Happy New Year and new decade!
Rich Bowers and Gabe Epperson

Dear Friends, 

If you have been visiting our website or reading The Steward E-news, you will not be surprised to hear that I will retire as Executive Director of the Whatcom Land Trust in mid-February.

In October of 2015, the Land Trust was a well-respected organization that had permanently protected just under 20,000 acres of land. Four-plus years later, Whatcom Land Trust has continued to increase its reputation as a trusted community leader, grown as an organization in terms of strong staff and solid financial resources, and has significantly and visibly improved its communications with and involvement of this community of partners, volunteers and supporters. Land protection, central to our mission, has grown to more than 24,000 acres and I am very happy to have played a role in protecting and stewarding land here at home, and blessed to have been able to work with an incredible staff, Board of Directors, and community.

I am especially pleased to announce that the Land Trust is in good hands moving forward. The Board of Directors, after a nationwide search, selected Gabe Epperson as our new Executive Director effective February 1st. I have worked with Gabe daily over my entire time with the Trust, and he is well known to the Whatcom community as our Conservation Director for the past five years. All the Trust’s successes over that time have Gabe’s fingerprints all over them. Gabe brings a solid understanding of the Land Trust’s mission, priorities of acquisition and stewardship, a focus on transparency and community involvement, as well as a strong reputation for honesty and integrity. We are planning several activities to introduce Gabe to each of you and I hope you will join me in welcoming Gabe to his new leadership position.

As I reflect on my time with the Land Trust, I am honored to have been associated with such a great organization. And I am very grateful for the trust that each of you – our friends, partners and supporters – have put in me and the work we do. I have enjoyed many important relationships and learned so much, and it has been wonderful to advance a strong ethic of land here in the place I live and hope to never leave.

It has been empowering to see this community consistently step up to protect and steward land, and to assist the Land Trust with its work. Last year was especially meaningful as our community funded our largest campaign ever, a multi-generational vision to protect Skookum Creek. So wonderful to have friends and partners who have the foresight to appreciate this long-term investment, and who had the generosity and will to support it. Again, thank you!

As we launch into 2020, it is heartening to envision what the coming year and decade may bring because whatever we do, we will do it with you. And it is because of your strong support of our nearly-complete annual fall appeal that new land protections for the Lake Whatcom Watershed, upper Skookum Creek, Stewart Mountain, Governors Point, and a new California Creek Estuary Park in Birch Bay will move toward completion this year. If you haven’t participated yet, I hope you can give generously.

Thank you for all that you do to protect and steward land here in Whatcom County. Each of the many successes enjoyed by the Whatcom Land Trust over the past thirty-five years were made possible through the trust, hard work, and financial support provided by each of you. I look forward to witnessing the next generation of Whatcom Land Trust’s achievements with you by our side!
See you on the land!


Rich Bowers,
Excutive Director

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