Concord, NH —The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests announced Tuesday that Jane A. Difley, President/Forester, intends to retire from the Forest Society on Oct. 1, 2019.
“It’s been a privilege to lead the Forest Society for the last 22 years,” Difley said. “I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished during that time, and I want to thank all our members, trustees and staff for making it possible.
“But for me personally, I’m ready to spend more time enjoying the New Hampshire forests that I’ve spent 22 years helping protect,” said Difley. “And from the organization’s standpoint, I think this is a good moment in time to transition to new leadership. The Forest Society is on a stable footing with a great board and experienced staff.”
During Difley’s tenure, the Forest Society focused on increasing the pace of land conservation in response to the loss of forests to development. The organization’s 2001 strategic vision, New Hampshire Everlasting, called for protecting up to 40 percent of the land area in every town.
In the past 22 years, the Forest Society more than doubled the size of its conserved Forest Reservations to 56,000 acres and was involved in protecting more than 290,000 acres overall including the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters in northern New Hampshire.
The Forest Society played a lead role in establishing the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) and implementing a dedicated source of funding. The Forest Society also helped lead the defense of New Hampshire’s scenic landscapes from the proposed Northern Pass transmission line.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to thank Jane for her invaluable leadership and contributions to not just the Forest Society, but to the State of New Hampshire,” said Deanna Howard, chair of the board. “I don’t doubt that Jane will have us achieving great things right up to her last day nearly a year from now.”
Howard said that the Trustees will be convening a committee of the board to begin a search for a suitable person to lead the organization forward.
Prior to coming to the Forest Society Difley was the Executive Director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council. Before that she was with the American Forest Foundation as Vice President of Forestry Programs and National Director of the American Tree Farm system. She was also the first woman elected President of the Society of American Foresters, the national professional association for forestry. As a graduate student, Difley worked at the Forest Society as an intern.