U-M School for Environment and Sustainability alum Nat Lichten (MS ’15) was named associate program officer for Great Lakes and Environment. Lichten, who has seven years of experience in watershed management, green infrastructure, and water and environmental research, will work with current grantees, future applicants, and partners to help the Erb Family Foundation increase stewardship in the Great Lakes and the Clinton, Detroit, Huron, Rouge, and River Raisin watersheds in the Detroit area and the Bayfield watershed in Ontario. He will focus on cultivating and supporting grant applications to increase stewardship from residents, governments, and businesses to enhance and protect the Great Lakes ecosystem.
“We’re excited to have Nat join the Erb Family Foundation team,” said Neil Hawkins, president of the Foundation. “He has done extensive research on urban runoff and brings years of experience creating strategies to protect freshwater ecosystems, including the Great Lakes.”
Lichten earned a master’s degree in Environmental Policy and Planning and Conservation Ecology from SEAS. After graduation, he served as Professor Joan Nassauer's full-time research assistant on the Erb-funded Neighborhood Environment & Water research collaborations for Green Infrastructure (NEW-GI) project in Detroit from 2015 to 2017. He worked closely with SEAS landscape architecture students on the project.
He joins the Erb Family Foundation from the District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment where he worked to plan, finance, and evaluate green stormwater infrastructure implementation throughout Washington, DC. Lichten has also investigated the social impacts of green infrastructure in high-vacancy Detroit neighborhoods and developed tools to support municipal and utility investments in watershed health. He has a background in community organizing and brings experience integrating equity, community wellbeing, and climate adaptation into water resources management.