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February 14, 2013

Otsego Land Trust to get new executive director

Cooperstown Crier

---- — The Otsego Land Trust recently announced that Virginia Kennedy will be joining the Land Trust team as its new executive director beginning in March.

According to a media release, her appointment is the culmination of a nationwide search that included more than 50 qualified applicants.

“Virginia brings passion for our mission, leadership, and vision. We welcome her and look forward to working together to connect people to the landscapes we are protecting,” Carla Hall-Friedman, who chaired the executive director search committee, said in the release.

Kennedy is outreach and development manager of the Delaware Highlands Conservancy in Hawley, Pa. and Bethel. The release said, at the conservancy, she led the successful restructuring of all outreach and communication programs, enhanced the conservancy’s position with landowners and in the community, increased organizational fundraising and managed the conservancy’s successful merger with another environmental nonprofit. Previously, Kennedy taught high school and college-level English. She is a published writer who holds an master’s degree in English from Montclair State University and a doctorate in English and American Indian Studies from Cornell University, where her research and writing focused on environmental ethics.

The release said Kennedy comes to Otsego Land Trust with a passion for land protection and for assuring that land trusts will play an important role in helping communities make the vital connection between strong locally sustainable economies and protecting healthy land and water.

Kennedy said she is truly excited to be joining a dynamic organization such as the Otsego Land Trust.   

“Land trusts play a vital role in communities all over America, protecting healthy lands and clean water, and connecting people to the importance of conservation. Otsego Land Trust has done an outstanding job in both land protection and education. I’m honored to join this dedicated team and contribute to its growing success,” she said in the release.

This past year was the most productive in Otsego Land Trust’s 25 year history, the Land Trust said. Milestones included continued development of the Oaks Creek Blue Way, the purchase of the iconic Deowongo Island in Canadarago Lake, grants from diverse funding sources including the Royal Bank of Canada and the Chesapeake Conservancy. And in 2012, Otsego Land Trust set a record by protecting nearly 2,000 additional acres that are now added to its growing portfolio of protected land.

“As we head into 2013, we have abundant opportunities before us and look forward to continuing the momentum of the past several years,” Board Chairman Harry Levine said in the release.

An open house and reception to welcome Kennedy to the community will be planned for March.

Otsego Land Trust has protected nearly 9,000 acres in the Otsego Region, which includes southern Herkimer, Schoharie and northern Delaware counties. It is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect lands and waters of significant scenic, historic, and natural value, including working forests and farmland. For more information on conservation easements and Otsego Land Trust, visit or call 547-2236.