New Executive Director Appointed
David McCarthy appointed Executive Director of the Wilton Land Conservation Trust
The Wilton Land Conservation Trust is pleased to announce the appointment of David E. McCarthy as its new Executive Director. A native Nutmegger, David brings enthusiasm, energy, experience, and a passion for building community and connecting people with nature. Listening is key," he said. "I'm new to the community, eager to listen to folks, and to get to know the Town so we can develop the types of educational, recreational, and community enrichment programs that it would like to see more of," he said. "We want to create memorable experiences," he added.
“The Board of Trustees of the WLCT is thrilled to add someone with David's skills, education and enthusiasm to our team. His passion for the natural world will be an asset to all of Wilton. We would also like to thank Donna Merrill, our first ever Executive Director, for her three years of hard work. She took us to a new and higher level and we are sure David will do the same,” says Peter W. Gaboriault, Board President.
David earned his Master's of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. His graduate work concentrated on forestry, natural resource management, climate change adaptation, and policy, as well as the practice of values-based communication and resilience. He sits on the Board of Directors for the South West Regional Conservation District and comes to us from the Town of Branford, CT, where he worked for the Department of Inland Wetlands and Natural Resources. There, he empowered community conservation, protected wetlands through land use regulation, served as the Town's Tree Warden, established the Town's commitment to Endangered Species Day, and advanced the Town's application for the Sustainable CT certificate program.
"Becoming the Executive Director of the Wilton Land Conservation Trust is a dream come true, I'm excited to embark on a new journey with the Wilton community," he said. The newcomer has over a decade of experience working with nonprofits in an environmental capacity. "I'm looking forward to bringing my passion, experience, and fresh perspective to WLCT's dedicated Board of Trustees. Together, we will advance environmental stewardship, expand educational programs, and develop new and exciting initiatives that will enhance the greater Wilton community," he said.
David brings experience from Yale University's Urban Resources Initiative (a nonprofit that's engaged in environmental education, community forestry, and capacity building). There, he fostered community-based stewardship with diverse neighborhood groups and coached high school interns as part of a street tree planting program that provides kids with marketable job skills and leadership training. As the lead writer and graphic designer for Yale Climate Connections (a multimedia web-based environmental journal and radio show), he defined the organization's brand, tone, and visual identity through the development and management of diverse narratives for social media.
Since its establishment in 1964, the Wilton Land Conservation Trust has remained true to its mission: protecting nature and preventing the loss of Wilton's unique natural, scenic, historical, and recreational values. Through ownership and conservation easements, it is responsible for preserving and protecting about 830-acres.
This year, the WLCT purchased 183 Ridgefield Road to preserve it as open space. This newly protected 13-acre haven provides habitat for a variety of species in decline, maintains the feeling of Wilton's rural past, and will soon be home to new exhibits, more trails, and a wide range of new and exciting educational programs that will benefit Wilton, and beyond. The nonprofit's efforts are made possible by the leadership of its all-volunteer Board of Trustees, the dedication of its interns and volunteers, and through the generous support of local citizens, primarily through membership donations.
David has written policy for the International Union for Conservation of Nature out of Washington, DC, built governmental relations for the Secretariat of the Regional Environmental Program in Apia, Samoa, collaborated on climate change adaptation projects for PCI Media Impact in NYC, NY, supported sustainability initiatives for small island developing states as part of a coastal resilience fellowship with the Global Island Partnership, farmed organic vegetables on once-vacant lots throughout New Haven to provide food for the city’s most vulnerable families, and taught English in Beijing, China.
“The Board of Trustees are a powerhouse" David exclaimed. "The WLCT is growing, taking on cutting-edge initiatives, and moving in new directions," David explained. "What an exciting time for the Wilton community," he added.
He’s brought home best practices in community-based forestry from the Black Forest, where he studied silviculture through an immersion program in partnership with the Technical University of Munich, Germany. He enjoys world travel, astronomy, photography, and spending time outdoors with his wife Kelly, and two-year-old daughter, Clara.
"I have an open-door policy, and I want to hear from you," he said. David is looking forward to creating an even more environmentally conscious Wilton, getting more people excited about nature, and fulfilling WLCT's mission of conserving and protecting land for future generations to enjoy.