Kat Imhoff, president and CEO of James Madison’s Montpelier for the past seven years, will join the Piedmont Environmental Council’s conservation staff on Dec. 2.
Piedmont Environmental Council President Chris Miller announced her appointment this week.
While stewarding Madison’s scenic estate, Imhoff had recently partnered with PEC and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to place 1,024 acres at Montpelier under permanent conservation easement, setting aside more than two-thirds of the 2,700-acre historic site for everyone to enjoy.
As senior conservation fellow at PEC, she will apply her energy and experience toward identifying new conservation innovations for the Piedmont, the Warrenton-based conservation group said.
“Kat comes to us with tremendous accomplishments and a wealth of experience in the conservation and preservation arenas. She is well-known for her longstanding dedication to land preservation, smart growth and environmental protections, and has always been a leader and early adopter of innovative ideas,” Miller said. “... We are delighted to have Kat on board very soon.”
Well versed in issues important to PEC and already familiar with the group, Imhoff “will be able to hit the ground running,” he said.
Years earlier, Imhoff had served as PEC’s vice president for conservation and development.
In the 1980s, she led a labor-intensive process of having the Southwest Mountains Rural Historic District nominated to the National Register of Historic Places under the National Historic Preservation Act. The designation recognizes the landscape’s historic value and offers it some protections by providing a clear public purpose for landowners’ conservation easements, PEC said.
Any National Register nomination must undergo significant local, state and federal reviews before winning approval.
“The process that Kat led at that time created a strong sense of cultural and geographical identity within the community, and has enabled PEC to establish more than a dozen more rural historic districts throughout the northern Piedmont,” Miller said.
She has chaired the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, and served on the board of the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation and on the national Land Trust Accreditation Commission. Imhoff was executive director of the Preservation Alliance of Virginia, as well as the Commission on Population Growth and Development.
“With great enthusiasm, I am re-joining the PEC team, which has been setting a high bar for conservation not only in Virginia but nationally,” Imhoff said in a statement. “There is still much good work that remains to be done in the Piedmont and in our Commonwealth, and I look forward to contributing my share to that effort.”
She has been recognized for her conservation achievements by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Virginia Wildlife Federation, and The Piedmont Environmental Council.
At Montpelier, Imhoff has overseen restoration and refurnishing of James and Dolley Madison’s home, reconstruction of the plantation’s enslaved community sites, and establishment of a permanent exhibition, “The Mere Distinction of Colour,” that has won national awards since it opened in 2017.
Montpelier was the lifelong home of James Madison, Father of the Constitution, Architect of the Bill of Rights, and fourth president of the United States. It is a National Trust for Historic Preservation site.
Prior to taking Montpelier’s helm, Imhoff served as state director of The Nature Conservancy in Montana, leading its purchase of more than 490,000 acres in the Northern Rockies.
She also was executive vice president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and operates Monticello.