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Jim Daus stepping down after 5 years

by Brittany Bobola

The Eagle Valley Land Trust has protected over 11,000 acres of land forever, but unfortunately cannot keep executive director Jim Daus for an infinite amount of time.  With the organization enjoying financial stability, strong community support, and exciting opportunities for further growth of its mission, the moment is right for Jim to embark upon the next phase of his professional and personal life. Jim’s five-year tenure at EVLT was marked by his infectious passion for land conservation, deep knowledge of real estate transactions, and knack for creating community partnerships.

Jim’s stewardship of EVLT was an important epoch in the organization’s proud history and sets up his successor to continue the positive trajectory.  With Jim at the helm, EVLT increased the amount of land under its protection from 7,384 to 11,278  acres and from 28 to 36 parcels.

Of particular import, Jim was instrumental in conserving the marquis properties of Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space (formerly known as Hardscrabble Ranch, now owned and managed by Eagle County Open Space) and Buchholz-Winfrey Ranch.  These preserved parcels will benefit the community for generations to come.  As was typical, Jim was able to rally support from disparate stakeholders to complete the complex deals, including working closely with Eagle County, an important EVLT ally and partner.

Another aspect of Jim’s legacy is the creation of the Land & Rivers Fund.  In partnership with the Eagle River Watershed Council, Jim worked to implement a program whereby 1% of the sales from participating local businesses are directed to a fund shared by EVLT and ERWC.  These monies will aid the groups’ respective missions as well as allow for community grants and other reinvestments in the local population and environment.  Since the original spark, the program has grown to a critical mass that portends further success as more businesses and supporters join the program.

The indicators of Jim’s impact on EVLT are not purely numeric or financial.  Relentless in pursuit of creative ways to preserve land, Jim has located new sources for funding conservation projects and helped usher in the popular and fun EVLT Farm to Fork and Garden to Glass events.  Jim has also allowed EVLT to think beyond conservation of land to ancillary avenues to serve the community.  To date, these initiatives have included the growth of the Future Conservationists program including formalizing partnership agreements, bus tours of ranches to highlight our agricultural heritage, and supporting staff to create the popular Community Land Connection programming.  Inspired by Jim’s example, the Board and staff will continue to engage the community in a manner commensurate with EVLT’s mission.

Currently engaged in a regular update of its strategic vision and because the organization is on solid footing, EVLT need not rush to name a new executive director.  In the interim, Jim will continue in his role and assist with the transition to new leadership as he and EVLT work to bring additional conservation easements to fruition.  Wherever he goes, Jim will always be a part of the Eagle Valley Land Trust family.

Jim Daus and the Eagle Valley Land Trust express their deepest mutual gratitude and further wish to thank the citizens of the Eagle/Vail Valleys and the entire EVLT supporter network for their continued backing of the critical work of preserving the character of the community forever. Jessica Foulis, EVLT’s stewardship and outreach manager, will step in as interim executive director while EVLT’s transition committee searches for a new executive director.

 

For more information on the Eagle Valley Land Trust, please visit www.evlt.org.

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