The Greenbelt Board of Directors has announced that Kate Bowditch, who has served in leadership positions at the Charles River Watershed Association for almost 25 years, will become President of Greenbelt, Essex County’s Land Trust.
Bowditch, a published scientist and nationally-recognized expert in conservation, helped transform the Charles River from a heavily-polluted waterway to one of the cleanest urban rivers in the country.
“We are excited to have Kate bring her considerable gifts and skills to the work of Greenbelt – conserving farmland, wildlife habitat and scenic landscapes across Essex County,” said Philip Lake, Greenbelt Board Chair. “The ‘Greenbelt culture’ is important to us” he added, “and the Search Committee worked long and well to find someone who would be a good fit in addition to bringing the requisite professional qualifications. Kate is that person.”
In September, Bowditch will succeed Ed Becker, who built Greenbelt from a small, three-person organization to a groundbreaking, national leader in land conservation with a talented staff of fourteen professionals.
“I couldn’t be more excited about coming to Greenbelt,” said Bowditch. “I’m inspired by the people here, by the land and the water, and by the opportunity to work on critical conservation and stewardship projects across this diverse county.”
Bowditch worked at the intersection of science and conservation at CRWA, leading efforts to improve the Charles River watershed and parklands in the 35 cities and towns through which it runs. She created CRWA’s Blue Cities Initiative, a planning approach that promotes the use of green infrastructure to restore natural hydrology to the urban environment. She has developed partnerships with Boston’s universities, and helped achieve success with complex projects such as the Charles River Gateway at the site of the old Medfield State Hospital. At different times, she led a team of six staff scientists, directed CRWA’s advocacy program, served as Director of Projects, Director of Philanthropy and Director of Stewardship.
As Chair of the Brookline Conservation Commission, Bowditch worked to create new parks, restore a sanctuary, and develop three open space plans.
“Greenbelt’s focus on getting people out into nature is particularly appealing to me, as is the role of conservation in building climate resiliency,” said Bowditch, whose background also includes teaching in Kenya and working with the International Commission for the protection of the Danube River in Europe. Most recently, she developed a partnership for river restoration in the Dominican Republic with funding from Riverprize, the world’s foremost award in river basin management.
“Kate’s exemplary record of experience and accomplishments is balanced with her personal gifts,” added Annie Madden, Chair of Greenbelt’s Search Committee. “She is warm, open, thoughtful and genuine, and I predict she will win the respect of the entire Greenbelt community and others across the county in no time at all.”