Jim Desmond, the director of Metro’s Sustainability Center, has been named the new state director of The Nature Conservancy.

The Nature Conservancy’s Oregon chapter manages 45 nature preserves around the state. The chapter has more than 32,000 members, more than 750 volunteers and has protected more than 505,000 acres of land.

Desmond replaces Russ Hoeflich, the nonprofit's longtime local leader.

Desmond worked for Metro the past 18 years, overseeing the regional government’s natural area programs, regional parks, trail development, and recycling programs. Under his tenure, Metro added 14,000 acres of natural areas, protecting 170 miles of river and stream frontage and planting 2.5 million trees and shrubs.

Desmond initially was a real estate attorney in Chicago, then worked for The Nature Conservancy in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he oversaw land acquisitions and conservation efforts in 11 states.

Desmond moved to Portland in 1993 to serve as project manager for the Trust for Public Land, focusing on land protection in the Columbia River Gorge and Oregon Coast.

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