The Tennessee River Gorge Trust has named a new executive director - Eliot Berz, who formerly served as TRGT’s conservation and access director. Over the past seven years with TRGT, Mr. Berz served in various roles including researcher and field technician, and business and access director. In his most recent role as conservation and access director, he conducted public access development from conception to final implementation, created conservation land management plans, and led avian research programs, among many other responsibilities.
“Eliot has been a vital part of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust for many years now,” said Scott Smith, TRGT board chair and First Horizon Bank treasury management sales officer. “As someone who knows the ins and outs of our organization and strongly advocates for conserving the Gorge for future generations, Eliot is a wonderful choice for the executive director and will lead our organization well in this new chapter.”
Mr. Berz spearheaded several projects for TRGT, including a bird reserach program where the team used wildlife tracking technology to connect migratory populations of birds in the gorge with their respective wintering grounds in the tropics. Additionally, he implemented a recreation management plan to create and manage public access to TRGT properties.
Mr. Berz said, “The mission of TRGT is near and dear to my heart and I am honored to lead the organization into our next chapter. We have the perfect team to accomplish our goals of maintaining the gorge’s wild character through land protection and restoration, using research to better understand the gorge, and connecting our community to this natural treasure.”
TRGT is also very thankful for the organization’s previous executive director, Rick Huffines, who grew the organization’s capabilities and delivered impactful conservation and community engagement work, it was stated.
Mr. Berz graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in environment and sustainability from Sewanee: The University of the South. He went on to receive a Master of Science in environmental science. His involvement in the Chattanooga community includes serving on the steering committee for the Tennessee Riverline’s Chattanooga leadership team and his membership with Thrive Regional Partnership’s natural treasures alliance.