Conservation Partners is dedicated to promoting the preservation of land. Conservation Partners specializes in advising, negotiating, and drafting agreements to protect agricultural lands, natural habitats, and open spaces. The team has successfully completed a vast array of transactions involving conservation easements, land acquisitions and sales, and carbon projects; we have also successfully resolved stewardship issues that arise post-transaction. The work of Conservation Partners has resulted in hundreds of thousands of acres of land being conserved for the benefit of the public and in some cases for public use.
Conservation Partners’ practice ranges from legal services to consulting to employee and community training. We excel in providing our clients with strategies that are creative, economically feasible, and result in the long-term protection of land. Our strategies include assisting land trusts in securing funds from outside sources to pay for professional fees and stewardship endowments.
Conservation Partners’ principals are Ellen A. Fred, Misti M. Schmidt, and Eileen K. Chauvet, with Courtney E. Therien as Of Counsel and William T. Hutton consulting as an adviser.
Ellen A. Fred
Ellen’s experience in the fields of tax, real estate, nonprofit governance, and alternative dispute resolution allows her to counsel her clients in all aspects of their work. Prior to beginning her legal career, Ellen worked for several nonprofit environmental organizations, including serving as founder and Executive Director of the Humboldt Watershed Council.
Misti M. Schmidt
Misti focuses her practice on conservation transactions and regularly provides guidance to property owners and land trusts regarding the structuring, negotiating, and closing of conservation easements, purchase agreements and options, and carbon projects. She has particular experience representing landowners with respect to the myriad legal issues arising for rural land holdings and representing land trusts with respect to nonprofit governance and tax-exempt gifts.
Eileen K. Chauvet
Eileen enjoys all aspects of real estate transactions, from the simplest license to complicated, multifaceted projects and her heart lies in conservation work. Her extensive experience in these areas allows her to serve clients with creative problem solving and reasoned advice.
Courtney E. Therien
Courtney’s legal practice focuses on working with a broad variety of nonprofit organizations and joint ventures on entity formation, complex operational, tax, governance and planning matters, board disputes and mergers and dissolutions. She also represents donors with complex charitable gift planning.
Anne A. Hastie
Anne joined Conservation Partners as Office Administrator following a 15-year career in education, which included roles in teaching, materials development, instructional design, program coordination, and grant writing. She currently manages billing and accounts as well as all administrative needs at Conservation Partners. As a lifelong lover of nature and the outdoors, and because of increasing urgency due to climate change, she is very excited to be working in the field of conservation now.
William T. Hutton
Bill Hutton is one of the nation’s leading authorities on the tax and financial aspects of land conservation transactions, and is widely recognized as an expert in nonprofit and tax law. He has acted as counsel to both national conservation organizations and to local and regional land trusts. He has also advised individuals and corporations on the full range of income and estate tax consequences of conservation transactions, as well as on the tax and legal issues that confront nonprofit charitable organizations and their directors.