Interested in all the great resources discussed at HHLT's Healthy Yards, Healthy Woods Sustainability Forum?
Visit our Sustainability Forum page for links and downloads.
Take-a-hike! is back!
Spring has sprung and that means another great HHLT Take-a-Hike! season. You can find the complete schedule here. Please remember, all hikes require pre-registration and some fill up very fast -- register early. See you on the trails!
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.
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.
Know 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 while they last...
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.