Montezuma Land Conservancy Executive Director Jon Leibowitz will step down July 31 after five years with the organization.
“It has been the honor of a lifetime working for MLC these past five years,” Leibowitz said in the press release. “I am forever indebted to this incredible community, MLC’s passionate supporters, and the visionary landowners that I have had the pleasure to work with. I’m excited to support the next chapter of MLC as a member.”
Leibowitz was executive director for more than three years. Under his leadership, the nonprofit grew from less than two full-time employees to a team of four staff members. He introduced a new arm of programming aimed at agricultural education, made recreational easements with public access a new focus for the organization and helped launch the Montezuma Inspire Coalition.
Most recently, Leibowitz has spent the last seven months helping the organization own its first piece of land — an 80-acre farm in Lewis. During his time at MLC, Leibowitz managed 23 conservation easement transactions that will permanently protect more than 13,000 acres across Southwest Colorado.
After all the acres, projects and organization growth, Leibowitz said it was the personal stories of farm and ranch life in old Montezuma County that he will never forget.
“The greatest honor I had at MLC was working with Stanley Hindmarsh at the end of his life to help him conserve his beloved ranch up at Groundhog (Reservoir). He loved that ranch so much. By the time I was working with him he was pretty constrained to his house in Cortez, so I used to take pictures of the ranch when I went up to do field work, and when I got back, we’d sit in his garage and look at photos of his place on the iPad. Stories of life on the ranch with his sheep would always follow. It was just really special to help him fulfill his last dream — to make sure his ranch would be open space and wild country forever.”
Leibowitz, along with his wife and 10-month old son, will return to Vermont to be close to family. Leibowitz will serve as Executive Director of the Northeast Wilderness Trust. Leibowitz earned a Juris Doctor and Masters of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School.
“After almost six years at MLC, we will miss Jon’s leadership,” said Betty Janes, who has served on the MLC Board for seven years. “He broadened our vision of what MLC can mean to this community.”
The Montezuma Land Conservancy Board of Directors has begun a formal search for a new Executive Director. For more information, visit MLC’s website at www.montezumaland.org/employment.