HHLT Selects Michelle Smith as Next Executive Director
The Hudson Highlands Land Trust is pleased to announce the selection of Michelle Smith as its next Executive Director. A resident of Philipstown, Michelle has been active in the Highlands since moving to the Village of Cold Spring in 2010, and joined HHLT’s Board of Directors in January 2014. Michelle will succeed Andy Chmar, who will complete his tenure with the organization at the end of June, after serving as Executive Director for 12 years. Michelle will begin working with the HHLT staff as early as March. This timeline will enable HHLT to carry out a seamless and comprehensive transition before Andy’s July 1 retirement date.
“Michelle combines extraordinary credentials with a deep commitment to both our organization and our region,” said HHLT Board Chair Nancy Berner. “I can’t imagine a better person to lead us at this time in our mission to protect the Highlands.”
Michelle comes to HHLT after a successful career in financial services, most recently as a Managing Director in the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs & Co. She has served in leadership roles with the Sierra Club and Georgia ForestWatch, and currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries. She hails from Australia, and has made her home in the United States since 1994.
In addition to serving on HHLT’s board, and chairing its Natural Resources Committee, Michelle has been involved in the Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail planning process and is one of the founders of Renewable Highlands, a grassroots group that is working to bring renewable energy alternatives to the residents of the Hudson Highlands.
Outgoing Executive Director Andy Chmar said, “Michelle has shown a personal interest in this region through her investment of time and energy over many years. I am confident that HHLT will thrive under her leadership. I look forward to working with her over the next several months to ensure a smooth transition.”
“I am equally excited by the opportunities and challenges that face me in my new role at the Land Trust,” said Michelle. “I look forward to working with this exceptional staff and board, our public officials, other regional and national conservation organizations, and, most importantly, the residents of the Hudson Highlands. This is a critical time for us to work together to preserve the character and vitality of this region.”
Stop by the Winter Carnival on February 6th or one of HHLT's other upcoming events this spring to meet Michelle in person.
Join us at the 3rd annual Philipstown Winter Carnival on Saturday, Feb. 6th
HHLT is hosting the 3rd Annual Philipstown Winter Carnival in collaboration with Philipstown Recreation Department and Friends of Philipstown Recreation on Saturday, February 6th. This FREE community event will take place on the grounds of Winter Hill from 1pm - 5pm and at the Philipstown Recreation Center from 4pm - 8pm. Both locations are in Garrison, NY.
Each location will host its own unique set of weather-appropriate activities and there will be a shuttle bus provided to move guests easily between locations, and to overflow parking at the Garrison School. There will be food available for purchase at both sites and a raffle of great prizes from local area businesses. Barring a blizzard, the event will take place and activites will shift to suit weather conditions. For more information, please visit: www.philipstownwintercarnival.com. THINK SNOW!!!!!!
HHLT is HIring . . .
Full-time Conservation Stewardship Manager -- The Hudson Highlands Land Trust (HHLT) is seeking a bright, enthusiastic individual to join our close-knit team of professionals. Reporting to and working closely with the Director of Land Conservation, the Conservation Stewardship Manager is responsible for HHLT’s conservation easement and fee land stewardship program, serves as the primary contact for the Land Trust’s natural resource protection programs, manages a wide range of GIS mapping projects, assists local municipalities with conservation planning, and participates in organizational outreach.
HHLT's Proposal to the Garrison Union Free School District Board of Education
On May 20, 2015, Andy Chmar, HHLT's Executive Director, made a presentation regarding the conservation of the Garrison School Forest to the GUFS Board of Education at their regular meeting. While about two dozen residents attended the meeting, several people have expressed interest in seeing the slides from the presentation. They are available here, along with a map, and an informational document that lays out the details and answers some questions related to the proposal that was prepared independantly by a Garrison School parent, Jill Corson Lake, who is interested in the project. Any Garrison School District residents wishing for more information on this proposal should feel free to contact the Land Trust. We are happy to answer questions.
Good news for conservation: Senate passes legislation that makes federal tax incentive for conservation easement donations permanent
In a strong bipartisan action, the Senate voted 65-33 on December 18th to pass the bill that will make the tax incentive for conservation easement donations permanent. The day before, the House passed the bill with a vote of 318-109. This legislation represents a huge win for conservation, for landowners and for the land trust community. Once signed into law, the incentive will be applied retroactively to start Jan. 1, 2015.
The vote also reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund for three years and increased its funding from $306 million last year to $450 million this year.
Thank you to all who reached out to legislators to educate them about both the importance of this incentive and the critical role that land trusts play in communities across the country. And thank you to all those on Capitol Hill who are champions of conservation and this legislation.
If you love someone who loves the highlands. . . we have the perfect gift!
Looking for a gift for someone special? Or maybe you just want to treat yourself to something unique? Your search is over! Connecting: Celebrating the People and Places of the Hudson Highlands is the perfect gift for anyone who loves the Hudson Highlands. And, your purchase directly supports HHLT's work, ensuring that future generations will enjoy connections to the special places photographed in this beautiful book, just as we do now. It is truly the gift that gives twice! Priced at $85/book, it is available at Boscobel, Garrison Cafe, Putnam History Museum, Jones Farm, Hudson Highlands Nature Museum and Storm King Adventure Tours or at HHLT's online store.
Signed Copies Available for a Limited Time
A limited supply of books signed by photographer Christine Ashburn is available at HHLT's office -- if you would like a signed copy, please act soon, these will only be available while they last.