Meet Andrew Wheatcraft, New Critical Lands Director

The Nature Conservancy announces new head of land protection in Central and Western New York

Rochester, NY | January 21, 2014

The Nature Conservancy’s Central & Western New York Chapter has named Andrew Wheatcraft its new Critical Lands Director. In this position, Wheatcraft will focus on sustaining, securing and connecting lands and waters across the region, overseeing all aspects of community-based conservation.

Wheatcraft will help the Conservancy identify priority sites for protection, develop relationships with property owners, acquire legal interests in land and water, and create strategies that ensure long-term protection and sustainable management of lands important to nature and people. The Nature Conservancy’s Central and Western New York chapter has protected nearly 100,000 acres and owns and manages preserves totaling 30,000 acres in the Finger Lakes, Tug Hill, Allegheny Highlands, French Creek, Zoar Valley, and along the Great Lakes.

Jim Howe, The Nature Conservancy’s Central and Western New York director, says the hire comes at a pivotal time.

“To continue to protect and connect our region’s critical lands, we’re going to need traditional land protection strategies and innovative new partnerships and methods for leveraging protection,” said Howe. “Andy’s got the mix of experience and creativity needed to tackle this challenge.”

“It’s an honor to be joining one of the most respected conservation organizations in the world,” said Wheatcraft. “I’m excited to be putting all my efforts toward The Nature Conservancy’s mission of protecting nature for people today and for future generations by conserving lands and waters on which all life depends.”

Wheatcraft brings more than 30 years’ experience as a consultant and planner for private, government and not-for-profit agencies, most recently serving as Educational Facilities Planner for Rochester City School District—a position he held since 1996.

During his time at Rochester City School District, Wheatcraft was responsible for property leasing and acquisition, and capital planning for facility improvements across the District’s 7.1 million square feet of facilities. He’s skilled at analyzing public and private projects for their economic, social and land use impacts and brings expertise in negotiation strategy and the assessment of purchase agreements.

Prior to this position, Wheatcraft built a career in the Rochester area as a Land Use Planner, first for Monroe County and later for Phonix Associates/Clark Patterson Associates. His many projects included an analysis of tourism development opportunities related to the Seaway Trail in Orleans, Wayne and Cayuga counties, and a study analyzing the economic, social and land use impacts of agriculture in the nine county Genesee/Finger Lakes region.

But Wheatcraft’s interest in nature and conservation can be traced to the early days of his career when he worked as a Senior Agriculturist at Oklahoma State University Department of Forestry and as a forest researcher at University of Minnesota Department of Forestry. In these roles, he gained hands on experience analyzing forest management policies and the impacts of forest industry on local economies and ecosystems.

Wheatcraft graduated from McDaniel College (formerly Western Maryland College) and received a Masters of Forestry with a concentration in Resource Management from Duke University’s School of the Environment.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Kate Frazer
The Nature Conservancy in Central & Western NY
(339) 222-2014


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