Staff Spotlight: Susanna Summers - Columbia Land Trust

Columbia Land Trust is excited to welcome Susanna Summers to our Advancement team! Susanna and her family recently moved to Portland from San Diego so Susanna could begin her new role. They hit the ground running and have been enthusiastically exploring the diverse landscapes of the Northwest. “There is so much nature to see, we’ve only scratched the surface so far,” she said. “My young kids are struck by how green it is!”

Susanna has long had an affinity for nature and has strong family ties to conservation. She remembers a childhood trip to Muir Woods in Marin County, California that sparked a love of forests, and her great-grandparents were instrumental in conserving Saddle Rock in Big Sur, an iconic stretch of California coastline near McWay Falls.

As Columbia Land Trust’s Individual Giving Officer, Susanna is excited to build connections between supporters and the places that their gifts help conserve and care for. “I love learning what our donors care about and how their passions intersect with our work, whether it be maintaining access to recreation spaces or ensuring clean drinking water. I enjoy my role because I get to help people support issues and projects they care deeply about.”

Susanna has been working in philanthropy since 2011 and is deeply motivated by collaboration and the camaraderie of a shared mission. “The Land Trust couldn’t do what we do without our supporters, and our supporters can impact positive change at a much larger scale by giving to the Land Trust,” she said.

She has been busy visiting Land Trust sites to see conservation and restoration in action. When asked about her initial impressions, she reflected on Kerry Island in the Columbia River estuary, where seven years ago the Land Trust excavated channels and breached levees to reconnect 100 acres of land to the Columbia River floodplain. “Seeing photos of the site from before the restoration work and then experiencing the now active floodplain and lush wetland was magical,” she said. “I’d never been anywhere like it and I can’t wait to see how it continues to evolve.”

Susanna has also been immersing herself in the Land Trust’s diverse partnerships with landowners, corporations, government agencies, Tribal nations, individual donors, and philanthropic institutions, just to name a few. “The expertise of our staff is truly impressive,” she said, “and these strong partnerships empower the Land Trust to tackle complex projects and achieve impactful outcomes. I look forward to getting to know more Land Trust supporters and working together to accomplish transformational things!”

Read more about the work of Columbia Land Trust in our latest Fieldbook.