Heather Reading brings over 20 years of expertise in land and water conservation to Land Advisors Organization. As a trusted Conservation Advisor, she enjoys success in aligning diverse stakeholders around a shared vision that enables outcomes benefitting both people and nature. She focuses on conservation transactions and advisory services that solve land use and resource challenges, protect drinking water supplies, improve recreational opportunities, and contribute to healthy communities with vibrant economies. In collaboration with Land Advisors Organization large land and agricultural advisors, Heather provides advisory services tailored to maintaining the economic viability of family farms and multi-generational ranching operations to preserve the heritage of agriculture. She brings expertise in large land portfolio management and disposition, grant-writing and securing multi-million dollar funding awards, developing creative strategies tailored to the needs of individual landowners and helping them to leave a lasting legacy.
Prior to joining Land Advisors Organization, Heather served as Land & Water Protection Director for The Nature Conservancy in Arizona. She protected thousands of acres of Arizona’s most important conservation lands for future generations, secured flowing rivers and state drinking water supplies, and helped families to save their working farms and ranches. Her conservation success was accomplished by negotiating complex real estate transactions, developing market-based solutions, facilitating public-private partnerships, and shaping public policy.
Heather helped shape the 2018 Farm Bill by working at local, state, and national levels to improve conservation programs and increase funding. She assisted USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in building a successful Agricultural Conservation Easement Program for Arizona and directing easement program funding to the state. She currently serves on the NRCS AZ State Technical Advisory Committee.
Heather also has experience designing and implementing effective mitigation strategies. She managed an In-Lieu-Fee mitigation program for The Nature Conservancy in AZ that effectively doubled the size of a nature preserve. She has developed strategies to offset impacts of groundwater withdrawal on river systems and the impact of transportation corridors on wildlife. Additionally, she is a former federal agency biologist with National Environmental Policy Act regulatory review and Endangered Species Act consultation experience.
Heather earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Master of Science in Forestry from Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff AZ, where she developed a passion for the outdoors and connecting people to nature. She and her husband recently purchased their favorite outdoor gear store there and are successful small business owners and members of the Flagstaff business community.