Margaret Newbold honored with the Order of the Longleaf Pine

Conservation Trust for North Carolina congratulates Margaret Newbold, former Senior Associate, who was recently honored with the Order of the Longleaf Pine by the Governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper in appreciation for more than 20 years of exemplary service for land conservation through her work with the Conservation Trust for North Carolina.

Margaret has forged partnerships across the state to support the growth and development of local land trusts. She focused on diversifying the land trust community and making conservation more inclusive through CTNC’s comprehensive diversity and equity program, which included an internship program, workshops and trainings, and small grants. Margaret’s passion, expertise, guidance, and commitment to partnerships has led to North Carolina’s land trusts, other conservation organizations, and local communities across our state protecting and elevating the importance of our natural and cultural treasures.

During her tenure, CTNC was able to conserve 34,500 acres of land along the Blue Ridge Parkway, support local land trusts with $15.05 million in low-interest loans leveraging protection of $46.6 million in land value, and connect hundreds of young people from diverse backgrounds to careers in conservation through the Diversity in Conservation Internship Program, NC Youth Conservation Corps, and CTNC AmeriCorps.

Thanks to Margaret, CTNC is recognized as a national land trust leader tackling issues related to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion seeking to build a conservation sector that represents all of North Carolina’s communities. Margaret has enabled CTNC to thrive as a leader because of the strong foundation she helped to build. Margaret’s impressive legacy for land and communities in NC will live on for generations to come.

“I feel strongly that the conservation sector must work closely with the community economic development sector to chart a course that fosters healthy, whole communities, as land is the foundation of this work and the common ground we all share,” said Margaret. “I am filled with gratitude to be recognized with this incredible honor and join the ranks of Order recipients who came before me. I accept this award on behalf of all my partners and colleagues who have worked with me to conserve our land for the enjoyment of all.”

Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Chief Deputy Secretary Reid Wilson presented Margaret with this distinguished award on behalf of the Governor. A group of Margaret’s friends, family, and colleagues gathered for the celebration at Irvin Farm, a Triangle Land Conservancy property.

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is among the most prestigious awards presented by the Governor of North Carolina. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is presented to individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary service to the state. Margaret joins an esteemed group of award winners, which includes Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, and fellow land trust staff colleague Janice Allen of the Coastal Land Trust.

In addition to the Order, Margaret was also named Land Conservationist of the Year during the North Carolina Wildlife Federation 55th Annual Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards.

Margaret Newbold Retires After 20 Years of Service

It is with great pride but also a bit of sadness that CTNC announces the retirement of Margaret Newbold, Senior Associate. Margaret joined CTNC in 1997. We are grateful for Margaret’s 20 years of dedicated service to CTNC, the NC Land Trust Council, and the greater conservation community. She has been a driving force for significant transformation in land conservation.

With Margaret’s passion, expertise, guidance, and commitment to partnerships, CTNC has become a leader on emerging issues facing land trusts, conservation organizations, and local communities across our state. During her tenure, CTNC was able to conserve 34,500 acres of land along the Blue Ridge Parkway, support local land trusts with $15.05 million in low-interest loans leveraging protection of $46.6 million in land value, and connect hundreds of young people from diverse backgrounds to careers in conservation through the Diversity in Conservation Internship Program, NC Youth Conservation Corps, and CTNC AmeriCorps.

“We are incredibly lucky to have been the beneficiaries of Margaret’s passion for the outdoors, her generous spirit and her deep commitment to the land. Her imprint on the conservation community will be felt for generations,” said Kelley Russell, CTNC Board President.

“CTNC is recognized as a national land trust leader tackling issues related to racial diversity, equity, and inclusion seeking to build a conservation sector that represents all of North Carolina’s communities,” said Executive Director Chris Canfield. “I am grateful to Margaret for all she has achieved and am assured CTNC will continue to thrive as a leader because of the strong foundation she helped to build.”

“I am so thankful to have been able to work with and learn from so many champions for land conservation and community economic development,” said Margaret. “The conservation landscape has evolved significantly and as we face new challenges, I am excited to pass the torch to smart, new leaders who will continue the important work that will be required to protect North Carolina’s most unique and special places for future generations.”

Newbold added, “As we tackle new challenges in a changing landscape, the conservation sector must work more closely with the community economic development sector to chart a course that fosters healthy, whole communities. Land is the foundation of this work and the common ground we all share and it connects us all.”

She continued, “I feel so lucky to have been able to do what I love and work with so many committed and dedicated individuals throughout the years. Getting out and enjoying nature has always been what renews my spirit. Being able to do that and encourage others to experience nature in their own way has been a great gift. We all have our own unique relationship with the natural world around us – as a hiker, farmer, fisherman, artist, or just for solace. I believe the key is valuing and learning from everyone’s experience and making sure we have places to support all our needs in the future.”

The CTNC Board of Directors and staff extend our deepest gratitude to Margaret for her years of service and wish her many new, fun adventures.

Chris Canfield Named New CTNC Executive Director

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina is excited to announce Chris Canfield as its new Executive Director. Chris has a deep history of collaboration with the land trust community across North Carolina and the country. He is committed to solutions that honor complex relationships, balancing conservation and economic needs. Chris has the vision and leadership to serve as a voice for the 23 NC land trust partners as we play a growing role in conservation policies and issues across North Carolina.

CTNC selected Chris through a nationwide hiring search led by moss+ross, a triangle-based search firm.

“We could not be more excited with the hiring of Chris given his talent, his commitment to our core mission, and his extensive knowledge of our state and the issues it now faces,” said CTNC Board President Ray Owens. “With his help, and with that of our staff and dedicated donors, we are well-positioned to meet the challenges of conserving our land and protecting the quality of our water.”

“CTNC plays a pivotal role in the history of North Carolina’s conservation movement and must continue to lead and serve as the challenges of our state change,” said CTNC Executive Director Chris Canfield. “I am proud to guide the CTNC team and further the organization’s commitment to land conservation, community engagement, and expanding the diversity of those working in the conservation field.

Canfield added, “It’s a privilege and tremendous opportunity to continue CTNC’s leadership. Together, we can create a future where every North Carolinian, regardless of background or geography, has access to clean water, healthy air, local foods, and open spaces where they can connect with nature.”

Before joining CTNC, Chris worked with the National Audubon Society for 17 years as the executive director of Audubon North Carolina and VP for the Gulf and Mississippi Flyway. Chris led Audubon’s response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster where he successfully implemented Gulf-wide conservation efforts in concert with federal and state agencies, local communities, land trusts, and national funders. In 2009 he was awarded the Charles H. Callison Award, Audubon’s highest recognition for staff conservation achievement.

Chris graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Birmingham-Southern College where he earned a B.A. in mathematics. He earned a M.Phil. in 20th-century English literature from the University of Oxford where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He served on the Advisory Board of the NC State University Natural Resources Leadership Institute and was a member of the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition Steering Committee in Asheville.

A long-time North Carolina resident, Chris lives in Pittsboro with his wife, Kate. He will join the CTNC team on Monday, July 31.

CTNC Thanks Melanie Allen for Six Years of Leadership and Service

Diversity Program Director Melanie Allen has accepted a position with the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation where she will serve nonprofit organizations as a network officer. In this role, Melanie will work in eleven southern states to alleviate poverty and increase social and economic justice.

CTNC thanks Melanie for six years of leadership and service to the NC land trust community.

During her tenure, Melanie developed curricula to help land trusts identify and dismantle systemic inequality in the conservation sector. She developed programs to bring conservation resources and tools to rural areas to help families create wills, access legal services, retain land assets, and make them profitable. Under her leadership, the Diversity in Conservation Internship Program has connected nearly 100 students from diverse backgrounds to the conservation sector through paid summer internships, creating an employment pathway to develop future leaders.

“Melanie’s contributions to CTNC and the land trust community will have a lasting impact ensuring the conservation community fully represents and engages all North Carolinians,” said Margaret Newbold, CTNC interim executive director. “Because of her vision and dedication, CTNC is more attuned to the history of land ownership, land theft, and land loss, and will continue to be innovative and intentional in finding ways to lead the conversation on what it means to be equitable and diverse in conservation.”

“I’m proud of the work we’ve done together to increase understanding of and commitment to diversity and equity at CTNC and in the broader land trust community,” said Melanie Allen. “Land trusts have invited me to their board rooms, staff trainings and some of our state’s most beautiful places. It has been a privilege to work with each of them, and I plan to continue supporting this important work as a donor and volunteer in the future.”

We extend our deepest gratitude to Melanie for her commitment to land conservation and all she accomplished for CTNC, and we wish her well as she transitions to this new role at the Babcock Foundation.

Melanie will continue to serve on the board of directors of the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust. CTNC will continue to serve as a national leader championing equity and diversity in conservation and identifying pathways to engage every community in our mission to protect North Carolina’s natural areas and connect all people to the outdoors.

For questions, contact Communications and Marketing Director Mary Alice Holley at 919-828-4199 x 17.

CTNC Board of Directors Extends Heartfelt Thanks to Departing Executive Director Reid Wilson

On January 19 North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced his appointment of CTNC’s executive director, Reid Wilson, to be Chief Deputy Secretary of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The Board thanks Reid for 14 years of leadership and service to CTNC and the NC land trust community.

“On behalf of the Board, we are proud that Reid was recognized by the Governor for such a position of honor at a critical time for our state,” said CTNC Board President Ray Owens. “Reid’s distinguished career in conservation, his strategic mind, his ability to listen, and his passion for conservation issues is exactly what our state needs. He has the qualities and skills necessary to help lead the department and protect North Carolina’s natural resources for the health of all citizens.”

During Reid’s tenure, CTNC conserved thousands of acres along the Blue Ridge Parkway, dramatically boosted financial support and assistance to 24 local land trusts, built diversity and inclusion into its work, and created an Emerging Leaders program (including Diversity in Conservation internships, NC Youth Conservation Corps and AmeriCorps) to cultivate the next generation of conservation leaders and supporters.

Reid’s achievements will have a lasting impact on the conservation community. CTNC has built a strong foundation to continue working to ensure Blue Ridge Parkway vistas are protected, more families have access to parks and natural areas, and natural lands are protected for open space, fresh local foods,  and clean drinking water for generations.

“It’s an exciting time to join the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to protect, enhance and promote the state’s diverse natural and cultural resources for the benefit of public health, quality of life, and economic development,” Reid said. “Having said that, I have mixed emotions because I will miss my CTNC family – tremendous board, talented staff, and committed supporters.  Fortunately, our paths will continue to cross.  So much important and urgent work lies ahead for CTNC, and I am confident that the organization will continue to grow, innovate, thrive, and lead.”

We extend our deepest gratitude for Reid’s commitment to land conservation and all he accomplished for CTNC, and we wish him well as he transitions to this new role within the Cooper administration.

Associate Director Margaret Newbold will serve as CTNC’s interim executive director. Margaret’s experience and love for the organization make her an invaluable asset during this transition. With Margaret’s leadership, our talented staff, and dedicated supporters like you, CTNC will continue to serve as a national leader in land protection, providing assistance to land trusts, connecting young people to nature, and championing equity and diversity in conservation.

The CTNC Board has launched a job search for a permanent executive director. We are confident we will find someone well-equipped to lead CTNC and help achieve our vision for growth. For questions, contact Communications and Marketing Director Mary Alice Holley at 919-864-0428.

Melanie Allen named Audubon Toyota TogetherGreen Fellow

After a competitive nationwide selection process, Melanie Allen, CTNC’s Conservation and Diversity Coordinator, has received a fellowship award to initiate a project that works to bridge the gap between limited resource landowners and conservation professionals. This work will build upon the work CTNC is doing with the North Carolina Farm Turnaround Team, which meets with family farmers at the kitchen table to help identify and correct deficiencies and inefficiencies in their land management operation, and provide short term and long term strategies for turning things around.

TogetherGreen, a conservation initiative of the National Audubon Society and Toyota, selects 40 high-potential local leaders annually to receive a $10,000 grant. With the funds, Fellows conduct community projects to engage diverse audiences in habitat, water, or energy conservation. In addition to receiving support launching their conservation initiatives, the Fellows also benefit from specialized training and the opportunity to become part of an exciting alumni network of conservation professionals.

Learn more HERE about CTNC’s support to limited resource and minority landowners.

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