Phil Wallis will become the new executive director of the Vineyard Open Land Foundation (VOLF), according to a press release from the organization’s trustees. He is expected to start on May 3.
In a text message, Wallis said he is excited with his new role. Wallis was previously the executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum before stepping aside in June 2020, and led that organization through its successful move from Edgartown into its new home in Vineyard Haven.
VOLF is a land conservation organization that’s operated on the Island for 50 years.
“We are thrilled with the timing and opportunity for VOLF,” Eric Peters, chairman of the VOLF board of trustees, said in the release. “Phil brings a wealth of land transaction and project experience, as well as knowledge and passion for the Island. We are fortunate to have ‘seized the day’ with Phil.”
VOLF projects include Sweetened Water Farm and Katama Farm in Edgartown, Pilot Hill Farm and Cranberry Acres in Tisbury, Nat’s Farm in West Tisbury, and Squibnocket Ridge and the Keith Farm in Chilmark. VOLF published the pioneering land planning guides “Looking at the Vineyard” in 1973 and “Martha’s Vineyard Byways Study” in 1976. More recently, VOLF has focused on the annual harvest of organic cranberries and renovation of its historic bog at Cranberry Acres, off Lambert’s Cove Road, according to the release.
VOLF is looking to work with other nonprofits, towns, and businesses to implement projects of high community impact on the Island, the release states. Its first focus will be the Vineyard Haven waterfront.
“This is a dream come true for me,” Wallis said in the release. “It will allow me to combine my entrepreneurial spirit, love of the Island, and project-building focus. I can’t wait to start.”
Carol Magee, the prior executive director for many years, will assist in this transition, and continue to work on the cranberry bog harvest and public education there.