Announcing my new position

It is official, I am now the new Executive Director of Westmoreland Sanctuary, Nature Center and Wildlife Preserve.  Here is the announcement that went out to press (and some of that press here):


Contact:           Board President, Westmoreland Sanctuary

Graham Anderson, 914-234-4685,

MOUNT KISCO, NY (February 6, 2013) – Westmoreland Sanctuary, Nature Center and Wildlife Preserve today announced that Michele A. Miller, Ph.D. has been appointed its first Executive Director, effective September February 4, 2013.  The Executive Director is a new position created by the Board to focus the organization toward the consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives. Dr. Miller will work with the Board to increase the public’s awareness and engagement with the nature center and its facilities through increased programming, events and other outreach.   Westmoreland’s new Executive Director will also work with the Board and current staff to oversee the renovation of Westmoreland’s Museum and Nature Center, develop and implement a long-term plan for land conservation and use, and establish a plan for acquisition and preservation of additional land parcels.

“I thank Westmoreland’s Board of Trustees for this exciting opportunity to lead the organization toward a period of revitalization and growth,” said Dr. Miller.  “Despite its centralized location, spectacular properties and long-standing wildlife education and conservation programs, the Sanctuary remains an underutilized gem.  But in our increasingly structured and developed world, there is an ever increasing need for ways that children and adults can interact with nature.  My goal is to invigorate our outreach and programming to serve larger and more diverse populations from the immediate community and beyond.”


“We welcome Michele Miller as Westmoreland’s new Executive Director,” said Board President Graham Anderson. “Her experience in not-for-profit administration and fundraising, her volunteer activities in the community, and her energy and enthusiasm for educating the public about nature made her our unanimous choice for this position.”  Mr. Anderson continued, “I would like to thank the search committee and the Board of Trustees for their hard work throughout the selection process.  We had scores of distinguished applicants from around the country and this was a decision made only through many hours of research and deliberation.  Hiring Dr. Miller is the highlight of a process of transformation at Westmoreland that began two years ago and continues today.”


Michele A. Miller has had numerous development and administrative positions with not-for-profits, including The Women’s Project Theatre in New York City, where she was responsible for all aspects of fundraising for a ca. $1 million annual budget and $6.5 million capital campaign, as well as at the Poetry Society of America and Selfhelp Community Services.   She moved to the Bedford area eight years ago after the birth of her oldest son, and has become deeply committed to the well-being of the community, serving on town advisory boards and school boards.  An avid gardener, she has enjoyed sharing her knowledge of plants and nature with the students of West Patent Elementary School as part of their Learning Garden committee.  Dr. Miller received her doctorate from Boston University in Archaeology and has an M.A. and B.A. from Stanford University in Anthropology.


Westmoreland Sanctuary was established in 1957 as a not-for-profit nature center and wildlife preserve with the mission to “acquire, establish and maintain for the free use, enjoyment and appreciation of the public. . . tracts of land, including woodland and streams, as a nature sanctuary . . . to promote nature appreciation, preservation and conservation generally, for the present and future benefit and enjoyment of the public.” The Sanctuary currently maintains 640 unspoiled acres offering 7.5 miles of hiking trails that lead approximately 5,000 visitors annually past rocky cliffs, streams, ponds and fields.  Westmoreland also offers a variety of educational, conservation and recreational programs serving over 10,000 students of all ages every year.

A reconstructed 200 year-old building—formerly a Presbyterian Church in Bedford Village—now serves as the Sanctuary’s Nature Center and Museum, containing exhibits of flora and fauna of Westchester County, a bird observation window, and an auditorium for public programs.  New enclosures providing the Sanctuary’s live animals with more natural environments have recently been completed as part of the initial phase of a multi-phase renovation plan.  Other phases to be overseen by the Executive Director include a Nature Lab with a beehive display and discovery area and expanded and revised programming areas both within and outside the building.  The Nature Center, located at 260 Chestnut Ridge Road in Mt. Kisco, NY (914-666-8448), is open to the public from 9 to 5 Monday to Friday and 10:30 to 5 on Sundays.  Holiday schedules may vary.  Trails are open dawn to dusk.


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