Priya Nanjappa is the Vice President of Conservation Programs for the National Parks Conservation Association. She has spent over 20 years in the world of conservation science and policy following her Master’s degree in Biology with an emphasis in wildlife ecology and conservation. Her experience ranges from federal and state government to nonprofit management, most recently having served as a Commissioner specializing in Wildlife, Environment, and Reclamation for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, appointed by Governor Polis. Prior to this role, she was the Director of Operations for the nonprofit organization, Conservation Science Partners (or CSP), which is headquartered in Truckee, California and where she served as the lead for the Fort Collins, Colorado office. Priya’s work has involved coordination between various agencies and partners, implementing conservation policies and guidance nationally and internationally. She has maintained a steady number of scientific publications, and has led numerous interdisciplinary teams to aid agencies and landowners in various aspects of species and habitat conservation or management decisions.
Priya was the 2019 recipient of the Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) Visionary Leader Award — the first woman and second person of color to receive this award. She has twice been a mentor for the David H. Smith Postdoctoral Conservation Fellowship Program.
She has been passionate about inclusivity, equity, and diversity, and has been committed to influencing and creating changes in policies and practices in several of her past roles. Priya recently served as a mentor in the inaugural cohort of Next100 Colorado, designed to help connect Colorado’s emerging and seasoned leaders of color through a series of partnerships, network formation, and leadership building. She is currently a co-lead of the Public Lands Working Group for the America The Beautiful For All Coalition, whose aim is to reflect the diversity of America and center the voices of people of color working to conserve 30% of our public lands, waters, and oceans by 2030.
She also really loves toads.