From Our Past Executive Director, Esther Lev

From Our Past Executive Director, Esther Lev

After more than 20 years at The Wetlands Conservancy, I have decided to retire at the end of 2019.

For 38 years, The Wetlands Conservancy has been the voice of Oregon wetlands, adapting to ever changing conservation strategies, regulations and community needs and opportunities. Together, we have protected and restored many of Oregon’s greatest wetlands, multiplying the positive benefits of wetlands across the state. With national and global recognition of the critical roles that wetlands play in mitigating climate change and supporting landscape resiliency, it feels like the perfect time to step down and make way for new leadership.

Over the past nine months, the board and I have been working on a transition plan. I’ve spent my last three months finishing up and passing on major projects and initiatives. To enable me to focus on this important work, we hired Ann Witsil to serve as Interim Executive Director. Ann joined us in October is running the organization and assisting in preparing for a smooth transition to our next leader. Please see the message below for information about recruiting our next Executive Director.

Working for The Wetlands Conservancy has been a great honor, privilege and pure joy! I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to travel all over Oregon exploring wetlands and developing new friendships. I have gained a deep understanding and appreciation of the diverse communities and geographies that comprise our unique and beautiful state. It has been a gift to work in partnership with an exceptional staff and deeply committed board.

I extend my heartfelt thanks to all of you who have been my mentors, partners and supporters through the years. You inspired me to “be like water” – to look for creative paths around obstacles. I am immensely proud of the work we’ve done together, and I am really excited about The Wetlands Conservancy’s next chapter. I have no doubt that TWC’s work, which I will continue to support, will continue to be rich, innovative, and a catalyst for environmental, climate, and human health. Oregon’s wetlands are in great hands.

My next adventures will include swamping around wetlands, kayaking, returning to my days of global travel adventure, printmaking and taking the time to watch the sunrise, sunset and starry skies at night.

Please feel free to reach out anytime in the coming months. We will welcome your questions and suggestions as we look to the future.

Thank you for your generous support and continued participation in this special organization.


From Our Board President, John van Staveren; and Transition Committee Chair, Scott Rich

We are incredibly grateful to Esther for her leadership at TWC and giving us time to plan and implement a thoughtful transition process.

We are delighted to have Ann Witsil on board as our Interim ED, as well as an executive recruitment consultant, Kathy Kniep. They both come with extensive executive transition experience, rave reviews from previous clients, and enthusiasm for our mission.

Don’t hesitate to contact either of us if you have questions or suggestions about the transition.

Cheers to Esther, our proud history, and TWC’s future!

John and Scott, on behalf of the Board of Directors and Staff