Barbara Erickson, Trustees CEO, passes away

The Trustees of the Reservations is mourning the loss of its CEO Barbara Erickson.

Barbara Erickson, president and CEO of The Trustees of Reservations, has died following a battle with cancer. She was the fourth leader of The Trustees, and had served in that capacity since 2012. 

“Erickson oversaw a period of intense growth and success at the organization,” according to a press release. “Among the list of Erickson’s achievements, several stand out: expanding the operational budget, launching new initiatives in Boston, growing philanthropy, increasing the audience base, and securing new, iconic properties.”

“We’re all heartbroken,” Sam Hart, Trustees director for Nantucket and the Vineyard, told The Times. “She was such a real leader and visionary.”

Hart said the Vineyard was dear to Erickson. “She absolutely loved and treasured the Vineyard properties,” he said. “She always made the Island team feel like part of the mission.”

“Barbara was an exceptional president, and led the organization into a new era with a strong vision,” Peter Coffin, chair of the board of directors for The Trustees, said through a release. “She will continue to serve as inspiration for all of us for many years, and we look forward to continuing the work that she began.” 

“In the fall, the board of directors appointed Jocelyn Forbush, executive vice president, as the acting president and CEO, while Erickson was on medical leave,” according to a release. “Forbush will continue to serve in this role.” 

“The board has total confidence in Jocelyn, and we place our support behind her and the executive team as they move the work ahead,” Coffin said through the release.

“We’ve gotten good leadership from Jocelyn Forbush,” Hart told The Times. 

Erickson, originally from Gillette, Wyo., is survived by her husband Peter Torrebiarte and their two children, Marcelo and Lucia, and two stepsons, Alejandro and Gabriel.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to support the future education of the children — 529 funds have been created for both minor children.


  1. No mention of the missteps and they are not small missteps in Edgartown between the trustees and Katama Farm. In writing a small little bio it is disingenuous not to mention this huge controversy that was going on at the same time. It does not take away from any good that was being done but it does give a clearer and fuller picture.

  2. With no question, Barbara was an inspirational and transformative leader for the oldest land trust in the world. Let’s acknowledge that capacity and the passion that she brought to the world, to Massachusetts and to the island.

    And then, let’s move forward with a similar passion with conservation solutions that work for the Vineyard.

  3. Walking through life is nothing like a bed of roses.
    Ya win some ya loose some and some you just pass by.
    Yes Mr Murphy thank god Barbara wasnt and the trustees aren’t perfect. If they were or had been then there wouldn’t be anything to have issue with….. How boring.

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