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GARNA Welcomes Longstanding Nonprofit Leader Jason Marsden as New Executive Director

Photo Credit: Randy Schwitzer

GARNA is excited to introduce Jason Marsden as the new Executive Director!

Marsden, 51, brings to the role more than two decades of nonprofit executive experience with organizations whose missions range from wildlife habitat protection to civil rights advocacy and historic preservation. 

In addition to his director-level roles in the nonprofit sector, Marsden was previously a statewide environmental and natural resource reporter in Wyoming and has served as a board member for a variety of conservation groups. At GARNA, he succeeds longtime executive director (ED) Dominique Naccarato, who has joined the Western Colorado University faculty.

“GARNA’s Board was fortunate to have a tremendously talented field of candidates for this vital role and it was truly a challenge for the Board to choose from the group of strong ED finalists. We ultimately offered the position to Jason, recognizing how many areas of his varied leadership experience complement GARNA’s strategic work and visions for its future,” said Beth Helmke, the Board chair. “We are excited to welcome Jason and his unique background in strengthening and growing grassroots organizations. We believe he will be an incredible asset not only to GARNA, but to our whole community.”

Marsden was an EPA-award-winning environmental reporter in his twenties before founding Wyoming’s affiliate of the League of Conservation Voters in 2001. After serving eight years there as Director as well as chairing the Wyoming Chapter of the Sierra Club, he joined the staff of the Matthew Shepard Foundation as Executive Vice President in Denver where he specialized in prevention of hate crimes and other civil rights violations for vulnerable communities.

“I’m proud of the work I’ve been able to do to shape policy and build resilient organizations. The natural environment is facing daunting challenges as our climate changes and our landscapes absorb greater and greater demands and this work must continue through organizations like GARNA,” Marsden said. “The Upper Arkansas Valley is an incredibly special place with a uniquely collaborative approach to environmental stewardship. I’m honored to be entrusted with nurturing the community’s support for these treasured resources through GARNA’s role in this shared work.” Marsden is currently in the process of relocating from the Front Range to Chaffee County.

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GARNA works with communities of the upper Arkansas River valley to foster the stewardship of the region’s natural environment and the resilience of our communities.

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