Jessica Sheffield to Lead Eno River Association


Durham, N.C.: The Eno River Association (ERA) is pleased to announce that Jessica L. Sheffield will join the Association as its new Executive Director on October 28, 2019. Sheffield succeeds Robin Jacobs who will retire after 14 years in the ERA’s top leadership role and six years on the organization’s board of directors. The search was guided by moss+ross, a Triangle-based consulting and executive search firm with expertise in nonprofit management.

“As the Eno River Association begins its 55th year in operation as a community-focused environmental land trust, we are thrilled to announce the appointment of Jessica Sheffield as our new executive director,” said Alanna Howard, president of the ERA board. “Her experience in the non-profit sector and in building relationships will be assets to the ERA. Jessica has committed her career to environmental education and demonstrates a personal passion for leading Eno’s next chapter. I encourage all members of the ERA and the larger Eno community to join us in welcoming Jessica.”

Jacobs noted, “In an area that continues to see unprecedented development, it gives me great satisfaction to know that our wild river and its protected lands will remain a constant. I welcome Jessica with absolute confidence that she shares a love of these lands and waters and is prepared to continue the Eno River Association’s commitment to protecting the Eno basin for generations to come.”

Jessica holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Education and Parks and Recreation from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and has 16 years of experience in environmental policy administration and program management. She comes to ERA from Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, where she served as Program Coordinator. Before joining the Nicholas Institute, Jessica was Executive Director of Schoolhouse of Wonder, where she led a 10-person team in providing hands-on science and history programs to 3,500 Durham schoolchildren each year. She also served a four-year term on the Board of Directors for Friends of the West Point City Park.

“The Eno River has had my heart since I moved to Durham in the summer of 2000. I am deeply honored by this invitation to join the staff, volunteers, members, and Board of the Eno River Association to further their impressive work in the areas of conservation, advocacy, and education. There is no greater, nor more important time in our environmental and political history to be working at the community level. I’m eager to pledge my efforts to the Association’s mission, right here, in our local watershed,” Sheffield said.

Since its founding in 1966 by Durham community activist Margaret Nygard, the Eno River Association has followed a mission to conserve and protect the natural, cultural and historic resources of the Eno River basin. Leadership by the ERA helped to create Eno River State Park in 1973. Since then, through additional fundraising and land acquisition, ERA has helped Eno River State Park grow to well over 4,000 acres and has helped protect more than 7,000 acres within the Eno River basin that include West Point on the Eno City Park, Penny’s Bend, Little River Regional Park, and Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, all of which are enjoyed by over 700,000 people annually. Together, these lands benefit water quality protection, biological diversity, wildlife habitat, recreational and education opportunities, scenic views, and productive working farms and forests.

Media Contact:
Alanna Howard, President (919)753-3904
Joe Liles, Board Member (919)451-4016