Will Rogers, now retired, served for 20 years as the President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, playgrounds, community gardens, farms, historic places, and wilderness. Whether recycling brownfields for new urban parks or playgrounds or conserving remote and inspirational wildlands, TPL brings a market-based approach to its mission of protecting the places that inspire us and where people can connect with the natural world and with each other.
Under Will’s leadership, TPL has successfully tackled conservation challenges as diverse as new playgrounds in New York and Newark, the headwaters of the Connecticut River in northern New Hampshire, a new public park in downtown Santa Fe, the 25,000 acre Wao Kele O Puna of coastal Honolulu, Hawaii, and the scenic Waddle Ranch near Truckee, California. During this time, TPL’s Conservation Finance Program has also helped states and communities design and pass more than 500 ballot measures that have created nearly $70 billion in land conservation funding through bonds and sales taxes to protect air and water quality, preserve land, and create parks; and TPL’s Conservation Vision program has begun or completed more than 80 GIS mapping projects nationwide to help communities and regions set their conservation priorities.
Will Rogers is a nationally recognized advocate for land conservation and has given major addresses or interviews to the Urban Land Institute, the National Smart Growth Conference, the National Brownfields Conference, and Talk of the Nation, among others. Before joining TPL, Will Rogers managed infill urban redevelopment projects for a Chicago-based real estate development company, managing both new construction and the rehabilitation of vacant industrial buildings for commercial, office, and residential use. Before becoming a developer and then an “undeveloper” Will was a commercial beekeeper, founding and managing a commercial honey production company in Bogotá, Colombia. He is a graduate of Stanford University and received his MBA from Harvard University. He lives with his family in Kensington, California, and continues to keep honeybees in his backyard.