Land Conservancy of West Michigan appoints executive director

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Kim Karn Courtesy Land Conservancy of West Michigan

The Land Conservancy of West Michigan promoted its development leader to succeed its retiring executive director.

The Grand Rapids-based conservation nonprofit said it chose Kim Karn as its new executive director; her tenure started Monday. She succeeds Joe Engel, who is retiring after five years of leading the organization.

Karn joined the Land Conservancy as its development director in October 2019.

“In her time with us, Kim has demonstrated not only her skills as a kind and energetic leader, but the depth of her commitment to the preservation of West Michigan’s natural areas,” said Bill Lawrence, board chair for the Land Conservancy. “She is well positioned to lead the organization, and the board is excited to work with her.”

The Land Conservancy credited Karn’s leadership and collaborative attitude as key factors to the organization’s success in 2020. As development director, she redesigned the organization’s major donor and planned giving programs, and less than a year into her tenure, she took on the challenge of leading the development team through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is a great honor to have been selected to lead the Land Conservancy in its work to preserve nature for future generations,” Karn said. “I am grateful for the board and staff’s confidence in me and to have benefited from Joe’s guidance as I take on this new role.”

As executive director, Karn will work alongside the Land Conservancy’s staff and board to implement the organization’s strategic business and conservation plans and advance its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

“I am excited to continue working alongside a talented and passionate staff to keep nature nearby in West Michigan,” Karn said.

Before joining the Land Conservancy, Karn lived in the Four Corners region of Colorado, where she was director of development for the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. Prior to that, she worked in university advancement at the University of Washington.

Karn attended the University of Montana.

Land Conservancy of West Michigan

Founded in 1976, the Land Conservancy of West Michigan is a nationally accredited land trust dedicated to helping people protect, enjoy and care for natural land.

Its office is at 400 Ann St. NW, Suite 102, in Grand Rapids.

To date, The Land Conservancy has worked with individuals and communities to permanently protect nearly 155 properties in Allegan, Kent, Ottawa, Newaygo, Muskegon, Oceana, Mason and Lake counties.

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