Meredith Hendricks

Meredith Hendricks

The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County has a new executive director with local roots, Meredith Hendricks, who was selected following an extensive nationwide search.

Hendricks joins the Land Trust at a time when it is pushing ahead several significant conservation projects; finalizing as many as 10 conservation easements, bringing the organization’s total conserved acreage to 45,000 by summer 2021, and seeking opportunities to expand community access to natural resources throughout the county.

“The Land Trust is more active today than it has been in its history, and Meredith is the perfect leader to take the organization to the next level in executing an ambitious strategic plan,” said Scott Van Der Kar, Carpinteria rancher and Land Trust Board of Trustees president.

Van Der Kar said the organization is growing partnerships and community relationships, and Hendricks’ expertise will be “instrumental in deepening the Land Trust’s role as an important community leader.”

Hendricks brings 20 years of conservation, land management, and environmental nonprofit leadership experience to Santa Barbara County.

Her work has focused on permanently conserving land for future generations and developing public open space within the urban environment of the San Francisco Bay Area, including seven years as the director of land programs at the nationally accredited land trust Save Mount Diablo.

“Everyone deserves to spend time outside connecting with our spectacular landscapes, now and forever. I love building community around land conservation for agriculture, recreation, and wildlife,” Hendricks said. “I am honored to join a dedicated team taking action to conserve Santa Barbara County’s important and beautiful spaces.”

Among Hendricks’ key career accomplishments is the creation of the Dr. Mary Bowerman Science and Research Program, providing small grants, especially to students, for research projects on Save Mount Diablo’s properties and protected land network in the Bay Area.

She also successfully worked on the expansion of the regional Marsh Creek Trail network, and was instrumental in resolving the 40-year fight to protect the last 95 acres of historic Anderson Ranch from subdivision, ensuring the property’s long-term preservation.

With her family’s local ranching history dating to the late 1800s, and her conservation background, Hendricks understands the value of the ecosystems that make up Santa Barbara County’s complex landscape.

For Hendricks, the opportunity to reconnect with her roots while working to conserve these unique lands made the executive director role at the Land Trust irresistible.

Hendricks said the project she most looks forward to is the Land Trust’s goal to create a signature preserve — like the Arroyo Hondo Preserve — for the communities of Santa Maria Valley.

Hendricks said she plans to explore how best to expand outdoor public recreation and access to nature in the north county by listening to the community and building relationships that authentically represent the needs of local residents.

Hendricks measures conservation wins in terms of benefitting both the natural world, the community, and the local economy.

Her commitment to equity, justice, and respect for everyone in Santa Barbara County is grounded in her belief that “people know what they want and need from the places they live and enjoy. My job is to craft conservation solutions that serve all living beings whenever possible.”

Since 1985, The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County has worked with community groups, willing landowners and other partners to conserve, restore, and manage open space, wildlife habitat, and family farms and ranches throughout the county.

To date, the Land Trust has helped to preserve nearly 30,000 acres of natural, working and recreational land, including the Arroyo Hondo Preserve, Point Sal, Sedgwick Reserve, and the new Rincon Bluffs Preserve in Carpinteria. For more, visit https://www.sblandtrust.org.