LandTrust names new operations and communications director

Published 1:41 pm Thursday, January 28, 2016

The LandTrust for Central North Carolina has named Alicia Vasto as its operations and communications director. The LandTrust, which is headquartered in Salisbury, is responsible for the stewardship of more than 25,000 acres in 10 central North Carolina counties.

Darrell Hancock, Salisbury attorney and LandTrust board chairman, said, “Alicia comes to us with extraordinary credentials, and already has a track record with us as AmeriCorps outreach and stewardship coordinator. She will hit the ground running.”

Vasto grew up in Adel, Iowa, and did her undergraduate work at the University of Notre Dame where she earned the bachelors degree in environmental science. She continued with graduate studies at Duke University where she received the master of environmental management degree in 2013.

Vasto interned with The LandTrust for Central North Carolina in 2012 while she was a graduate student at Duke. She was The LandTrust’s Conservation Planning and Management Stanback Intern and then wrote a management plan for the Low Water Bridge Preserve as her master’s project.

Last year, she joined The LandTrust as the AmeriCorps outreach and stewardship coordinator funded through the Conservation Trust for North Carolina’s AmeriCorps Project GEOS. While participating in the AmeriCorps program, she coordinated the Summer Paddle Series on stretches of rivers in the region and helped coordinate the Uwharrie Trail Thru Hike — a four-day backpacking trip.

“Alicia hasn’t let any grass grow under her feet since she joined our staff,” said Hancock. “She has helped develop the Forks of the Little River Passive Park in Star where we have built trails and will put in a canoe access. She also ran the ‘Nature Inspires’ Art Contest for Rowan-Salisbury School System high school art students, culminating in a reception recently with a talk by respected environmentalist Jay Leutze.”

The LandTrust operates in a 10-county region – Anson, Cabarrus, Davidson, Davie, Iredell, Montgomery, Randolph, Richmond, Rowan and Stanly. “One thing I learned early on is that The Land Trust takes very seriously its obligation to manage its properties so future generations have the full benefit and enjoyment of them. In my position, I get the best of two worlds,” said Vasto. “I get to  ensure that The LandTrust carries out its duties and obligations in the most efficient and effective way so we maximize donor dollars, and I get to craft our story and make sure it gets told.

“I grew up exploring the outdoors, and conservation has always been near and dear to my heart. We must protect our land and water out of respect for the natural world and as a necessity for our livelihoods and well-being. The LandTrust provides unique avenues for private citizens to ensure their properties are protected for the future. Protection of these lands benefits not only them, but all of the residents of central North Carolina,” said Vasto.

The LandTrust, whose leadership is comprised of citizens from the 10-county region, offers options to landowners who want to save their lands for future generations to enjoy. Its mission is to work with property owners to preserve lands, vistas, key ecological elements, and the essential nature of the central North Carolina region as a legacy for future generations.