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Articles by Deborah Knight

Deborah Knight is a freelance writer living in San Diego. She writes primarily about environmental topics.

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Joy Grant was born in a house with no indoor plumbing in the tiny Central American country of Belize. That was 52 years ago. Last year, she accepted one of the top positions at the U.S.-based Nature Conservancy. For both parties, the marriage is a calculated gamble.

Joy, oh, Joy.

Photo: Deborah Knight.

I spent a morning with Grant recently in Belize City. Her voice has a throaty roughness to it, softened by the Belizean Creole lilt. She founded Programme for Belize, a private nonprofit conservation organization that during her 12-year tenure acquired 300,000 acres of forest land — 4 percent of the country.

Impressive as that was, the organization operated in a country the size of Massachusetts with an annual budget of just $2.5 million. The Nature Conservancy, by contrast, is a $250 million-a-year organization, and Grant was brought on as program director for one-third of its global operations: the U.S. mid-Atlantic and southern states, the Carribean, and Central America. “I had to think about that,” she said, “moving onto the world stage.”

To show me her roots, Grant drove... Read more

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