Land Trust President Jeanie Nelson Passes the Torch to Liz McLaurin

Transition Plan and Additional Staffing Announcements Made

Nashville, Tenn. (April 15, 2015) – The Land Trust for Tennessee, a statewide nonprofit conservation organization that preserves Tennessee’s public and private landscapes and their natural, agricultural and historic values, announced today that founding CEO and President Jeanie Nelson has decided to retire from the organization at next year’s annual meeting in May 2016. Jeanie Nelson co-founded The Land Trust in 1999 with former Nashville Mayor and Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen and has served as its head since the founding.

“I care so much for this organization, its people, the work it does, the wonderful part of this nation that it serves, and the very special people all across the state who have protected the land they love with us. I’m retiring, but I plan to continue giving my full support to the important role The Land Trust plays in our Tennessee community,” Nelson said.

She added, “We have a fabulous team at The Land Trust, and I am confident that they will take the organization to the next level. Over the past year, we’ve developed a transition plan that will enable us to continue to lead in the effort to preserve the unique character of Tennessee’s natural and historic landscapes and sites for future generations.”

Nelson will continue as CEO until May of next year. As part of the transition plan, effective July 1, 2015, Liz Edsall McLaurin, Director of External Affairs for The Land Trust, will become President and assume responsibility for day-to-day management of the organization. A graduate of The University of the South and a resident of the Leiper’s Fork community in Williamson County, McLaurin has over 20 years of non-profit experience. She has been involved with The Land Trust since its early days and has led a number of successful initiatives, including the revitalization of The Land Trust’s Glen Leven Farm.

As a part of this transition, Emily Burnett Parish has been promoted to Conservation Director. She has been with the organization for 11 years, has a master’s degree in Environmental Law and Policy and also holds a BA from The University of the South. Parish has been critical to the organization’s substantial conservation achievements.

“Jeanie has poured her heart and soul into this organization from the day it was founded,” said Sara Finley, Chair of The Land Trust’s Board of Directors. “She has had a remarkable career in private law practice, in government service as Chief Deputy Attorney General of Tennessee and as General Counsel of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and most importantly for us as head of the Land Trust. Our plan provides a seamless transition as Jeanie’s retirement date approaches, and we are fortunate to have Liz and Emily assuming greater leadership roles with us going forward.”

The Land Trust for Tennessee is an accredited, statewide, non-governmental nonprofit organization founded in 1999 with offices in both Downtown Nashville and Chattanooga, and at Glen Leven Farm in Nashville’s Oak Hill neighborhood. The Land Trust has protected nearly 100,000 acres of treasured farmland, historic sites, open spaces, recreational areas and wildlife habitats across the State of Tennessee.


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