Belwin Conservancy- Executive Director
The Belwin Conservancy is one of the largest remaining undeveloped tracks of land in the Twin Cities, and is located 15 miles from downtown St. Paul, just a mile from the St. Croix River.
Belwin’s property is incredibly diverse with woods, wetlands, remnant and restored tallgrass prairies, goat prairies, oak savannas, spring-fed streams, marshes, floating bogs, potholes, oak, and maple/basswood forest. Native plant communities found on Belwin property include dry sand-gravel prairie, oak forest, and three types of wetlands, including floodplain forest, seepage meadow, and rich fen. Five animal species and three plant species, considered rare by the Department of Natural Resources have been documented on Belwin property.
Belwin was first established in 1970 as a 225 acres outdoor education center for the St. Paul Public Schools under a unique partnership agreement. This program exists today in essentially the same partnership arrangement. Belwin manages the land and facilities while St. Paul Public Schools provides both the education staff and curriculum.
Belwin is entering an exciting new phase which involves desire to expand and strengthen its existing programs and partnerships, as well as develop new program offerings. This will involve building new support bases and models to fund this program expansion. The focus is on creating and managing uses on its land that both respect wildlife and natural process, and provide environmental learning and recreation to the community it serves, through partnerships and self-created program initiatives. A major initiative is an art and nature program seeking to bring environmental awareness to an audience primarily interested in art. This new initiative is making strides, and a general master plan has been created.
The new Executive Director will be responsible for managing existing programs, growing program offerings, and augmenting funding structures needed for this expansion. Belwin’s endowment and user fees currently cover over half its annual budget. To expand its programs, it will have to grow its fundraising capacity, for both annual and capital needs. While expansion is exciting, Belwin does not want to jeopardize its existing programs or land management.
The Ideal Candidate for Belwin Conservancy’s next leader should be a positive, collaborative leader that can focus on the present while keeping in mind the long-term vision of the organization. He or she should be as comfortable building relationships with large, institutional partners as they are giving a donor a tour of the grounds on a rainy, spring day.