About Nancy's Work

Dr. Nancy Steele focuses her work on the protection and conservation of land and water, striving always to have a direct positive impact on nature and humanity. She is a professional executive manager who has founded and led nonprofits and served on boards of directors. Endlessly curious, she applies a scientists mind to answering questions that result in turning data into actionable knowledge resulting in good policies and practices.

Nancy served as Executive Director of Friends of the Verde River in Arizona from 2018 – 2024 and Council for Watershed Health in Los Angeles from 2005 – 2015, along with serving in interim executive director positions from 2016 – 2017. She founded the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy in 2000 and served as its President/CEO from 2000 – 2011, and as its Director of Conservation in 2017. 

She has served on multiple boards of directors, including Northern Arizona Audubon Society (current), Infrastructure Funding Alliance (current), Neighborhood Unitarian Universality Church of Pasadena, Marine Conservation Research Institute, and Southern California Cooperative Warehouse.

From 1991 through 2005, Nancy working in various California environmental and health agencies, where she focused on reducing the environmental and health impacts of pollution, including writing the first-in-the-nation rules to reduce diesel emissions from in-use heavy-duty trucks and buses, and rulemaking to reduce environmental lead poisoning. She developed California policies that continue to protect the environment. She served as the Air Resources Board Deputy Ombudsman from 1997-1999. 

Nancy is a Flinn-Brown fellow of the nonpartisan Arizona Center for Civic Leadership; a Stanton Fellow of the Durfee Foundation; and a Switzer Fellow of the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation. She received the "Women in Business" award in 2010 from the 21st Senate and 44th Assembly Districts. She and her husband, Bruce, have run a beekeeping business for since 1980. Nancy earned her doctorate in environmental science and engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles; her M.S. from Arizona State University; and her A.B. from Occidental College.