New Marlborough Land Trust celebrates newly forged trail with 'Hike-able Feast' (copy)

In July 2017, New Marlborough Land Trust President Ian Devine, with his back to the camera, welcomes hikers to the opening of a trail at the New Marlborough Preserve. The 114-acre preserve is part of the 900 acres the trust's new executive director, Silvia Eggenberger, will help the nonprofit manage.

NEW MARLBOROUGH — A New Marlborough Land Trust member has been elevated within the land preservation organization. The trust’s board has named treasurer and board member Silvia Eggenberger as the new executive director, effective Nov. 1. She succeeds Martha Bryan, who led the trust for 18 years.

Board President Ian Devine called Eggenberger a “great fit” for the nonprofit.

“She grew up with dirt under her fingernails, and she has strong leadership abilities,” Devine said in a statement. “We are delighted that someone with Silvia’s expertise and local knowledge was already part of the Land Trust.”

Eggenberger will help guide the nine-member board, three seats of which are vacant. The trust owns and manages approximately 900 acres containing miles of public hiking trails.

The New Marlborough native, born and raised on a dairy farm in the village of Mill River, has worked for 30 years in the private sector, holding senior staff positions with Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge and the Berkshire School in Sheffield.

Eggenberger, an 11-year board member, seven as treasurer, looks to continue the work of Bryan and plan for the trust’s future.

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“Our current director has been working on relationship building with local small farms,” she told The Eagle. “Additionally, we are looking to increase our members and our fundraising efforts.”

Eggenberger also wants to increase use of the trust’s land and trails.

“[The pandemic] brought a record number of folks outdoors and we want that to continue through the stewardship of our properties. These are lands set aside for the community and part of our mission is to keep them accessible for all to enjoy,” she wrote in an email.

Land Trust properties consist of fields, forests, wetlands and riparian areas along the Konkapot and Umpachene rivers, wildlife habitat and agricultural land. Much of the preservation in recent years occurred under Bryan’s direction, according to Devine.

“[She] has been the driving force behind the Land Trust for nearly two decades,” Devine said. “Because of Martha, more land is protected and more people than ever are enjoying Land Trust properties. Martha’s work has benefited the entire community immeasurably.”

Nearly five years ago, the trust, in two months, raised $260,000 to buy a 114-acre tract, the largest single real estate transaction in the organization’s 38-year history.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com.