Earlier in 2022, we placed Darci Schofield as Islands Portfolio Director at The Trustees. We caught up with her after her first summer season at The Trustees. She reflected on her passion for the mission of The Trustees and spoke on what she hopes to accomplish in the future.
What initially attracted you to the Islands Portfolio Director at The Trustees? What has drawn you to work with Environmental organizations throughout your career?
I have worked indirectly with The Trustees for many years through my career and have long admired its tremendous mission, reach, and impact on connecting people to exceptional historical, cultural, and ecological places. Conservation of land and ecosystems while connecting people to nature has been central to my education and entire career, and The Trustees embodies both expertly. Development Guild was instrumental in bringing me to the Islands Portfolio Director position and ushering me through the extensive interview process. The opportunity to work with an organization I’ve long admired on Islands with some of the most beautiful and pristine places in the world was like a dream come true.
What do you enjoy most about The Trustees now?
The Trustees is an extraordinary organization. It is one of the oldest conservation organizations in the United States with a mission of preserving exceptional places of historic, cultural, and ecological value for the public’s use and enjoyment. The mission rings true to my heart and embodies my passion and entire career – the preservation of nature and connecting people to it. Its 130-year history leads The Trustees to pursue its mission through the lens of future generations, which is a profound way to operate a nonprofit organization and the long-term care of The Trustees exceptional places. The people who work at The Trustees are intelligent, loyal, and passionate in every way in delivering its mission every day. It is an honor and pleasure to work with such a great team.
How has your role changed since you began?
The first six months in my position were a deep dive into understanding the extensive operations on the Islands. This position oversees approximately 14 miles of pristine and delicate beaches, over two thousand acres of protected land, nine special places open to the public, approximately 70 staff during the summer season, and tens of thousands of visitors. This is all in addition to understanding and engaging the unique and tight-knit island community, stakeholders, and partners on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. The pace of the summer tourist season is intense, often requiring attention seven days a week, but it is also a time for building relationships with our members, visitors, and seasonal residents while they are fully enjoying the exceptional beauty of The Trustees Islands places. This time of observation and engagement also enlightened the tremendous strengths of the Islands team and the operations as well as areas in need of investment and improvement.
Now that I am nine months into the position with a slower pace of the winter season, my role has changed toward future planning for greater efficiencies in operations, reconciling areas in need of investment and improvement, deepening relationships with community members, and nurturing the Islands team – the ones who deliver The Trustees mission on the ground and our most important asset!
What do you hope to achieve at The Trustees in the future? What is on the horizon?
I look forward to working with The Trustees, our partners, and the community to bring inclusivity and belonging to a new level on the Islands. Following The Trustees commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, I am committed to ensuring that all our places are welcoming, accessible, and meaningful for everyone. This includes more diverse offerings in our programming that touch different cultures, races, abilities, and identities, and ensuring our visitor experience represents the diversity that comprises the Island communities.
I also look forward to working with The Trustees in implementing nature-based resilience strategies to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change including severe storms, storm surge, sea level rise, and extreme changes in precipitation and temperatures. The Islands Trustees places contain several rare, threatened, and endangered species and ecosystems, and the impacts of climate change are a real threat in the future health of these delicate ecosystems. Our stewardship and care of these places is critical today as we ensure their future in our changing climate.