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Conserve, steward, and advocate for the unique rural landscape of the Eastern Shore.

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American Farmland Trust’s director to headline conference

Andrew-McElwaine-med (1)Andrew McElwaine, president of American Farmland Trust, will give the welcoming address at the 15th Eastern Shore Planning Conference, to be held Friday, Nov. 20, at the Tidewater Inn in Easton. To join the conversation, register now.

McElwaine has more than 30 years of senior nonprofit management experience in conservation, public policy and land protection. Before joining AFT, he served for seven years as president of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

McElwaine has an impressive track record in conservation, land protection, agriculture and public policy. As president of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in Naples, Fla., he helped to acquire easements on farm and ranch land through donations and purchases. He supported a successful campaign for a state constitutional amendment to reduce property taxes on lands with agricultural easements, and sought solutions to Florida’s long-term water and growth-management problems. He also successfully led coalitions at the local, state and federal level to restore the Everglades, improve water storage and management, and balance growth with land conservation. He acquired easements on farm and ranch land and oversaw more than 25,000 acres of easements held by the organization.

Previously, he was president of The Pennsylvania Environmental Council, where he worked to conserve land and water resources in the state, including farmland. He co-chaired two successful statewide bond initiatives that generated more than $1 billion in conservation financing, including substantial support for local and regional farmland protection. As a result, Pennsylvania became one of the nation’s leaders in farmland easement purchases. He also served as the lead contractor for the Susquehanna River nutrient trading program, which rewards farmers for implementing best management practices.

Previous positions include Director of Environmental Programs at the Pittsburgh-based Heinz Endowments, staff member on President George H. W. Bush’s Commission on Environmental Quality and Senior Legislative Assistant to the late U.S. Senator John Heinz (R-PA).

McElwaine earned a B.A. in political science from Duke University, a master’s degree in policy and history from Carnegie Mellon University, and a master’s degree in history from George Mason University. He spent most of his childhood years in the Tracy Place neighborhood of Washington, D.C., near Rock Creek Park.

McElwaine’s roots are not confined to the East. He spent most summers at his cousin’s family cattle ranch in Dubois, Wyoming, where he experienced cattle-raising first-hand and rode horses on the lands along the Wind River. He has two college-age sons with his wife, Barbara, an avid gardener of native fruits and vegetables.

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