Priya Nanjappa has had a long history with National Parks, starting with her immigrant father who drove all around the country sightseeing while in graduate school. His love of scenic beauty was conveyed to Priya and her brother, driving them all around the country when they were kids so they could also see these same parks. This was part of the inspiration for Priya's career. She comes to NPCA with over 20 years of conservation science and policy experience.
Prior to NPCA, Priya served as a Commissioner specializing in wildlife, environment, and reclamation for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, appointed by Governor Polis, for its inaugural full-time Commission. Before that, she was the Director of Operations for the nonprofit organization, Conservation Science Partners (or CSP), and was a Program Manager for the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, where she also served as a national coordinator for Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC).
Priya has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Biology with emphases in wildlife ecology, conservation biology, and environmental science. Her experiences include work with federal and state government, nonprofits, and she has coordinated and led interdisciplinary teams at state, national, and international scales. She has maintained a steady number of scientific publications as well. She has twice been a mentor for the David H. Smith Postdoctoral Conservation Fellowship Program. In 2019, Priya was the recipient of the PARC Visionary Leader Award – the first woman and second person of color to receive this award.
Priya is passionate about inclusivity, equity, and diversity, and has applied these in her recent positions where she was able to influence and create beneficial changes in policies and practices. She recently served as a mentor in the inaugural cohort of Next100 Colorado, designed to help connect Colorado’s emerging and seasoned leaders of color through a series of partnerships, network formation, and leadership building.
She also really loves toads – outside of work, you can find her looking for them, or just hiking and camping, often with her daughter, who shares her love of the outdoors.