Scenic Rivers Land Trust’s Board of Directors announced Wednesday that Sarah Knebel, who has been with the organization for four years, will become executive director on Sept. 3. Knebel succeeds Rick Leader, who served as executive director of the Annapolis-based organization for the past nine years and announced plans in June to step down to become a consultant.
Leader hired Knebel in 2015 as Scenic Rivers’ Easement and Outreach Coordinator with an eye toward mentoring her as his successor. The group works to preserve farmlands, wetlands, forests and open spaces in Anne Arundel County.
“With more than four years managing increasingly complex projects and challenges dealing with land conservation, Sarah has the full confidence and support of the board to lead Scenic Rivers as we move into this new and exciting phase,” board Chairwoman Nina Fisher said in a statement.
Knebel’s promotion comes at a time when the nonprofit is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and recently reached the milestone of conserving more than 3,000 acres of land. Earlier this month, Scenic Rivers announced that it has earned national accreditation from The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, making Scenic Rivers one of only five accredited local land trusts in Maryland.
Knebel, who grew up in Severna Park, is the former co-founder and environmental lead for Oxen, Inc., which created a sustainable local farm–to–door online delivery service. She has a BS in Environmental Science and Policy with a concentration in Environmental Restoration and Management from the University of Maryland, College Park.