Beth Wheatley is the Director of External Affairs & Strategic Initiatives in West Virginia and serves as the external affairs lead for the Central Appalachian Whole System Program. In these roles, Wheatley leads work at the intersection of nature, climate, people and economy to advance Shared Conservation Agenda climate and protection priorities with an aim to catalyze nature-friendly economic activities to also contribute to much-needed economic diversification. She focuses on working with businesses, government, non-profit organizations, community economic development organizations and others to develop and implement the projects, policies, practices and partnerships needed to achieve on-the-ground and political change. Wheatley also serves as the Vice Chair of the U.S. Government Relations Cabinet, TNC’s premier public policy body.
Wheatley joined The Nature Conservancy as a Land Protection Specialist in 2005 and then moved on to build West Virginia’s first “government relations and policy” program after leading a multi-year campaign to develop the first state land conservation program. To do so, she built a diverse coalition of businesses, hunting organizations, county commissions and others. Because of her success, Wheatley received the National Soil & Water Conservation Society’s Legislative Leadership Award. Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy, she lived and worked in and out of the country—from Montana to Maine to Belize. During her career in West Virginia, she served as Executive Director of West Virginia Land Trust and played a leading role in developing three statewide conservation programs and growing multiple land conservation organizations, directly contributing to the conservation of thousands of acres of lands.
Wheatley recently served as Adjunct Faculty at Davis & Elkins College where she co-created and co-taught Psychology & Nature. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and English literature from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Science in Natural Resource Policy & Behavior from the University of Michigan. Wheatley lives in Charleston, West Virginia with her partner and their son.