WASHINGTON, D.C.—River Network President Nicole Silk, a longtime conservationist, lawyer, water advocate, and river champion has joined the nonprofit funders’ network Rachel’s Network as a Leadership Liaison.

As president, Nicole guides River Network in its unique role as the foremost national nonprofit connecting water-focused organizations, agencies, businesses, and communities for greater local impact and healthier rivers across the US.

During Nicole’s time at the River Network, the organization has expanded its reach from approximately 2,000 to over 6,000 organizations working at the local level across the US, doubled staff capacity in science and policy, and launched new programming to address emerging crises in safe and affordable drinking water, flood risk, and water security.

“In this time of great environmental challenges, we need to elevate collaborative leaders,” said Rachel’s Network President Fern Shepard. “Nicole is just such a leader. She is adept at bringing people together to grow their impact and demonstrating the value of being data-driven.”

Prior to joining the River Network in 2014, Nicole helped The Nature Conservancy expand its freshwater conservation efforts and influence around the world, contributed to conservation innovations in the US and Costa Rica, and guided whitewater adventures from California to Siberia.

“If we are going to overcome the most vexing challenges facing our rivers and all waters on which we depend, we need more people and organizations engaged at the local level. We need strong, effective, and equipped local leaders whose regional results combine for national impact,” said Nicole. “River Network’s job is to help these emerging and established leaders connect to the knowledge, tools, and resources necessary for long-term success. Collectively, we can make a meaningful difference for millions of people.”

Rachel’s Network Environmental Leadership Liaisons — women CEOs of influential national or international environmental nonprofits — provide high-level expertise and keep Rachel’s Network members connected to nonprofits that share our goals. This esteemed roster includes Rhea Suh, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association; and Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA.

To read an interview with Nicole, click here.


Rachel’s Network, a nonprofit organization named in Rachel Carson’s honor, promotes women as impassioned leaders and agents of change dedicated to the stewardship of the earth. The Network builds productive alliances among members and offers services that empower them to lead.

River Network empowers and unites people and communities to protect and restore rivers and other waters that sustain all life. It envisions a future of clean and ample water for people and nature, where local caretakers are well-equipped, effective, and courageous champions for our rivers.

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