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Leader announced for Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation

The Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced the appointment of Heidi Swank as the inaugural administrator for the new Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation.

As the first administrator, Swank will help build the new division with a focus on enhancing Nevada’s one-of-a-kind outdoor recreation experiences, through promoting a healthy and sustainable outdoor recreation economy that centers on protecting Nevada’s natural landscapes, the state said in a Nov. 18 news release.

“Swank is uniquely qualified to serve as the division’s first administrator, having served as a nonprofit leader, university professor, and member of the Nevada Legislature,” the release stated.

In 2013, Swank founded the Nevada Preservation Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on cultural and historic preservation.

As executive director, Swank built the Nevada Preservation Foundation from the ground up, created a business plan for the organization’s growth, developed initiatives and programs to engage the public, and obtained and administered public and private grants to support the nonprofit’s initiatives.

Swank was an anthropology professor at UNLV for eight years, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses, securing and managing research grants, and presenting original research across the globe.

Currently, Swank, D-Henderson, represents District 16 in the Nevada State Assembly and has served as chair of the Assembly Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Mining Committee, the General Government subcommittee of Ways and Means and the Interim Committee on Public Lands, as well as assistant majority whip.

During her four terms in the Assembly, Swank has championed the preservation of Nevada’s natural and cultural heritage, mitigating increasing threats from wildland fires, improving management of Nevada’s water resources and protecting Nevada’s wildlife and natural resources, the release stated.

“I am pleased to appoint Assemblywoman Swank as the first administrator of the department’s new Division of Outdoor Recreation,” Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Director Bradley Crowell said in a statement. “Heidi’s extensive professional and legislative experience, combined with her vision for the new division, are the perfect match to ensure outdoor recreational opportunities reach every corner of and every community in Nevada. I am grateful to bring Heidi’s talent and commitment to public service to a key leadership position in Nevada’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.”

Swank said in a statement: “I am excited and honored to be appointed to start Nevada’s first Division of Outdoor Recreation. Nevada has so many amazing outdoor opportunities and a variety of agencies and organizations doing work in this arena. I look forward to bringing all of these entities together to further Nevada’s outdoor recreation economy and get more Nevadans outdoors.”

As Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation administrator, Swank will focus on advancing Nevada’s immense variety of outdoor recreational opportunities to improve public health and wellness, educate Nevada’s youth, meet the needs of underserved populations and attract new recreation-oriented businesses.

She will lead the division’s collaboration with public, private and nonprofit organizations to promote outdoor recreation and business development “through advancing a vibrant recreation economy that centers on protecting our natural resources,” the release said.

The Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation “will help lead the way in demonstrating that economic growth and protecting our natural resources can go hand in hand,” the announcement stated.

Swank is expected to leave the Nevada Assembly to assume her new job, the department said.

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