Otsego Land Trust (OLT) is pleased to announce the appointment of community leader and committed conservationist, Patricia Szarpa as the land trust’s new executive director.
The hire follows four months of the trust being without a director after the resignation of John Winter in December 2016. Szarpa, who served as executive director for the Western New York Land Conservancy from 2006-2012 says she is ready to get to work.
“I am ready to jump right in. I’ve been a volunteer for quite a few years so I am aware of the great projects and the successes. I feel excited about being a part of this. The OLT’s board, the staff, they are very dedicated. It is an honor to work with these people.”
Szarpa and her husband have been involved with the Land Trust, as volunteers for years. “We’ve been involved from a volunteers perspective since we moved here 5 ½ years ago. We began volunteering at clean-ups, we’ve gone on hikes, I’ve led hikes and I’m looking forward to getting more deeply involved with the projects I’ve been a part of.”
A self-taught bird enthusiast who has experience from prey bird rehabilitation to leading blue bird hikes for the OLT, Szarpa has been educating communities on the wonders of birding for years. A native of Buffalo, Szarpa has substantial experience in public relations, marketing, outreach and business management. With a comprehensive knowledge of Otsego County through her work as Director of the Cooperstown Chamber and a Multi-Media Consultant, Szarpa has been a part of the community and she says “it may be what this organization needs, somebody who already knows the people and the community.”
With over 11,000 acres protected in partnership with 100 landowners, the rapid growth of Otsego Land Trust is steady. Szarpa’s history with the organization, her experience in land conservancy and her excitement for the trust’s mission will help continue propelling the group forward. She looks forward to “making the organization sustainable for the future.”
Szarpa and her husband Darryl own and operate Owl’s Landing Bed and Breakfast in Cooperstown. Owl’s Landing is a part of the Green Lodging Partnership, an initiative that directly supports the mission of the Otsego Land Trust. Darryl is also the volunteer steward at the Parslow Road Conservation Area, a public access site the OLT owns and is currently section hiking the Appalachian Trail. The couple has two sons, Adam and Joshua, both residing in Buffalo.
OLT’s mission is to conserve the natural heritage of woodlands, farmlands and waters that sustain rural communities, promote public health, support wildlife diversity and inspire the human spirit. For more information about Otsego Land Trust, visit www.otsegolandtrust.org or call 607.547.2236.