After an extensive regional search, Westport Land Conservation Trust's board of directors has named Russ Moran the organization's new executive director.

“WLCT is thrilled to welcome Ross into this role,” board president Trip Millikin said in a news release. “We have found a leader with the vision to build upon WLCT’s past and lead the organization as we pursue our goal to protect the next 1,000 acres in Westport. Ross has the commitment to our mission and the capacity to guide us forward strategically.”

Moran is the general manager of Southeast Gardens & Southcoast for the Trustees of Reservations, a Massachusetts land conservation organization. He oversees all aspects of operations, public engagement and stewardship of 19 properties owned by the Trustees, including Haskell Public Gardens in New Bedford. Prior to this position, he served as assistant director of Parks, Recreation and Beaches for the City of New Bedford.

"I am honored to join WLCT’s team as executive director in service of the mission to protect the unique character of this historic community,” Moran said. “The land trust’s 45-year track record of conserving Westport’s special places and significant forest, scenic and agricultural resources is tremendous. I look forward to working with the community to build on these accomplishments far in to the future."

The land trust has four major land protection projects to protect more than 230 acres across Westport, as well as a full schedule of public programs this summer. Moran joins the trust "at an exciting time" and will start July 31, according to the organization. He lives in New Bedford with his wife and three children.

Since its founding in 1972, the trust has assisted landowners in protecting more than 1,000 acres in Westport. The trust is a private non-governmental organization dedicated to local land conservation. The organization accepts gifts of land and conservation restrictions on land, and assists farm owners in preserving farmland with agricultural preservation restrictions.