Michael Lach, Executive Director
In order to accelerate and expand land conservation efforts in Harwich, the Trustees of the Harwich Conservation Trust hired Michael Lach as their first Executive Director. The position as well as successful plans for additional staff and office space resulted from a strategic planning process over several months during which the Trustees reviewed and refined their land protection and land stewardship goals. Lach, who had served over the past five years as the Trust’s Land Protection Specialist from The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, Inc., was selected unanimously by the Board. Founded in 1986, The Compact is a regional land trust service center that helps to acquire, preserve, and manage open space across Cape Cod.
Michael completed his undergraduate degree at Cornell University and graduate degree at the University of Massachusetts. He has also written environmental features for the The Cape Cod Chronicle and has contributed eco-travel articles to The Cape Cod Times. Michael has called Cape Cod home since 1976, and enjoys the outdoors with his kids.
“Michael has proven his abilities to lead and get things done. He has been an integral part of our biggest land protection successes and formulated our Save Land-Save Water campaign. He accelerates our land protection efforts on a daily basis,” said Trust President and founding Trustee, Robert F. Smith.
“Having been raised on the Cape, seeing the landscape changes over the past 30 years, and now raising my kids here, gives me profound motivation for making a difference,” said Lach.
Jane Harvey, Director of Development
Like many people who relocate to the Cape, Jane visited as a child, with early memories running deep. She spent summers in Cotuit with her family, renting a house thereafter until 2005. After her sons, Ryan, 24, and Christopher, 23, went to college, she decided to sell her now-too-big house in Holliston and move here permanently.
After leading fundraising and development with the Natick Organic Community Farm and with the Barnstable Land trust, it was important to Jane that she stay connected with the land. The position with HCT as Director of Development was just what she was looking for.
Jane says of the Cape, “Why was it so important for us to move here? My family claims that Four Seas Ice Cream was the draw. But after many long walks, peaceful car rides along scenic roads, and calming natural vistas, the lure of the Cape became clear. I cherish our ocean, beaches, wildlife, wetlands, and the charm of our Cape Cod villages.”
HCT’s mission of “preserving woods, water, wildlife, and our shared quality of life” is one that Jane whole-heartedly supports. She is passionate about saving special places, and we are thrilled to welcome her to work in this beautiful community.
Matt Cannon, Land Stewardship Coordinator
Matt Cannon was born and raised in Rhode Island. “Going on walks with my parents in the woods and at the beach gave me a basic sense- at a young age- that there is something magical about the environment in which we live.” However, “with the privilege of enjoying nature, comes the responsibility of caring for it.”
He continued on this path and graduated from Connecticut College, focusing his Government major in Environmental Studies. Complementing his education, Matt interned at the Attorney General’s Office of Rhode Island in the Environmental Advocacy Unit. After college, Matt experienced how communities can work together to protect and enhance our environment in AmeriCorps Cape Cod. His Individual Placement in AmeriCorps was with the Harwich Conservation Trust.
After AmeriCorps, Matt moved to Washington D.C. to attend American University’s School of International Service in the Global Environmental Politics master’s program. During this time, he had an internship with U.S. Senator Jack Reed, collaborating with the Legislative Assistant on Energy and the Environment. For the research assistantship, Matt worked exclusively with Professor Simon Nicholson editing journal articles and book projects on topics like the Fisheries, Bio-engineering, and Food Security.
Life brought him back to Cape Cod with a new mindset: “effective change occurs with local, collaborative efforts– think global, act local.”
Before being hired at HCT, Matt was working at Cape Light Compact supporting energy efficiency initiatives for residential/commercial properties. Now, he is very excited to get back to work in the non-profit world at HCT and CCF, preserving land. “Working with local leaders and dedicated volunteers will be an honor. I will be challenged every single moment and will enjoy serving my local community for the betterment of Cape Cod.”
Alva Chaletzky, Administrative Assistant
Her professional career included working at construction firms, real estate companies, and with the Barnstable Medical Corps through the Mature Workers Program of Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands.
Since 2012, Alva has undertaken diverse office management responsibilities for HCT including database entry, answering phone calls, registering guests for events, and many other critical tasks. She loves living and working in Harwich. “It’s idyllic, quaint, quiet and yet also busy with lots going on amidst so many friendly people. There are plenty of bike trails and walking paths along with all kinds of festive events throughout the year,” remarked Alva.