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AG Fall 2020

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Santa Lucia Conservancy announces new Executive Director Going on their eighth year, The Board of Trustees of Santa Lucia Conservancy announced the selection of Jamison Watts as the Con- servancy's new Executive Director. A California native, Watts has worked in land conservation in California for more than 15 years. Most recently, he served for seven years as Executive Director of the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT). Prior to that, he led the Northern California Regional Land Trust, based in Chico, for six years. Earlier, Watts served as a climbing ranger with the U.S. Forest Service on the ShastaTrinity National Forest and a biologist with the Cal- ifornia Department of Fish and Wildlife. Much of Watt's work at MALT involved inter- acting with stakeholders and owners of agricultural land in Marin County. He worked closely with more than 80 farming and ranching families, raising $26 million in one campaign to protect their working lands. Watts oversaw the acquisition of conservation easements on local farms and ranches to prevent development and keep the land in agricul- ture. During his tenure, the acreage conserved by MALT increased by 20 percent to more than 54,000 acres. Michael Sutton, Board chair of the Santa Lucia Conservancy, said, "We are really looking forward to working with Jamison and feel fortunate to have been able to attract such a quali\ ied and experienced land conservation professional as our new Executive Director." The Conservancy manages more than 10,000 acres of wildlands on the Santa Lucia Preserve above Carmel Valley, along with conserva- tion easements on another 8,000 acres of private lands within the 20,000- acre Preserve. "I couldn't be more excited to join the talented team at the Conservancy," commented Watts. "The Preserve serves as a model for how ecologically signi\ icant land can be protected forever through sustainable development. By incorpo- rating a rigorous scientific approach and working collaboratively with Preserve partners, landowners, and local agencies, the Conser- vancy has made significant contributions to the emerg- ing field of adaptive land management. This benefits not only the Preserve, but the entire Central Coast Region and greater con- servation community." The Conservancy, which was endowed 25 years ago by the founders of the Preserve, currently has nine staff. Its mission is to steward the unique natural resources of the Preserve and promote human settlement that is ecologically sensitive. The organization seeks to ad- vance understanding of the interfaces between people and the natural environment to benefit the community www.sambrailo.com A Legacy in Packaging since 1923 and society at large. Using the vast natural laboratory of the Preserve, the Conservan- cy works collaboratively with Preserve staff and residents on resource management, education, and research. The Conservancy's search committee worked closely with Koya Leadership Part- ners on a national search for the new Executive Director, reaching out to more than 500 people in the process. Preserve leaders, including Karen Baxter and Forrest Arthur, also helped interview candidates. Watts, his wife Sarah, and daughter Maggie visited the Preserve several times during the recruitment process. They plan to relo- cate to the Monterey Penin- sula this fall from Petaluma, CA. Watts will take up his new appointment by the end of November. At that time, Dr. Christy Wyckoff, who has served as Interim Execu- tive Director since March, will resume her duties as Deputy Director, leading the Conservancy's Science and Stewardship Programs. For more information, visit www. slconservancy.org. Jamison Watts web photo

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