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Which former board member now is deputy executive director of the Pacific Whale Foundation?

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Liz Petterson was appointed as deputy executive director of the Pacific Whale Foundation. Photo Courtesy: PWF

The ocean conservation nonprofit Pacific Whale Foundation has appointed Liz Petterson, a former board member, as its new deputy executive director. She previously served as the executive director of the Arizona Land and Water Trust.

Petterson will be responsible for overseeing and advancing the foundation’s vital research, education and conservation programs. She also will oversee the foundation’s advocacy efforts by providing research findings to inform legislative policy. 

During her more than a year serving on the Pacific Whale Foundation Board, Petterson became familiar with the organization’s mission to protect the ocean through science and advocacy and to inspire environmental stewardship. While leading the Arizona Land and Water Trust, she implemented a similar deputy executive director position.


“It’s an effective way to enable executive directors to do their job by freeing them up from administrative tasks and allowing them to focus on the bigger picture, whether that’s strengthening relationships with donors or devising fundraising strategies,” Petterson said. “I look forward to applying my nonprofit management experience to assist in the continued development of PWF’s programs. I have a real passion for the organization’s mission and a deep love for the world’s ocean. Being able to go to work every day to help that ecosystem is just a dream.”

Petterson holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona, with a supplemental study in the areas of Wildlife Biology and Microbiology.

Petterson continued her studies in Maine, where she spent 10 years working in marine research and education. Her educational background and extensive experience in the marine research field will help direct the Pacific Whale Foundation’s myriad programs and initiatives designed to educate the public on marine environments and wildlife.


She also has established relationships with a variety of government agencies and foundations, and skills in navigating and developing new connections, grant writing, fundraising and development, project management and other abilities conducive to nonprofit solvency.

“Liz’s experience and talent can only be matched by her dedication and passion for marine mammal conservation,” said Kristie Wrigglesworth, executive director at the Pacific Whale Foundation. “She will play a big part in the future growth and accomplishment of PWF’s strategic plan to address the five major threats to whales and dolphins around the world: bycatch, vessel collisions with marine animals, marine plastic pollution, unsustainable tourism and climate change.”



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