Pursuing opportunity in California
By Alissa Johnson
The Crested Butte Land Trust (CBLT) announced this week that executive director Ann Johnston is leaving the organization at the end of the month. Johnston will be pursuing an opportunity with a land trust in California, and the search for her replacement is underway.
According to Johnston, she’ll be headed to the Sonoma Land Trust in northern California, which provides the opportunity to work with a larger organization. The transition comes after more than 10 years with the local land trust.
“It has truly been an honor to serve as the executive director of the Land Trust. The landscape is beautiful; we all know that—it is what brings us here. I’m especially fond of the wetlands of the Slate River Valley—they frame the views of Paradise Divide and provide a home for one of my favorite species, the blue heron,” Johnston said.
“What I am most amazed by, though, is the big-heartedness of the people who live here, the landowners who generously conserve their land, the board members who so selflessly donate their time and resources, the residents, both full and part-time, who spiritedly drive us on, and the staff, who are great friends and smart professionals. They are all the champions of our environment and provide the resources for the Land Trust to do our work,” she continued.
In a press release, CBLT board president Kiley Flint said, “During Ann’s tenure, the Land Trust became a disciplined, mature organization whose excellence culminated in national accreditation. With the help of strong community support, many landscapes, ranches and trails were preserved under Ann’s leadership. We are not surprised that, with the vast experience and broad conservation skills Ann gained here, she was recruited to a larger organization.”
The board of directors has appointed CBLT stewardship director Danielle Beamer as the managing director during the transition. She has been with the organization for six years and worked closely with Johnston on many aspects of its mission.
According to Johnston, the board has been creating a transition plan for the last week or so and has already initiated a search for the new executive director. They are expected to receive plenty of qualified applications, and upcoming land projects will continue as well.
As Johnston prepares for her own transition, she admitted that it is too difficult to pick her favorite conservation projects from her tenure with the CBLT. There have been so many, and each has been meaningful in its own way.
“Truly for me, I really love that the Land Trust equally promotes the four tenants of its mission: protecting scenic views, wildlife habitat, working ranches, and providing recreational opportunities,” she said.
And as for her continued connection to the community, she said, “I’m hoping to have lots of visitors next mud season!”