Protection of the Lake Wentworth/Crescent Lake watershed takes a big step forward this year with the hiring of Karen Burnett-Kurie as the first Executive Director of the Lake Wentworth Foundation. The LWF, the sister organization to the Lake Wentworth Association, has in the past five years taken the lead in efforts to identify and manage stormwater runoff into Lake Wentworth and Crescent Lake.
Karen comes to the Lake Wentworth Foundation with a broad background in program administration, grants/funds management, and science/environmental education. She has extensive experience working with teams of volunteers and collaborating with community organizations.
In her new role, Karen will help oversee construction of the EPA-funded stormwater capture facilities on Fernald Brook; assist the LWF Board of Trustees with fundraising for the Foundation’s projects; serve as a liaison to town and state officials as well as to the Lake Wentworth Association and other conservation organizations; recruit and direct volunteers working on Foundation projects; and provide communications and outreach to the community.
Most recently Karen served as the Educational Program Coordinator at the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space at UNH. She organized programs that shared the Institute’s research with audiences of all ages, focusing in particular on NASA funded research and instrument development projects.
Prior to that, Karen worked at the Essex County (Mass.) Community Foundation as Grants and Funds Manager, starting as the manager of the Environmental Stewardship Initiative, which focused on smart growth. She eventually directed 75 funds, eight grant review committees, and the yearly distribution of almost one million dollars in funding.
At FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) in Manchester, Karen organized a far-flung network of 65 university and organizational partners providing robotics programs and competitions to thousands of students. She also managed grant support to teams, partners and competitions and recruited and supported hundreds of volunteers at international events.
Karen’s abilities in relationship-building, outreach initiatives, financial management, fund development, grant writing and reporting, and coordination of large, complex programs will be invaluable to the Foundation. Her record of improving organizational effectiveness through training, research, evaluation and management will be a great asset as the Lake Wentworth Foundation works with state and local agencies and the Lake Wentworth Association to protect the Lake Wentworth/Crescent Lake watershed.
Karen will work from the Foundation’s leased office space in Clark Plaza.