Jennifer Shuey is excited about the future.
The past, however, will be difficult for her to let go
Shuey will resign next month after 15 years as executive director of ClearWater Conservancy, a land trust dedicated to the conservation and restoration of natural resources in central Pennsylvania. Her last day will be April 24.
“There have been a lot of mixed emotions for me,” she said. “I’m excited about some new things that are in store for me, but it’s really sad and hard to step down.”
Board President Steve Miller will be the interim executive director until the board chooses a new leader.
“During her period of leadership, the conservancy has really grown in size and ability to support our mission,” Miller said. “She’s been excellent in every way and has shown strong leadership for us. One of her greatest strengths has been to connect our mission to the community and local leaders. We’ll be sorry to see her go.”
Finding the next executive director will start with the conservancy’s recently formed search committee, which will develop an application process for the position.
“This isn’t a frequent thing that happens,” Miller said. “Jennifer was the conservancy’s third executive director in 35 years, and we haven’t had to do a search in 15 years.”
Miller said updates on how to apply for the position can be found on the conservancy’s website. He already has in mind what they’ll look for in the next executive director.
“Someone that is in many ways like Jennifer,” he said. “We want someone who wants to make a long-term commitment. We also want someone who can be a leader, that interacts well with the community, can manage business aspects of the conservancy and has a vision for our conservancy efforts.”
Shuey declined to comment on her new venture.
“I’m itching to say it myself, but I can’t say that until they’re ready to announce it,” she said. “It’s here, and it’s local. It’s another passion of mine.”
But she’s more than happy to talk about her journey with ClearWater.
Shuey began to volunteer with the conservancy 20 years ago with no aspirations of becoming executive director.
“It definitely fits my background,” she said. “I’m local, and the local environment has always been important to me. I was also always drawn to how our built and natural environments can work together to be strong and vibrant in a way that still respects natural resources. I somehow ended up with this great opportunity that has allowed me to learn and grow for 15 years.”
Her resignation comes at a time when the conservancy can boast about its 5,600 acres of protected habitat, 77,900 feet of restored streams, 20,000 student visits to Millbrook Marsh Nature Center and the removal of 5.8 million pounds of illegally dumped trash in local watersheds on annual Watershed Cleanup Days.
“I’ve really seen firsthand how much the ClearWater Conservancy has grown in the time I’ve been here, but there’s more potential,” Shuey said. “I’ll still volunteer and will be well-connected throughout the conservation community, but I’ll be out of the new director’s way. The next one will have a great opportunity to grow our efforts.”