Foothills Conservancy is pleased to announce the addition of Michelle Garey, Andrew Blumenthal, and Robin Brackett (pictured above, respectively) to its board of directors. The conservancy strives for board representation from each of the eight counties it serves: Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cleveland, Lincoln, McDowell, and Rutherford. In this new class of board members, Garey and Brackett represent Cleveland County and Blumenthal represents McDowell County.
Michelle Garey is the Senior Vice President and Trust Investment Officer for Bank of the Ozarks in Shelby, North Carolina. She has more than 25 years of experience working in finance and wealth management. Garey is very involved in her community through organizations such as the Shelby Rotary Club, Destination Cleveland County, Cleveland County Memorial Library, and the Godbold School of Business at Gardner-Webb University.
“North Carolina’s bounty of economic prospects and natural beauty is no longer a secret,” said Garey. “It is extremely important that we protect our natural lands for future generations and I am committed to helping Foothills Conservancy keep up the good work.” Garey and her husband, Lex, own land in the South Mountains that is surrounded on two sides by the South Mountains Game Lands, which were protected through some of Foothills Conservancy’s earliest efforts.
Robin Brackett is a State Farm insurance agent in Shelby, North Carolina and a former board member of Foothills Conservancy. He served as the board’s treasurer from 2011 to 2015 and has returned to the board for another term. Brackett lives on land that was his grandfather’s cherished farm, which is now a N.C. Certified Tree Farm and is enrolled in the state’s wildlife habitat improvement program. A frequent visitor to South Mountains State Park, Brackett became acquainted with the conservancy during the effort to add the Rollins Tract to the state game lands in the early 1990s.
“I feel that public land is the best way to preserve land and water resources of the unspoiled areas in our region, and that Foothills Conservancy is the means to identify and evaluate these properties and make this happen,” said Brackett. “I love being part of this organization!”
Andrew Blumenthal is a commercial real estate broker for Legacy Real Estate Advisors in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is passionate about land conservation, both urban and rural, and works daily to ensure that Charlotte grows into a sustainable urban center. Blumenthal wished to maximize his involvement with the conservancy after Foothills Conservancy worked to protect Blumenthal’s family property, the Wildacres Retreat in the mountains of McDowell County, with a conservation easement in 2017.
“I’m excited to utilize my experience in real estate, political fundraising, and marine conservation to help Foothills Conservancy continue its mission to conserve as much land as possible in Western North Carolina,” Blumenthal said.