Jim Welsh, Executive Director of Groundswell Conservancy, has been instrumental in the permanent protection of many of the most loved and valued places in south central Wisconsin. During Jim’s successful tenure over the past 18 years, Groundswell has achieved national accreditation and has conserved 13,000 acres of farms, forests, prairies, and wetlands in and around Dane County.
Under Jim’s leadership, Groundswell has preserved land in rural, agricultural, and urban environments, a testament to his belief that everyone deserves access to nature and open spaces. In addition to his success in expanding conservation areas, protecting new lands and conserving historical areas, Jim has worked with community members to provide equitable access to land and nature, including expanding the outdoor classroom at Lake View Elementary School in Madison and securing land tenure for immigrant farmers and farmers of color.
Jim has devoted his professional career to land conservation and has worked in Wisconsin, California, Michigan, and Washington, DC with leading conservation groups such as The Nature Conservancy, the Alaska Coalition, and National Parks and Conservation Association. Jim serves on the board of Holy Wisdom Monastery and is a past community board member of Clean Lakes Alliance. He has served on the Dane County Zoning & Land Regulation Farmland Preservation Plan Subcommittee and the Dane County Task Force for the Prioritized Revision of Chapter 10 Zoning Ordinance. Jim has master’s degrees in ecological restoration from the University of Wisconsin and natural resources policy from the University of Michigan.
“The outstanding leadership and experience of Jim Welsh and the staff at Groundswell have carried the message and delivered the outcomes for important properties in our area.” – William Van Haren, Pure Sweet Honey Farm, Inc and past Groundswell board member.