WNY Land Conservancy, Champion of Stella and the Niagara Gorge, Names New CEO

The Western New York Land Conservancy, which in the past few years has spearheaded multimillion dollar restoration projects at both Stella Niagara and the Niagara Gorge, and is probably the most effective voice for the natural environment in the entire region, has named a new Executive Director, Marisa Riggi.

In just six years as the WNYLC Conservation Director, Marisa Riggi has led major conservation projects, and helped conserve more than 1,450 acres of land, including such high-profile forests as the College Lodge Forest near Fredonia, Mossy Point in Wales, and the Janet Gallogly Allegany Wildlands in Cattaraugus County.

“Marisa has been a vital part of the Land Conservancy’s leadership team since her arrival, and she has done a fantastic job steering our conservation activities. She has also conceptualized and championed a groundbreaking vision called the Western New York Wildway, our ambitious, long-term project that will galvanize our community for decades to come. Her vision and dedication to our mission is unparalleled. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Marisa at the helm,” stated the Board President, Kathy Bieler.

According to the WNYLC website, “Marisa was born in Rochester and grew up in Williamsville, New York. Marisa obtained a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Geneseo and attended graduate school at the University of Vermont where she obtained a M.S. in Natural Resources. After graduating, Marisa began working at the Northeast Wilderness Trust, where she worked for over 5 years to protect land in the Northern Forest region. Marisa moved home to Western New York in 2018 with her family to work at the Land Conservancy on making Western New York a more connected, and healthier place. Marisa is passionate about land conservation and wildlife, and enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and gardening in her spare time.”

“I grew up in Western New York,” Marisa said. “I developed my love for nature while exploring the woods behind my house when I was little, and now my husband and I are raising our two kids here. This is my home, and I consider it my life’s mission to protect our region’s forests, farmlands, rivers, and streams for the benefit of every living creature. Working at the Land Conservancy, being part of an amazing staff and community of people all passionately engaged in conservation, is an absolute joy. I couldn’t be more excited to transition into the role of Executive Director.”

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