountaineering, backpacking, mountain biking, or cross-country skiing.

Upon graduating from Bowdoin College, Nick moved to California, where he spent time working as a teacher at Slide Ranch, an experiential education non-profit, and as an organic gardener and naturalist at Walker Creek Ranch, the outdoor school for Marin County, where he met his wife Nicole.

Nick Norton WALT

In 2013, Nick moved back to the northwest to get his graduate degree in Plant Biology at Washington State University, where he studied the effects of competition on floral evolution in endemic plant species. This led to a position as an ecological researcher at the nearby University of Idaho, working to develop better methods of managing the invasive weeds of the intermountain west.

Throughout his time as an educator and scientist, however, Nick always wanted an opportunity to be a more direct part of creating a world that balanced vibrant communities, important working landscapes, intact natural habitat, and diverse recreational opportunities. Luckily, the Palouse Land Trust of Moscow, ID, met that calling.

“The opportunity to work with and help land trusts across Washington state is a real thrill and an exciting challenge,” explains Nick. “WALT is full of incredible, visionary people committed to the work of voluntary land conservation and the importance of leaving a conservation legacy in their communities for the next generation. But it is not easy, and requires compassion, creativity, diplomacy, and grit.”

“That is where WALT comes in. As an association, we can learn from and grow with each-other, advocate strongly in support of programs that drive our important work, and tell the story of our collective impact to build support for smart, local conservation.”

Please join us in giving a warm welcome to Nick Norton! You can reach him via email at nick@walandtrusts.org or give him a ring at (206) 274-2910 x1.