Why Heritage Conservancy?: An Interview with President Bill Kunze

The next edition of our “Why Heritage Conservancy?” series features President Bill Kunze.

When asked what prompted Bill to apply for a position at Heritage Conservancy, he recalled his early memories of falling in love with nature through birds as a child. Later, in college and graduate school, Bill studied history. To this day, he is an avid birder, amateur bird photographer, and enjoys reading historical pieces in his “spare time”. Further, as a leader in the land conservation movement for the past seventeen years, he has worked to protect the land for the benefit of both nature and people.

“Heritage Conservancy’s dual mission to keep our land and history alive resonates strongly with these two passions of mine. Put that together with the quality of the organization and the people associated with it, and this is a perfect fit for me,” Bill explained.

At Heritage Conservancy, no two days look the same for our employees, and being president is no exception. Whether Bill is at Aldie Mansion for meetings or talking to landowners at their beautiful properties, he is always working with people. “That’s how this work gets done,” Bill stated. In fact, when asked his favorite part of his job, he credited the people:

“The people: the staff, our board, landowners, donors, community members and leaders. I get to spend my days working with the talented, interesting, passionate people who are trying to make a difference in our part of this complicated world. That’s pretty satisfying!”

Through Heritage Conservancy’s dual mission, the future of our community is emphasized. With that, comes the responsibility of focusing on our organization’s future as well. Bill’s overriding goal for the Conservancy is to help it, and the community, answer the following two questions: 1) “What should land conservation and historic preservation mean in 2022 and beyond?” and 2) “How can we ensure that this mission endures, and that the organization that serves it continues to thrive as an exciting place to work and as a trusted partner in this community?”

This type of strategic planning excites Bill, because, “It’s all about our hopes for the future and what it will take to make that future real.” It starts with one person and one project at a time. Bill enjoys meeting with landowners and supporters about individual conservation projects, because it allows for interesting and inspiring conversation about their own hopes for the future.

Here are Bill’s words as to why you should become involved with our organization:

“Heritage Conservancy’s mission is to keep our land and history alive. Our promise is that, when we take action, it’s forever. If you want to see our environment and community flourish, now and in the future, join us! It has been said that, ‘In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create, but by what we refuse to destroy.’ Our culture rightly places high values on new things, on the products of human ingenuity; let’s learn to place just as much value on the choices that we make to leave beautiful things as they are.”