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NMLC Board of Directors announces changes in leadership in 2023.

Dear Friends and Supporters,

On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of the New Mexico Land Conservancy (NMLC), we would like to inform you that, after nearly 19 years of service to the organization, Scott Wilber has announced that he will step down as NMLC’s Executive Director at the end of March 2023 (see separate letter from Scott).

Scott began his service with NMLC in 2004 shortly after the organization was founded, first as its Conservation Director and then as Executive Director beginning in 2006.  Under Scott’s leadership the organization has protected more than 655,000 acres through the creative and effective use of conservation easements throughout New Mexico and southeast Arizona, and raised over $50 million in public and private funding in support of this land conservation work.  He also helped secure over $4 million in assets for the organization, including the generous gift of the Petchesky Ranch (which now serves as NMLC’s headquarters in Santa Fe) and over $1.2 million for the organization’s easement stewardship fund.  In addition, Scott was actively involved in the 2008 expansion of the New Mexico Land Conservation Incentives Act, the 2010 passage of the Natural Heritage Conservation Act, and the appropriation of over $20 million in land conservation, wildlife enhancement and restoration funding through the state legislature between 2006 and 2010.  Recognizing his leadership qualities, Scott also served for 3 years on the Land Trust Alliance’s national policy council at the time when the land trust industry’s Standards and Practices were being developed and refined, and subsequently successfully guided NMLC through accreditations by the national Land Trust Accreditation Commission.

With Scott’s recent announcement of his pending departure, the Board of Directors has organized a committee for a national search given the importance of the Executive Director position and the dynamic potential of NMLC developed by Scott’s able leadership to date.  The search will begin in earnest later this fall.  In the meantime, Scott will continue to direct the day-to-day operations of the organization and will serve as an advisor to the search committee and Board during the executive recruitment process.  Although Scott’s ultimate departure will certainly be a loss and adjustment for the organization, it also presents an opportunity for new strategic thinking and continuing growth/development.  The organization is currently financially strong and well-respected, and we are confident that we will be able to navigate this transition and find the right person to lead the organization with the Board and staff’s continuing support.

Finally, we want to assure you that NMLC intends to proceed with a smooth transition supported by an outstanding staff and an engaged and thoughtful Board of Directors.  In addition, to ensure continuity at the Board leadership level, the Board recently named George Dennis as Chair-Elect with the intention that George will succeed Walter Stern as Chair during calendar year 2023.  Walter has served four years as Chair and will remain available to the Board as an advisor.  George, recently retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is an experienced conservation planner and wildlife manager who will continue the able and effective leadership of the Board.

Should you be interested in or have any questions about the organization and the executive recruitment/transition process, please feel free to contact any one of us.

Thank you for your support,

Walter E. Stern, Board Chair (

George Dennis, Board Chair-elect (2023) (

Scott Wilber, Executive Director (


Click the link below to read Scott Wilber’s retirement letter.

Scott Wilber’s Retirement Letter

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