Historic Virginia Land Conservancy executive director to retire

tjefferson@vagazette.com

After 16 years with the Historic Virginia Land Conservancy, Caren Schumacher will step down at the end of the year.

“I’m proud of the accomplishments and the support we have received throughout the years from our community,” Schumacher said. “My husband has been retired for four years and quite frankly he asked me to consider doing the same, so I made the decision to join him in retirement.”

The Conservancy aims to protect and preserve significant natural, scenic, agricultural and historic land in the lower James, York and Rappahannock River watersheds.

Before joining the Conservancy, Schumacher worked for a national trade association in the fruit and vegetable industry in Alexandria.

Schumacher is also on the Kiwanis Foundation Board of Directors and the board of the Virginia Symphony Society of Greater Williamsburg.

During her time at the Conservancy, Schumacher has helped protect 40 properties totaling more than 6,000 acres, according to a news release.

As director, she was responsible for staff oversight, reporting to a 16-member board and developing and implementing a successful fundraising plan.

Schumacher said her proudest accomplishments are the permanent protection and preservation of Mainland Farm and increasing the amount of conserved land in the area.

In October 2013, the James City County Board of Supervisors approved a conservation easement on Mainland Farm, a 200-plus acre farm located at 2881 Greensprings Road.

“We wish her a good retirement. She’s done a lot of good things for James City County and the Historic Triangle,” said County Administrator Bryan Hill.

Mainland Farm is the longest continuously farmed piece of property in the country.

“Caren’s demonstrated leadership, passion and dedication have helped grow the HVLC into the nationally accredited and ever-growing organization it is today,” said Travis Crayosky, chairman of the HVLC Board of Directors, in a news release. “Her years of hard work are evidenced in the land we protect, and the generous support we receive from individuals and businesses throughout the region.”

The HVLC is in the process of finding her successor. Schumacher said the search committee hopes to fill the position by mid-December.

“I am blessed to have had a job that has given me the opportunity to help preserve the character and ambiance of our region,” Schumacher said. “I will always look at these special green-spaces the HVLC has protected, and think what a lucky person I was to have worked with community leaders, members of the HVLC, and landowners to truly make a difference.”

Jefferson can be reached by phone at 757-790-9313.

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