Wildlands & Woodlands Website

Highstead works to inspire curiosity and build knowledge about plants and wooded landscapes in order to enhance life, preserve nature, and advance sound stewardship practices.


Highstead Welcomes New Conservationists

With the addition of two new Conservationists, Highstead announces an expansion of its commitment to advance regional conservation and stewardship, environmental education, and the Wildlands and Woodlands initiative. Katie Blake and Tara Whalen will bring added capacity and exper-ience to Highstead’s long-standing support of partners’ work in all aspects of forest, farmland, and community conservation.

Katie Blake, a trained conservation biologist with over 15 years of experience in environmental research, outreach, and planning, will take an active lead in the Hudson to Housatonic Regional Conservation Partnership (RCP), as well as share her expertise in collaborative conservation with the entire RCP Network.

Tara Whalen, an environmental scientist and policy analyst, has joined Highstead’s conservation finance program after a highly successful internship with Highstead this past year. Tara is using her sustainability science, policy analysis, and environmental education experience to showcase how conserving forests and farmland helps protect our livelihoods, mitigate climate threats, support public health, and sustain our quality of life.

¬†“We feel very fortunate to attract the high level of talent that both Katie and Tara bring to Highstead,” said Operations Director Geordie Elkins. “We are grateful that Katie chose Highstead to expand her years of collaboration conservation leadership. I know she’ll leverage her science background into collaborative action. Meanwhile, Tara’s deep policy insight and outside-the-box thinking will help us help our partners through science, economics, and storytelling. She will also be an integral part of the Conservation Finance Network and Sebago Clean Waters initiatives.”

Highstead’s team now includes nine full-time conservationists, ecologists, horticulturalists and support staff, and will soon include a full-time¬†Communications Director. Highstead also supports several fellows and scientists at partner organizations.