The Board of Directors of The Trustees of Reservations has announced the appointment of Manchester resident John Judge as its fifth President and CEO, following an eight-month search for a leader to replace Barbara Erickson, who passed away earlier this year. Judge joins The Trustees following his role leading the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC).
As President and CEO, Judge will oversee all aspects of management for the conservation and preservation organization, which protects and cares for more than 120 properties for the public in perpetuity. Judge will lead the organization by setting strategy, advancing programmatic goals, fostering environmental innovation, and supporting a culture of diversity, inclusion, and equity. Judge will also work closely with the Board Chair and Directors to develop and nurture The Trustees’ outstanding staff and ensure effective governance and leadership.
“I am thrilled to bring my enthusiasm and appreciation for the outdoors to the depth and breadth of work that is The Trustees,” said Judge. “We are in a timely and unique position to be ambitious in our approach to historic, urban, and rural conservation. Our beautiful coastlines, waterfronts, agricultural land, and many cultural and historic sites are all a part of the fabric of Massachusetts. It is crucial to preserve these spaces and ensure that they are accessible to our entire community.”
Building community and fighting climate change
As President and CEO of the AMC for nearly a decade, Judge’s leadership has been rooted in community-building, increasing access to and engagement with the outdoors for all people and tackling climate change. He has long-standing expertise in conservation policy, outdoor recreational infrastructure, nature system services, and climate resiliency. He has long focused on welcoming diverse and urban audiences, with a focus on creative partnerships.
Prior to the AMC, Judge was the Chief City Planning and Economic Development Officer for the City of Springfield. During this time, he oversaw redevelopment in Springfield including various commercial and industrial projects and the establishment of the University of Massachusetts Design Center.
Judge received his B.A in Economics from Stonehill College, and his Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. He will begin his role as President and CEO after the New Year.
Since last fall, Jocelyn Forbush has served as Acting President and CEO of The Trustees, following the illness and subsequent passing of its longtime CEO Barbara Erickson. Forbush will return to her prior role as Executive Vice President of The Trustees.
“We have immense gratitude for Jocelyn’s stewardship through one of the most challenging years in organizational history including a global pandemic and the passing of Barbara Erickson,” said Peter B. Coffin, Chair of The Trustees Board of Directors. “The great work of The Trustees continues to embrace and reflect our mission to connect people to the joy of time spent in our open spaces. We thank Jocelyn for calmly leading through turmoil while ensuring our financial stability and retaining our valued staff.”
The Trustees now welcomes two million visitors annually, with its membership reaching more than 100,000 households and an annual operating budget topping $40 million. During the pandemic, the organization has welcomed visitors with increased interest in being outdoors to enjoy safe, enjoyable experiences across its full range of properties: from woodlands, to farms, to museums, to historic sites and public gardens.
“We are pleased to welcome John to The Trustees at a time when our shared future depends so much on our ability to connect with the natural world and with each other in healthy ways,” said Nicie Panetta, Board of Directors Vice Chair and Chair of the Executive Search Committee. “John impressed us with his passion for outdoor citizenship and his focus on making the work of The Trustees both accessible and inspiring to everyone in the Commonwealth. His track record of success as a national voice for climate and environmental justice will enable The Trustees to build on its existing initiatives in these critical areas.”
Judge is eager to help The Trustees become even more involved in leading the charge against climate change.
“Just as Massachusetts leads the country in medicine, life sciences, and biotechnology, so too are we a leader in solving problems related to climate change,” said Judge. “Through its work in conservation, preservation, and place making, The Trustees has the opportunity to become a potent national voice in addressing the climate crisis, and I am excited to be a part of it.”