Land Trust of Virginia (LTV) is pleased to announce several staffing changes. Executive Director, Sally Price who joined the organization in 2017, plans to retire at the end of 2022 and Ashton Cole, LTV’s Director of Conservation and Stewardship, will step into her place.
“I have enjoyed every minute of my time with LTV and I am confident in my departure knowing that it is in very capable hands with Ashton,” said Price.
Over the last five years, Price has led LTV through a period of strong growth across all facets of the organization. The staff has grown from three to 10 members with a diversified skillset to better carry out our mission to preserve open space. Price also developed LTV’s signature event, Bike the Gravel: Tour de Conservation Easement. Now in its 5th year, this event welcomes nearly 500 cyclists on a special one-day-only tour along beautiful rural roads and through numerous conserved properties to educate the participants and highlight the importance of conservation easements in preserving our farms, forests, and historic resources. Price successfully led the organization through the pandemic with creativity that inspired the community to continue their support, in some ways better than ever before. “Even as we canceled our biggest annual fundraising events, our donors remained connected and generous,” Price said.
“Sally has been a wonderful addition to LTV and we wish her all the best in her retirement,” said Childs Burden, chairman of the LTV Board of Directors. “She came to us with immense knowledge about nonprofit structure and helped us to develop a team that is highly professional and dedicated to our mission, along with boosting our fundraising efforts to improve our organization’s financial health.”
It was a natural decision to promote Ashton Cole to the Executive Director role following Price’s announcement.
“We are an organization that holds conservation easements and so it seems more than appropriate that the person in charge of leading LTV into a period of easement expansion is our easement expert,” said Price. “Plus, the hires of the past five years have built the organization’s infrastructure so that we are primed for being capable of doubling the number of easements we do each year.”
As LTV’s longest tenured employee, Cole has a wealth of knowledge about the history of LTV and has played a role in all aspects of its work. Ashton started as a recent college graduate in 2007 as LTV’s Stewardship Coordinator. In 2016, he was promoted to Director of Conservation and Stewardship and is responsible for having negotiated and drafted over 75 of the 220 easements LTV currently holds. This is a huge testament to his knowledge of, and dedication to, land conservation and LTV. Ashton is known statewide and highly regarded by the professionals who work with landowners on their conservation easements. In addition, he was a part of LTV’s accreditation by the Land Trust Alliance’s Accreditation Commission in 2009 and renewals of their accredited status in 2014 and 2019.
Price and Cole, along with the Board of Directors, have carefully outlined a transition plan to ensure that going forward, our landowners, conservation partners, and supporters will receive the same level of dedication and service to protecting our natural and historic resources. In Cole’s place, Amanda Scheps has been hired as LTV’s new Director of Conservation. Amanda has spent 15 years working with both the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and Department of Forestry in their easement and stewardship programs. Her expertise will ensure LTV continues to produce high-quality easements as Cole oversees additional responsibilities as Executive Director.
“In my 15 years with LTV, I have watched the organization grow from a small local conservation group to an accredited land trust with a strong reputation in the conservation community,” said Cole. “I credit a lot of that to Sally and her work over the past five years and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish in my new role as Executive Director. I am very thankful to our Board and the rest of the staff for all their support and I feel confident we have an excellent team in place. We will continue our high-quality work, while also increasing the pace of our conservation efforts in the face of ever-increasing development pressure.”
For more information about our work, please visit http://www.landtrustva.org.