New leader for West Seattle-based Nature Consortium: Meet incoming executive director Merica Whitehall

(Photo courtesy Nature Consortium)
Big news today from West Seattle-headquartered Nature Consortium, which focuses on forest restoration and environmental arts for youth: A successor to founder/executive director Nancy Whitlock. Meet (above left, with Whitlock) Merica Whitehall, who becomes NC’s new executive director on December 15th, a year and a half after Whitlock announced she planned to step back. Ahead, messages from both:

First, the message from Nancy Whitlock:

The past year has been a year of transition for Nature Consortium. It was a year ago that I initially took leave of my position as Executive Director. I enjoyed a wonderful break and had time for more family-based and self-reflective activities. The staff continued carrying forward the mission while encountering a few bumps in the road. In late summer I was invited to come back on an interim basis while a new leadership search was undertaken.

The organization spent 4-months networking in the community and working with a search firm to find just the right fit. I am beyond thrilled that we have chosen Merica Whitehall (pronounced like Teresa with an “M”) to lead the organization into our next chapter! She brings a wonderful blend of warmth, professionalism and passion that I immediately connected with. Merica possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience from her work at Seattle University and with many other local nonprofits. I know that our staff, board, volunteers, and supporters will be in good hands, which is my greatest hope as the founder.

I’m also very excited that I’ll be collaborating with Merica during her first 90 days to help her acclimate to the day-to-day business operations of the organization and to make introductions in the community. If you’d like to set up a time to meet Merica after she starts in mid-December, give us a call at the office or send me an email. Heartfelt thanks to all of you for your continued support of our work and mission!

And from Merica Whitehall:

I’m thrilled to be the new executive director at such an amazing organization. Nature Consortium’s mission to connect people, arts and nature resonates with my professional passion for building community and promoting social justice. What better way to do this than through engaging the minds and bodies of community members to become stewards and advocates for our city’s urban forests; inspiring creativity and nurturing environmental awareness in youth through the arts; and bringing it all together with a celebration of community, art and nature at a funky and eclectic outdoor arts festival.

In the coming year, I plan to become better acquainted with the Nature Consortium community. I look forward to learning even more about how Nature Consortium is having a positive impact in our city and in our community. My goal is to contribute to extending and deepening those positive impacts through the exercise of sound leadership, effective planning, and meaningful collaboration. During this transition in leadership, I also look forward to collaborating with Nature Consortium’s dynamic founder, Nancy Whitlock, on a number of projects including the 2015 Arts in Nature Festival.

Nature Consortium is committed to building community internally as it builds community externally. In this past year Nature Consortium has acquired renewed energy and enthusiasm from several new board and staff members. I am filled with a great sense of possibility as I enter into this exciting new endeavor. I am one among a talented team. Nature Consortium is firmly established and poised for a promising future. August 22-23, 2015) after skipping 2014.

4 Replies to "New leader for West Seattle-based Nature Consortium: Meet incoming executive director Merica Whitehall"

  • CeeBee December 2, 2014 (10:09 pm)

    Thanks to Nancy for the amazing job she has done growing and nurturing Nature Consortium and welcome to Merica!

  • westseattledood December 2, 2014 (11:11 pm)

    Second the thanks to Nancy. I have walked the Duwamish Greenbelt frequently for years. I recall with gratitude your inspired leadership and the hard work of so many and shall always be thankful till I walk the trails no more.

    I also wish Merica a successful and fulfilling journey as she assumes her new title.

    This community continues to be the beneficiary of the amazing efforts of some truly exceptional people. Thanks to all.

  • Nancy Whitlock December 3, 2014 (8:23 am)

    Thank you so much for the kind words. It means a lot to me. It’s been such an amazing journey that I’ve truly enjoyed. I’m humbled by the on-going support and involvement of so many community members. I’ll definitely be staying involved on ancillary basis. I live across the street from the greenbelt so I go there often. Maybe I’ll see you on the trails!

  • Merica Whitehall December 3, 2014 (8:37 pm)

    Thank you for your words of welcome CeeBee and Westseattledood! I hope to meet you both and to have your continued support for the wonderful work that Nature Consortium does right here in our community.

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