Natural Areas Conservancy Inc

aka Natural Areas Conservancy   |   NEW YORK, NY   |


The Natural Areas Conservancy is a champion of NYC’s 20,000 acres of forests and wetlands for the benefit and enjoyment of all. Our team of scientists and experts promote nature’s diversity and resilience across the five boroughs, working in close partnership with the City of New York. Our work makes the city a healthier and more vibrant place to live and thrive.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

Sarah Charlop-Powers

Main address



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NTEE code info

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Advancing Urban Forest Climate Science and Management

Cities are already experiencing many negative impacts of climate change. The NAC is focused on building a better understanding of the role that natural areas play as a part of the solution. Using extensive data, the NAC has established an approach to make New York City’s forests more adaptable to future climate related threats and has quantified their role in storing and sequestering carbon. In our research, we have calculated that forested natural areas account for 69% of the carbon stored in New York City’s trees, despite being only 25% of the tree canopy. These calculations have also revealed that healthy forests store twice as much carbon as degraded forests. We are using this information to activate partners and policymakers and advance innovative management strategies needed to ensure forests survive under hotter conditions and more severe and frequent storms.

Population(s) Served

Through our robust series of public programs in natural areas, the NAC has engaged over 7,500 individuals in tours, lectures, and volunteer events. In 2020, we responded to COVID-19 by making all of our events and programming virtual. Our programs focused on topics — such as hiking suggestions and plant identification lessons — that would help New Yorkers get outside and safely spend time in local nature. With this new programming, we experienced a 150% increase in overall attendance and engagement. Looking ahead to 2021, the NAC is planning flexible programming that can be adapted to changing safety conditions during the pandemic. Our virtual events will include interactive content to allow participants to experience New York City’s natural areas from the comfort of their homes. Once it is safe for city residents to gather in groups again, we will offer in-person programming to promote and encourage the long-term stewardship of New York City’s forests and wetlands.

Population(s) Served

Research confirms what we instinctively know to be true: nature is immensely important – for people and for cities. Spending time in nature makes us healthier and happier. A study by the U.S. Forest Service reports that 50% of New Yorkers experience nature only in city parks. However, due to limited public funding, there is no well-managed, well-marked, and well-publicized citywide nature trail system in New York City parks. To address the needs of our vast and complex park system, the NAC created a citywide trails team and trains non-profit partners and individual volunteers in trail management. To increase this effort to the level needed for New York City and to bring more funding and volunteer resources to the city’s haphazard system, the NAC developed a strategic trails plan. We are seeking support in to implement our recommendations for increased stewardship and community engagement with local residents to maintain trails.

Population(s) Served

Through our internship program, we mentor a diverse group of STEM majors from the City University of New York (CUNY) to become the environmental leaders of tomorrow. Since 2016, we have trained 65 young adults through our paid summer internship program. Our expert staff guide student research and train interns in botany and ecological data collection and analysis. The data collected and analyzed by the interns are used by the NAC and the NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation to manage forests and wetlands across the city.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment for New Yorkers aged 18-24 increased from 6% to 35%. Concerned by this troubling trend, we are even more committed to supporting and expanding our paid internship program.

Population(s) Served
Young adults
Low-income people

Based on a survey of local park conservancies conducted in summer 2020, the NAC found nearly 60 percent reported a loss of natural areas staff, and 77 percent indicated an increased reliance on volunteerism to conduct work in natural areas. To respond to this changing situation, the NAC proposes to strengthen communities’ involvement in stewarding their local forests, while filling a critical gap in forest care, by providing training to conservancies and local volunteers in natural areas management skills. Participants in the training program will be empowered to excel in natural areas stewardship. After this 5-week series, volunteers will have all the tools they need to identify plants on the land they steward, care for the beneficial species, and control the harmful ones, thus increasing natural areas health.

Population(s) Served

Since 2019, the NAC has convened Forests in Cities (FIC), a national network of colleagues from 12 U.S. cities who are working to restore and manage forested natural areas. The NAC has facilitated the publication of over 25 case studies and the first national report on urban forested natural areas, including responses from over 100 organizations across the country. Over the next three years the NAC has committed to advancing the following goals: 1) Nurture and grow a national network of experts focused on the care of forests in cities; 2) Advance urban forest science and practice, including documentation of successful practices, and the creation of new knowledge to advance this field; and 3) Advocate for increased resources and support. The NAC works with the FIC network and collaborators to develop strategies that will raise awareness of the importance of urban natural areas in order to increase public, policy, and financial support at local and national scales.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Champion of Trees Award 2021

Arbor Day Foundation

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of organizational partners

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Building a National Network To Share Resources and Build Recognition for Forests in Cities

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The Natural Areas Conservancy (NAC) works to restore and conserve New York City’s 20,000 acres of forests and coastal areas. The NAC champions urban natural areas in New York City and across the nation through innovative research, partnerships, and advocacy. We increase the health and resilience of urban forests and wetlands, catalyze connections between people and nature, and strengthen the environmental workforce.
The NAC focuses on 5 programmatic areas:

1)Train the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders- Through our CUNY student internship initiative we provide intensive, engaging field experiences for STEM majors. Through advanced training, mentorship, and opportunity, we invest in a more representative and inclusive environmental workforce. We have trained over 100 young adults through this program.

2)Connect New Yorkers to Nature - We increase access to and awareness of New York City’s natural areas. Working closely with local partners, we are formalizing and publicizing New York City’s network of 300 miles of nature trails. We released a strategic plan to guide the improvement of these trails and to engage more partners, communities and volunteers in ongoing management. We also increase community engagement through a broad range of public programming including walking tours, lectures, plantings, trail improvements and cleanups across the city’s forests, wetlands and grasslands.

3)Conduct research that advances the science and practice of managing urban natural areas-
NAC is committed to conducting research that advances practice, increases public knowledge about the value of natural areas and develops strategies to increase the political and financial support at the local and national levels as well as informing boots on the ground management.

4)Build a National Network
To address the challenges of undervalued and underfunded urban natural areas, the NAC created a national network, Forests in Cities, to promote the importance of urban nature and share best practices. We develop strategies to raise awareness of the importance of forested natural areas and increase public, political, and financial support at the local and national level, collaborate on multi-city research initiatives, and populate a resource library specific to urban natural areas care.

5) Advocate for the Care and Funding of Natural Areas
Since 2019, the NAC has successfully advocated for more than $10 million to support the care of NYC’s natural areas. We advocate for the inclusion of investment dollars for urban wetlands and forests to mitigate climate change.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection


Natural Areas Conservancy Inc

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Natural Areas Conservancy Inc

Board of directors
as of 09/08/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Andrew Wallach

Spring Owl Asset Management

Sarah R Moros

Stacy Sonnenberg

Goldman Sachs

Karen Brown

New York Times

David Langer

Latham and Watkins

Clare Peeters

Jewish Theological Seminary

Julia Robbins

New York City Department of Records and Information Services

KC Sahl


Eric Sanderson

Wildlife Conservation Society

Margaret Nelson

Acting Commissioner of NYC Parks

Andrew Wallach

Spring Owl Asset Management

Ted Wolff

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips

Veronica White


Adrian Benepe

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Jon Paul Buchmeyer

M Booth

Marcia Bystryn

Katherine Fritts

Ernst & Young

Augie Furst

RBC Capital Markets

Ross Haberman

RLH Investments

Emory Lee


Miles Pincus

Crew NY

Omar Slowe

Harpia Asset Management

Jane Sokolow

Jodi Scheurenbrand

Clark Mitchell

BAND Foundation

Bram Gunther

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/16/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data