The Western New York Land Conservancy welcomed Rachel Chrostowski as the newest member of their staff on April 6, 2015. As community engagement director, Rachel will increase the public’s engagement with the Land Conservancy’s work.
Rachel has a degree in geography and environmental studies from SUNY Geneseo; however, her education in earth science started at a much earlier age. She credits her geologist mother with her deep love of the natural environment, appreciation for open space and strong conservation values.
Before coming to the Land Conservancy, Rachel served as a planner for over eight years in Erie and Livingston counties. In her work as a planner, Rachel renovated Erie County’s Agricultural District Program, working with the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board to consolidate and update the districts to simplify and strengthen the program. She has also worked closely with local officials in their planning efforts and has organized numerous local government training events for municipal leaders to help educate them on topics facing the region’s towns and villages.
In the last three years, Rachel also overhauled the county’s cultural funding procedure and has worked to help numerous nonprofit organizations secure grant funding from Erie County. Rachel also enjoys cartography and has made maps for both counties.
In her spare time, Rachel sings with two choruses and serves on the board of directors of the Genesee Chorale in Batavia. When she’s not singing, Rachel enjoys vegetable gardening and having campfires with her husband, Dave, at their home in Colden.
Rachel is a lifelong resident of Erie County and is looking forward to serving the community more directly in this new position with the Land Conservancy. Rachel says, “I am elated to be able to serve this fantastic organization and to help advance the mission to permanently preserve natural spaces and to protect our region’s farmland for future generations.” She looks forward to working with others who are passionate about the Land Conservancy’s work and will be leading citizen engagement initiatives, including internships, hikes, events, and volunteer and citizen science activities.
Nancy Smith, executive director of the Western New York Land Conservancy, believes that “Rachel’s passion for our mission, her marketing, communication, and planning skills and her leadership on farmland protection efforts in our region will help propel us forward as we pursue our third decade of permanent land protection.”
The Western New York Land Conservancy is a regional, not-for-profit land trust that permanently protects land with significant conservation value in Western New York for future generations. The Land Conservancy envisions a future in which open spaces, working lands, wildlife habitat and scenic beauty are cherished and protected as part of the landscape and character of Western New York. The Land Conservancy is one of 1,700 land trusts nationwide, including 90 in New York State. Land trusts have protected 40 million acres over the last 20 years.
For more information on upcoming events, volunteer opportunities or the mission of the Western New York Land Conservancy, please call (716) 687-1225 or visit www.wnylc.org.