Lower Nehalem Community Trust seeks new executive director

The following is a press release from the Lower Nehalem Community Trust:

Lower Nehalem Community Trust’s (LNCT) executive director Dale Cramer Burr will leave her position at the end of the year. An interim executive director is being hired to run the organization while a search for a full-time executive director is undertaken.

Candidates interested in the interim position should contact board chair, Allan Olson: [email protected]. Staff members who will continue to lead LNCT’s day-to-day operations include stewardship coordinator Max Broderick, office manager Mary Corey, and garden coordinator Karen Mathews.

LNCT Executive Director Dale Cramer Burr, is stepping down at year’s end. 
Photo by Max Broderick

“The Trust is a leader in community conservation in Oregon, and Alder Creek Farm with its community garden and native plant nursery is its soul. What an honor and a joy it has been to be part of this important work during a time when so many dreams were realized,” said Burr.

Volunteers donated more than 5,000 hours of service to the Trust in 2016, according to reports.

“From the very beginning community volunteers have been the heart of local conservation, and this continues to be true now more than ever,” Burr added.

Founded in 2002, the Trust focuses both on land protection in the lower Nehalem River region and small-scale farm operations at Alder Creek Farm.

Officials said development pressures on the coast can threaten wild and natural areas. LNCT focus on community conservation helps maintain a balance between development and open space that’s protected forever. The Farm features a native plant nursery, community garden, greenhouse, ethnobotanical trail and wildlife sanctuary. It’s also a popular stop on the North Coast Birding Trail.

During Burr’s three-year tenure, LNCT grew dramatically and continued to realize its founders’ vision, which was launched when they purchased Alder Creek Farm in Nehalem from William and Carole Anderson. She credits teh nonprofit’s staff, volunteers, founders, board of directors, partnership organizations, and the generosity of its members, donors and funders with the Trust’s achievements.

In recent years major funding was secured from philanthropic groups that include Meyer Memorial Trust, Juan Young Trust, YARG Foundation, Land Trust Alliance, Norcross, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Kafka Foundation, Oregon Community Foundation, and the Campbell Family Trust. These funders, along with local 1% for the Planet partner and Manzanita clothing retailer Unfurl, helped make much of the Trust’s 2013 strategic plan a reality, according to Trust officials.

LNCT has protected nearly thirty more acres in the community during Dale’s leadership, a 30 percent increase in conservation activity. Some of these projects expanded existing conserved open space, such as the addition of six acres to Sitka Wetlands, the addition of seven acres to Vosburg Creek (a donation by Cliff and Carol Halvorson), and the expansion of Alder Creek Farm to 60 acres with LNCT founder Judy Sorrel’s 5-acre donation of forested upland and meadow along Alder Creek. In 2017 the Trust hopes to protect both Botts and Nedonna Marshes.

Earlier this year Tom Nash and Maureen McMahon donated the newest conservation parcel, Neahkahnie Creek in Manzanita. A capital campaign raised $36,000 from community members to support this project and care for it in perpetuity. In 2014 a groundbreaking partnership with the City of Manzanita and generous donors David and Toni Clay created the community’s first nature park, Elk Meadows, a new open space that also secures a crucial wildlife corridor on the fragile Nehalem Estuary.

Alder Creek Farm—an outdoor classroom for community gardening, birding, ecology, and conservation—has continued to thrive. It hosted educator Peter Walczak’s Forest to Sea Day Camp, a program for kids the Trust always envisioned, which drew children from all over the state. The community garden literally blossomed as it added infrastructure, expanded its footprint, installed a sustainable irrigation system, and grew to nearly 40 volunteer gardeners cultivating organic fruits and vegetables for each other and families served by the local food pantry. Each year the garden at Alder Creek Farm donates one ton of fresh produce to local families.

During this time the ethnobotanical Nehalem Teaching Trail neared completion with the addition of new plantings, fences, gates, and bridges. The Farm proudly hosted Living Locally, the Trust’s annual fundraising celebration and auction, for the first time in 2016. And the annual Harvest Festival hosted as many as 600 festivalgoers and matured with the addition of conservation tours, talks, and the new and ambitious model of no parking at the Farm. A long-held plan to dismantle an abandoned milking parlor was realized by donors Brett Smith of Mohler Sand & Gravel, Tony Erickson of Erickson Excavating, and Ryan Vandecoevering of Advanced Excavation who together removed the old building.


Dale brought creativity and professionalism to the organization’s communications with a new logo, the launch of a new website, and new communication technologies. Additionally, to enhance productivity grant funds were secured to upgrade all office technology and applications, as well as new GPS equipment and GIS mapping technology.

Improvements to the Trust’s bookkeeping and financial management and reporting practices and the consultant-led assessment the organization undertook in 2015 have positioned the organization for continued growth. Other highlights include fostering the work of Friends of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve as the group’s fiscal sponsor, as well as offering tours, talks, paddles, and special events as an Explore Nature partner with a consortium of Tillamook County conservation groups.

Prior to leading the Trust, Burr was an adjunct lecturer at the University of Guanajuato in Mexico and Southern Oregon University in Ashland, where she also served as coordinator of the Tibetan Buddhist center, Kagyu Sukha Chöling. Her earlier professional endeavors included adjunct faculty positions at Brown University and Cornell University where she taught management and leadership, as well as organizational development and strategic planning consultancies to major corporations, government agencies, and nonprofits. She earned her graduate degrees in business and public administration from Northwestern and Harvard Universities, respectively.

Burr said she is excited to be undertaking new endeavors and is confident LNCT’s is positioned to thrive and continue to make an indispensable contribution to conservation on the Oregon Coast.

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