Jim Berkey, MS 1997

Jim Berkey

Making Real Change on the Ground!


Jim was born in Pasadena and grew up nearby in Sierra Madre. He did a double major undergraduate degree (a BS and BA in earth science and environmental studies) at UC Santa Cruz. After wandering and working in exotic places like Antarctica, Alaska and New Zealand, Jim stayed in Missoula after graduating from EVST.

Present Title:

 High Divide Headwaters Program Director for The Nature Conservancy

His Passions:

There are two things Jim is really passionate about. He loves the connection to people and places and the tangible results he sees with his work on the ground (as opposed to policy work where it is harder to see the results). Jim also loves working with unlikely partners like conservative rural communities. “People may appear politically different externally,” says Jim, “but I love to sit down with them, find common ground and work together to get things accomplished.”


Jim says he’s proud of all the conservation easements he has helped make happen as well as the millions of dollars raised to make them a reality. “I love this tangible accomplishment,” says Jim. “It feels good to have contributed to conserving land so that it will remain open and productive for the public and wildlife in perpetuity. More recently, as a program director, I’ve really enjoyed orchestrating all the pieces—building a program, managing a team, finding the right partners and projects, and aligning donors with their passion.”

What Others Are Saying:

 “Jim combines a unique set of skills that have made him really successful,” says Glenn Marx, Executive Director of the Montana Association of Land Trusts. “Jim is passionate, insightful, intuitive, and has a unique ability to work with landowners, making it effective for him and The Nature Conservancy to work across the landscape and get conservation projects accomplished.”

What Jim Says About EVST:

“The flexible container that is EVST forced us to be creative, take risks and test. There was no real safety net,” says Jim. “I’ve come to thrive on this. It has allowed me to take risks in my career. By choosing my own classes, topics and even struggling through a change in direction from a conservation biology focus to environmental education, I really benefitted from the process.”