Advisory Board

Advisory Board

Nancy Ailes
Nancy served as the Trust’s first Executive Director (2000-2013) and continues to work with the Trust in an advisory capacity. In addition she founded the Legacy Program to continue the work she began. Nancy lives in Hampshire County and has been a lifelong supporter and promoter of preserving land and water in Hampshire County.

Jennifer E. Jones
Jennifer served as CLRLT’s Executive Director from 2019 to 2021. Prior to joining CLRLT, Jennifer was a consultant to the Virginia Department of Forestry and Project Lead for innovative research to identify the challenges of succession planning for landowners facing the intergenerational transfer of family forest land.

For four years, she was a trainer for the Generation Next program, reaching hundreds of landowners. Specializing in addressing family dynamics, Jennifer has been a keynote speaker at various state and regional forums. Jennifer has held executive level positions at the American Forest Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, and Counterpart International. Jennifer also has held leadership positions at Defenders of Wildlife and Friends of the Earth, and as consultant with Development Resources Inc.

Brian McDonald
Brian retired from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and served on the board of the Trust from 2007 through 2015. Brian earned his BS in Biology from the University of Maryland and did two years of graduate study in Plant Ecology at WVU.

During his 28 years with the DNR he worked on the Natural Heritage Program, gathering information about rare species of plants and animals and their distribution throughout West Virginia. He spent two years describing wetlands around the state and was editor of a WVU symposium on “Wetlands of the Unglaciated Appalachian Region.”

Brian came from the Washington D.C. area but has lived in West Virginia since 1977. He enjoys nature study, construction and carpentry, biking, and fishing. He lives in Elkins with his wife Mary Ann and also serves on the board of the Randolph County Humane Society.

Will Keaton
Will is a lifelong resident of Hampshire County, West Virginia. He attained a Bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in 1993, and a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Akron in 1996. Since that time, he has been practicing law in Romney at the firm of Carl, Keaton & Frazer.

A lifelong hunter and outdoor enthusiast, Will lives in Springfield, West Virginia with his wife Becky and their two children David and Ellen.

Mike Rudolph
Mike’s family has lived and farmed in the Cacapon River valley for six generations. Mike is a full-time beef cattle farmer, easement landowner, and long-time Trust volunteer. Mike also sits on the Trust’s Cacapon Voices Committee, a group that directed the production of an oral history book entitled “Listening to the Land; Stories from the Cacapon and Lost River Valley”.

David Warner
David grew up in rural Southern Illinois, obtaining a B.S. and M.S. in Forest Ecology from SIU Carbondale. He moved to West Virginia in 1978 where he and his wife Ann, raised their two children. David worked in forestry and conservation in West Virginia, was the Hampshire County Service Forester, and started forestry consulting in 1989. A nationally Certified Forester, licensed in West Virginia and Maryland, he served on the WV Board of Registration for Foresters, the WV Outdoor Heritage and Conservation Fund Board, the WV Chapter of the Association of Consulting Foresters, and for many years was board president of the Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust.

A private pilot, he volunteers piloting for LifeLine Pilots, LightHawk, SouthWings, the Trust, and other conservation oriented organizations. In retirement, David and Ann returned to Southern Illinois and enjoy paddling, camping, biking, flying, and serving the Trust in whatever way they can.

Board Member Emeritus

John Gavitt
John was a member of the Trust’s board from 1999 through February 2008, serving as Secretary and Treasurer. He worked in Federal wildlife law enforcement for over 25 years in a wide variety of positions and duty stations, including five years with the United Nations in Switzerland.  After retiring, John spent 12 years providing outdoor guiding services on his 437 acres in Hampshire County, which is permanently protected by a conservation easement that John donated in 2000. John’s keen interest in protecting the Cacapon Watershed led to his decision to donate the entire protected property to the Trust, with the understanding that the land could be sold, and the proceeds from the sale used to expand the Trust’s mission in this critically important area of West Virginia. John had to step away from many years of active board service, but continues to support the Land Trust in numerous ways.

In Memory

Jim Baker

Jim was a board member from 2014 to 2024. A past president of the Seldom Seen Hunt Club in Morgan County, he was an outdoorsman with a passion to protect the land he loved – be it his family farm in Pennsylvania or his forested, mountain land in the Cacapon and Lost Rivers Watershed. This love of land was demonstrated by his very important 2013 role in protecting 917 acres of hunting grounds with conservation easements, to ensure future generations of hunters can continue to enjoy the land. We are deeply grateful for his wise advice, fresh perspectives, and his many helpful contributions to our organization. We will miss him dearly.

Willard Wirtz
Jane and Willard Wirtz came to the Cacapon River Valley in 1968, bought the “Old Davis Place” along the Cacapon River, just north of Yellow Spring, and protected it with a conservation easement. A founding board member of the Trust, Willard was a retired law school teacher, lawyer, and government servant. He practiced law with Adlai Stevenson II in the firm of Stevenson, Rifkind and Wirtz in Chicago and was Secretary of Labor in the Cabinets of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1995, he wrote Capon Valley Sampler a book about the beautiful Cacapon Valley. We miss him deeply.

Nathalie Black
Nathalie was one of the founding members of CLRLT. She continued to work diligently for the trust as the Secretary for many years.

We are grateful to Nathalie and those who had the foresight to establish Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust when they did.