Rich Bowers to Retire

Dear Friends of Whatcom Land Trust,

It is with mixed feelings that I’m writing to announce that Rich Bowers, our Executive Director, has decided to retire as of February 15th 2020. Rich has done a great deal to move the Trust forward in pursuit of its Mission of land conservation and stewardship. He has also had great success in engaging the diverse community of Whatcom County in the work of the Land Trust. Today, we have more contributors and volunteers than ever before. With Rich’s leadership we are working closely with a host of local, State and Federal agencies, non-profit organizations, foundations, businesses and individuals. Rich excels as a community builder and has very effectively placed the Land Trust at the center of the growing conservation effort in Whatcom County and beyond.

When it comes to land conservation the Trust’s achievements under Rich’s four year stewardship have been many and varied.  Most notable are acquisition of the 1,400 acre Skookum Creek preserve, the Galbraith Mountain and Governor’s Point conservation easements, and properties on California Creek in the northwest region of the County. We have also acquired additional salmon habitat land along the Nooksack River’s south fork and conservation easements on several properties which now total 1,104 acres of farmland in partnership with Whatcom County’s Purchase of Development Rights Program.

Rich has been an excellent manager of our rapidly growing organization. He has built a remarkable, highly competent team to carry out the ongoing critical work of furthering our mission.  Following his lead, Land Trust staff approach their work with a clear-minded passion and spirit of collaboration with their fellow staff members, the board of directors and all our volunteers, and community partners.

Rich has worked hard, and successfully, to ensure that the Trust as an organization meets the highest standards in its operating practices by shepherding us through the re-accreditation process administered by the Land Trust Alliance as well as annual financial audits. He has worked closely with the board to keep the Trust operating within its budget while actively embracing important new conservation projects.

Rich will be stepping down when the Trust is at a high point in its thirty-five year history. The board was saddened when Rich told us that he is on the retirement path, yet we were not surprised. When Rich accepted the job at the end of 2015 he said that he was thinking of it as a five year commitment. We are also grateful that Rich has given us ample notice of his departure along with a comprehensive transition plan. We will use that plan and the guidance of a professional consultant to ensure that the leader we hire to fill Rich’s big shoes will be capable of stepping into the job smoothly. Such transitions are inevitable for organizations like the Land Trust and this one offers an opportunity to ensure our stability and continuing success for many years to come.

We anticipate advertising the job opening nationally. We also hope that you, our supporters, will spread the word. You can find job description and ad posted on the Land Trust’s website Applications will be accepted until October 11th. Interviews will take place in November. If all goes as planned the new person will start on the first of February 2020.

Stay tuned as we go through the process. When the time comes we will host a celebration of Rich’s leadership. And when we have chosen his successor we will offer multiple opportunities to meet and get to know that person.

Thank you,

Chris Moench, Board President

Read More News from Whatcom Land Trust