Will has served for more than 20 years as the President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, playgrounds, community gardens, farms, historic places, and wilderness. In April 2018, Will retired and became President Emeritus.
Whether recycling brownfields for new urban parks or playgrounds or conserving remote and inspirational wildlands, TPL brings a market-based approach to its mission of protecting the places that inspire us and where people can connect with the natural world and with each other.
Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $70 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year.
Will is a nationally recognized advocate for land conservation and has given major addresses or interviews to the Urban Land Institute, the National Smart Growth Conference, the National Brownfields Conference, and Talk of the Nation, among others. Before joining TPL, Will managed infill urban redevelopment projects for a Chicago-based real estate development company. Before becoming a developer and then an “un-developer,” he was a commercial beekeeper, founding and managing a commercial honey production company in Bogotá, Colombia. He is a graduate of Stanford University and received his MBA from Harvard University. He lives with his family in Kensington, California, and continues to keep honeybees in his backyard.
Embracing Geo-design: The Powerful Influence of GIS and Geo-design on the Mission and Impact of The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a National Parks and Conservation Nonprofit
This presentation, based on a paper for the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, written by TPL’s recently retired CEO, Will Rogers, and current Director of Research and Innovation, Breece Robertson, tracks the evolution of GIS and Geodesign tools over two decades at The Trust for Public Land (TPL). The presentation highlights the significant impacts – to the organization and its mission—that accompanied TPL’s embrace of GIS tools and technology.
By developing and using sophisticated mapping and spatial analysis tools, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) has been able to dramatically increase its effectiveness in delivering its land-for-people parks and conservation mission, whether in inner cities, rural communities or remote wilderness. Geographic information systems (GIS) and related analytical tools have not only enabled the organization to be more responsive to the communities it serves, but these tools have also enabled the organization to play a stronger leadership role in advocating for parks and conservation and the ways in which parks can help address fundamental societal problems such as equity, community health, and climate change.
The visuals accompanying this presentation will demonstrate the 20-year evolution of a series of parks and conservation tools, beginning with simple mapping and ending with a number of current innovative conservation tools and analysis, which were unthinkable even five years ago. The presentation ends with thoughts on what other challenges these tools might help us tackle and “whats” on the drawing board to seize future conservation opportunities.