Direct phone: 231.344.1006
Email: derek(at)

Derek Shiels began work as the Conservancy’s Conservation Easement Specialist in May 2014 and transitioned to Stewardship Director in 2017. The stewardship staff oversee the wise care of LTC’s working forest lands and nature preserves and the monitoring of each conservation easement. A native of Rockford, Michigan, Derek spent his childhood exploring a large parcel of wild land right near his home, prompting an early desire for a career in the outdoors. Derek spent a semester in Wyoming with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), holds a B.S. in Natural Resource Management from Grand Valley State University, a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science from Taylor University, and a Master’s in Biology from Central Michigan University with an emphasis in Plant Systematics. He spent two years in Missouri working for the Missouri Department of Conservation as a cave biology technician monitoring endangered gray bats and crawling, canoeing, and rappelling into caves to document other cave life. Before coming to LTC, he worked with the Leelanau Conservancy’s Invasive Species Team. Derek, his wife Adrienne, daughter Ayla, and son Siah make their home in Petoskey. “We have found our place—the views, the people, the nature—we love getting to explore northern Michigan and call it home.”