September 24, 2018
 
Essex County Greenbelt Assn. Names Kate Bowditch President

Kate Bowditch
June 18, 2018 — The Essex County Greenbelt Association, a nonprofit based in Essex that works with landowners and the 34 cities and towns of Essex County to conserve open space, farmland, wildlife habitat, and scenic landscapes, today announced that Kate Bowditch will be its next president.

Bowditch, who will start in the job in September, will succeed Ed Becker, who joined the Essex County Greenbelt Association as executive director in 1987 and eventually was named president.

“We are excited to have Kate bring her considerable gifts and skills to the work of Greenbelt – conserving farmland, wildlife habitat and scenic landscapes across Essex County,” said Philip Lake, Greenbelt's board chair. “The Greenbelt culture is important to us, and the search committee worked long and well to find someone who would be a good fit in addition to bringing the requisite professional qualifications. Kate is that person.”

Bowditch, a published scientist and nationally-recognized expert in conservation, who served in leadership positions at the Charles River Watershed Association (CWRA) for nearly 25 years, helped transform the Charles River from a heavily-polluted waterway to one of the cleanest urban rivers in the country.

“I couldn’t be more excited about coming to Greenbelt,” said Bowditch. “I’m inspired by the people here, by the land and the water, and by the opportunity to work on critical conservation and stewardship projects across this diverse county.”

Bowditch worked at the intersection of science and conservation at CRWA, leading efforts to improve the Charles River watershed and parklands in the 35 cities and towns through which it runs. She created CRWA’s Blue Cities Initiative, a planning approach that promotes the use of green infrastructure to restore natural hydrology to the urban environment.

Bowditch has developed partnerships with Boston’s universities, and helped achieve success with complex projects such as the Charles River Gateway at the site of the old Medfield State Hospital. At different times, she led a team of six staff scientists, directed CRWA’s advocacy program, served as director of projects, director of philanthropy and director of stewardship.

As chair of the Brookline Conservation Commission, Bowditch worked to create new parks, restore a sanctuary, and develop three open space plans.

Bowditch earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Cornell University and a Master of Arts degree in geography, hydrology, and water resources management from Boston University.

During his tenure, Becker built Greenbelt from a small, three-person organization to one with 14 professionals that is recognized as a leader in land conservation.

Greenbelt traces its history to 1961 when three local residents Jack jointly saved Boxford’s Bald Hill from development. Today, the organizations manages the conservation of over 17,000 acres from its headquarters at the Allyn Cox Reservation in Essex.

In 2017, Greenbelt adopted a strategic plan that includes conserving an additional 10,000 acres in Essex County over 10 years and establishing a presence in the Merrimack Valley.

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