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Andrea Timpone, head of Elachee Nature Science Center, to retire after 35 years
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Elachee Nature Science Center President and CEO Andrea Timpone will retire in March 2021, the organization announced. - photo by Scott Rogers

After leading Elachee Nature Science Center for 35 years, Andrea Timpone, the nonprofit’s president and CEO, will retire in March 2021.  

Elachee made the announcement Wednesday, Nov. 11, explaining that its board of trustees has already seated a search and selection committee to find someone qualified to replace her. Timpone said she has been planning for her retirement with the board since fall 2019. 

“Elachee simply wouldn’t be what it is today without the many years of Andrea’s strong and effective leadership,” John Girardeau, Elachee trustee emeritus, said in a news release. “I have great trust in our board to identify and secure the best candidate to guide the Elachee organization into its next season. Andrea will be missed. We wish her happiness as she enters this new time in her life.” 

Timpone started at Elachee more than three decades ago as its first staff member, when the nonprofit didn’t have a building, just the Ed Dodd Trial. Her job was to develop education programs in the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve in Gainesville. 

Timpone shifted from her role as an educator to Elachee’s executive director in 1988. She has played a key part in many initiatives that have helped maintain the 1,440-acre Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve and boundaries of the Chicopee Woods Area Park Conservation Easement, in South Hall, according to a statement from Elachee. Timpone and others personally carved out the 8-mile hiking trail system in Chicopee Woods, which is open to the public daily. 

Through her leadership, she has helped grow the nonprofit into a destination for over 70,000 annual visitors. 

She recently received the 2020 Leadership Award for her “exceptional commitment and contributions to the nature center as a whole and her invaluable leadership at Elachee.” This national honor is presented once a year by the Association of Nature Center Administrators. 

“Those who know Andrea and her staff are very confident that Elachee is well prepared to move forward into a new and exciting future,” Jock Hornor, Elachee trustee emeritus, said in the organization’s release. “Elachee is a strong and vibrant operation due to her vision, dedication and hard work.” 

When her journey ends in March 2021, Timpone said she will miss those who are passionate about the work of Elachee, including the staff, volunteers and donors. 

“So many wonderful people have collaborated for the success of the organization — from the initial vision to the current busy place that it is,” she said. “I will miss seeing the children, students, hikers and visitors enjoying this special place in these beautiful woods.” 

Those interested in applying for the role of Elachee’s next president and CEO can visit application review will start Dec. 1, and the process will continue until the position is filled.