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Five Rivers Transitions to First Full-Time Executive Director


Concord, NH --In its recently updated Strategic Plan Five Rivers Conservation Trust’s Board of Trustees acknowledged the dramatic increase in the number of properties the Trust has conserved and the opportunities for more proactive conservation work, stronger partnerships, and even greater community involvement.  To help realize these goals, Five Rivers has just announced that Beth McGuinn of Canterbury has been hired as its first full-time executive director.   


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McGuinn brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to Five Rivers.  A long-time member of New Hampshire’s conservation community, she has held land conservation and stewardship positions in nonprofit and government entities, most recently as the Land Protection Specialist for Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust in New London.  McGuinn has facilitated all aspects of land conservation: identifying conservation priorities, coordinating fundraising campaigns and raising grant funds, working with landowners. She has considerable experience working with communities and enjoys community work.

About her interest in the job McGuinn said, “I’ve lived in three of Five Rivers’ communities and worked in eight of them.  This is where my sense of place is strongest, and where I’d like to apply my conservation experience and leadership skills.”  

McGuinn is on the Board of the NH Land Trust Coalition, a licensed forester, and a strong communicator.  She lives with her spouse Ruth Smith in an energy efficient house they built together and raises chickens, vegetables, and trees for fruit and firewood.

“In addition to her experience with conservation easements, the Board was impressed by Beth’s ability to work well with people, her communication skills, her experience with accreditation (a national program that Five Rivers is preparing to apply for), and her familiarity with many of our supporters and the communities we serve,” said Board chair, Margaret Watkins.

McGuinn succeeds Jay Haines, who came to Five Rivers four years ago as its “part-time” Executive Director to build organizational capacity. 


“It’s a mixed emotion moment for me,” says Haines, “For the past four years I’ve greatly enjoyed working with Five Rivers’ trustees, volunteers, and its supporting membership. I’m especially proud to have been a part of facilitating Five Rivers’ positioning for the future in both operational capacity and financial sustainability. The time has arrived for a full time Director, and Beth brings both experience and the tools for its continued success.”


During Haines’s tenure as Executive Director, Five Rivers completed a record number of land conservation projects, including easements on Tioga Marsh in Belmont, the Ned and Jean Therrien forest in Canterbury, Maplewood Farm, Marjory Swope Park, and the Triacca fields abutting Dimond Hill Farm in Concord, the Farley farm in Dunbarton, four parcels totalling 85 acres owned by George and Anna Mae Twigg in Gilmanton, two easements in Hillsborough donated by Ken and Vicky Coffin and Hope Thomas, and field and forest land owned by Geraldine Phelps of Webster.  Of the 21 easements completed (and 1,581 acres protected), 3 were first-time Five Rivers projects in Belmont, Pembroke, and Webster. 


Five Rivers thrives on partnerships with easement donors and owners, other conservation organizations, local municipalities, and area businesses.  Haines engaged new business partners, many of whom figured importantly in Five Rivers’ 25th anniversary celebrations this past year.  Haines also helped create and grow Five Rivers' Conservation Leaders Society, which has been instrumental in making possible the transition to a full time executive director. 


“Jay has brought vital changes to Five Rivers and helped lay the groundwork for Five River's next growth spurt," observed Watkins. "We appreciate all he has done for Five Rivers, a track record he will surely replicate in his new position as Director of the Overnight Cold Weather Shelter Program for the South Congregational Church in Concord.  We’re also very excited for Five Rivers to have Beth McGuinn on board.”


Five Rivers Conservation Trust, headquartered in Concord, New Hampshire, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting open space across the heartland of central New Hampshire. This beautiful rolling landscape is drained by five waterways that converge in the Concord area – the Merrimack, Contoocook, Blackwater, Warner, and Soucook Rivers. It is a region of picturesque country villages and a delightful mix of fields and forests, farms and wetlands, and other special places. Through conservation easements and other means, Five Rivers is doing its part as an active land trust to help keep those places intact for future generations. www.5rct.org