Jonathan Wiesner, Chairman of the Bedford Hill based Westchester Land Trust (WLT) Board of Directors, announced today that Candace Schafer, the organization’s Executive Director since 2010, has stepped down from her professional position and will join the organization’s Board of Directors. Replacing Schafer as WLT President is Lori J. Ensinger.
Ms. Schafer led the nationally accredited land conservation organization through its 25th anniversary this year, and successfully forged public and private partnerships to protect and enhance the natural resources in the Westchester and Eastern Putnam County communities. She came to the WLT with experience as an architect and real estate developer having served as senior vice president at Marcus Partners in Norwalk, Connecticut. Her experience in the development community gave Ms. Schafer a unique and valuable perspective on land preservation, which she utilized to foster collaborations in support of protecting open space. In addition she served as the District Chair for the Westchester- Fairfield District Counsel of the Urban Land Institute.
“Candace is truly a dedicated professional, and has led the Westchester Land Trust’s efforts to permanently protect environmentally valuable land throughout the region so as to enhance and preserve the quality of life in our communities for generations to come. While we are truly sorry to see Candace step down from her professional role with the organization, we are delighted that she will continue to advance the cause of land conservation as a member of our Board of Directors,” said Wiesner.
Prior to accepting the WLT Presidency, Ms. Ensinger was a member of the Board of Directors of the WLT from 2004 through 2013, and served as Chair of both the organization’s Investment Committee and Governance & Nominating Committee. She was also a past Chair of the Board of Directors of Teatown Lake Reservation, and a co-founder of the Community Land Trust of New Castle. In addition to her non-profit work and commitment to the environment and conservation issues, Ms. Ensinger has a strong background in finance having worked as an investment manager for the past 30 years. She served most recently as Managing Director, Head of Value Strategies at Columbia Management Investment Advisors in New York City where she led a team responsible for the management of $17 billion in assets. She is a Westchester native and lives in Katonah with her husband, William Kuebler.
Speaking on behalf of his fellow directors, Chairman Wiesner said, “Lori is the perfect person to lead the Westchester Land Trust during the next phase of our conservation efforts as we continue to identify and preserve important parcels of land, as well as steward those properties that we have already protected to ensure that the public has access and the opportunity to engage with the land.”
The WLT was founded in 1988 by a group of residents of Lewisboro and Bedford who were concerned about the increasing pace of development in their towns, and who wanted to take action to protect environmentally-important open space and the character of their communities. Today the WLT has grown into a truly regional organization, having preserved approximately 7,500 acres of land in 28 communities in Westchester and Eastern Putnam Counties.