The Land Trust for Tennessee is pleased to announce long-time supporter and Board Member Gentry Barden has been named its next Chair of the Board of Directors.
“I am honored to assume the role of Board Chair for The Land Trust for Tennessee,” said Gentry. “Thanks to outstanding prior and current leadership, we have a professional and energetic staff, a compelling mission, and a healthy pipeline of conservation projects. The current state of our organization is very strong.”
Gentry accepted the position, along with the organization’s ceremonial shovel, from out-going Board Chair Mark Manner in May 2018 as he concluded his dedicated three-year term of service as Chair. Mark continues his support today as a Board Member.
Gentry first became involved with The Land Trust in the early 2000s, shortly after the organization was founded. He has since served in a variety of capacity-building roles, including volunteer, donor and board member. He brings decades of legal and investment banking expertise to his new role as board chair and says he appreciates the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of all whose names have been etched into the shovel, including founding chair, Former Governor Phil Bredesen.
“This organization has been shaped by conservation visionaries,” said Gentry. “I will do my best to hold to that legacy.”
Gentry says his inspiration for joining the organization was his curiosity of how a legal tool, called a conservation easement, allows landowners to conserve their land and how nonprofit land trusts help them achieve that goal.
“Over the years, my educated understanding of this elegant conservation tool and the role a land trust plays in private conservation has imparted a deeper meaning: organizations like ours can fulfill a landowner’s dream of protecting their land forever. This is a win for the landowner, a win for the natural environment and a win for the social and economic viability of our communities. We are part of the team that makes that win last forever.”
Gentry says furthering the organization’s promise of “forever” is the key priority of his term and building upon financial stability and engagement from the community is paramount to this success.
“My commitment to the landowners, our donors, the public, and The Land Trust is prioritizing the permanence of our organization so that we can continue to make landowners’ conservation dreams come true forever,” he says. “Years from now, I want people living in or visiting our communities to observe and appreciate the good works of our land trust and say, ‘They really got it right.’”
Photo: Incoming Chair of the Board Gentry Barden (left), The Land Trust for Tennessee’s President & CEO Liz McLaurin (center) and Board Member Mark Manner (right) during The Land Trust’s 2018 Annual Celebration.