The Stowe Land Trust Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Kristen Sharpless has taken the helm as Executive Director after the recent departure of Caitrin Maloney. A Vermont ecologist with more than ten years of experience in the conservation, education and nonprofit sectors, Kristen has served as SLT’s Conservation Program Manager since 2014. Kristen, a resident of Stowe, is also a member of the Snelling Center for Government’s Vermont Leadership Institute class of 2018.
“After conducting a national search process, the SLT board reached the unanimous conclusion that Kristen was far and away our first choice for the executive director position,” says Chess Brownell, the Land Trust’s Board chair. “She has the character, experience, and skills needed for the job. The board is confident that Kristen will provide a smooth transition in operation and oversight, and that SLT will thrive under her leadership. Increasingly, our work involves local, regional and statewide partnerships, and Kristen’s familiarity with these partners is a valuable asset to the organization.”
During her four year tenure as Conservation Program Manager, Kristen raised the efficiency and effectiveness of SLT’s Stewardship Program which oversees the care of our portfolio of 32 conserved properties. She also cultivated SLT’s Naturalist Program which now connects over 600 people each year - especially children - with Stowe’s outdoors through land-based education and volunteer activities. Kristen came to SLT from Audubon Vermont where she worked as part of a team to implement strategic regional conservation programs through the Forest Bird Initiative, including the Foresters for the Birds Project - an innovative and nationally-recognized conservation partnership.
A graduate of the University of Vermont’s Field Naturalist Program, Kristen has a deep appreciation for Vermont’s natural history, its communities, and the state’s working landscape. She has worked as a consulting ecologist and volunteer specializing in assisting municipalities with community-based town forest planning, as well as an educator engaging people of all ages in conservation education programs and projects.
“It is bittersweet to be leaving a job that I Iove, but I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to step into this new leadership role,” says Kristen. “I truly believe in the importance of SLT’s mission and in the power of our community to join together in doing the work of conservation in a manner that connects and endures. Together, I know we will continue to protect and care for the farm, forest and recreation lands that are most important to the Stowe community and the next generation.”
Stowe Land Trust is a member-supported, non-profit land conservation organization dedicated to the conservation of scenic, recreational, and productive farm and forest lands for the benefit of the greater Stowe community. Since 1987, SLT has conserved more than 3,500 acres of land in Stowe, Waterbury and Morrisville, including five properties that SLT owns and manages as community natural areas. By permanently protecting and caring for land, SLT strives to enhance community and ecological values including high-quality recreation, scenic beauty, a rural working landscape, and a local economy supported by the area's natural resources.