Nancy Colleton is CEC Specialty Group Leader for Environmental Information

Nancy Colleton is president of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies and executive director of the Alliance for Earth Observations. She is leading the Commission's efforts to draw attention to exciting resources for data and information about our changing planet.

IUCN CEC Specialty Group Leader for Environmental Information

Nancy Colleton has accepted CEC Chair Keith Wheeler's invitation to serve as Specialty Group Leader for Environmental Information. Nancy is president of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies and executive director of the Alliance for Earth Observations. She joined CEC three years ago and became more actively involved in October 2009 around several climate change and national security meetings.

Like all CEC members, Nancy is a volunteer, which is a role she values. “I think it is extremely important at a time such as this—when we must all work together to educate people about climate change and find solutions to this urgent global challenge—to volunteer my time to efforts such as those undertaken by IUCN CEC.  It is especially important to leverage investment in education products and the development and delivery of environmental information,” she says.

As the Specialty Group Leader for Environmental Information, Nancy has three goals: 

  1. To help make others aware of the vital information resources that exist, which will help us better manage our planet; 
  2. To draw attention to the need for improved and accessible data and information about our changing planet (e.g. precipitation forecasts, latest climate models);
  3. To draw attention to the important role citizens around the world can play in collecting information about our changing planet.

Nancy encourages CEC members to take an active role in accomplishing these goals. “I hope CEC members will join me in developing ideas and implementing strategies for making decision makers at all levels of society aware of the kinds of Earth and environmental-related information products that will allow us to better manage our lives, communities and business – as well as better respond to climate change.”

“I hope that CEC members will come forward with ideas for projects that engage the next generation in collecting data about planet and applying that information to better understand our future,” she says. Contact Nany Colleton via email at

Ms. Nancy Colleton is an internationally known and respected leader in implementing efforts to maximize the awareness, value, and use of Earth observations.  As President of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), a non-profit organization located in Arlington, Virginia, Ms. Colleton spearheads a wide variety of communication, education, and outreach activities to improve public appreciation of the important role that advancements in space and geospatial technologies play in our understanding of and response to global environmental changes, including climate change.
During her 25 years of experience in the areas of space and the environment, Ms. Colleton has worked vigorously with senior-level government and industry executives to call attention to the need for improved observations, monitoring, and delivery of Earth-related information products.  Through high-visibility meetings, networking, and congressional testimony, Ms. Colleton has highlighted the need to leverage U.S. investment in Earth observations to focus on the requirements of a growing, diverse, and more-demanding user community. 
She is a co-founder of the Alliance for Earth Observations—an informal confederation of industry, academic, and nongovernmental organizations that promotes the private sector’s involvement in the development, use, and integration of Earth observations.  Established late 2003, the Alliance has emerged as a leading private sector voice and technical resource for improved Earth observations.
Ms. Colleton considers her founding of the Thacher Scholarship —monetary awards made annually to a high school students illustrating the best use of space-based Earth observations for better understanding the changing planet -- one of her most important accomplishments. More than $30,000 has been awarded to 13 promising students in honor of former IGES board member Peter Shaw Thacher, founder and deputy executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme.   Dedicated to education, Ms. Colleton has also been instrumental in starting IGES’s children’s environmental art and photography contests. After more than 14 years of supporting these education efforts, IGES possesses one of the most beautiful and colorful collections of children’s environmental art

Committee and board affiliations include:

  • Member, Strategic Directions for the Geographical Sciences in the Next Decade, National Research Council
  • Co-Chair, Environmental Information Services Working Group (EISWG), Science Advisory Board (SAB), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
  • Board Member, The GeoEye Foundation 
  • Member, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) International Activities Committee
  • Member, Editorial Board, Imaging Notes Magazine 
  • International Program Committee, the American Astronautical Society (AAS) 
  • Member, Commission on Education and Communication, The World Conservation Union (IUCN)
  • Member, Industry Sub-Panel, Oceans Research & Resources Advisory Panel (ORRAP)
  • Member. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Environmental Outlook Outreach Group



Work area: 
Climate Change
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