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Meet Amah Mutsun Land Trust’s First Executive Director

New executive director, EkOngKar Singh Khalsa

EkOngKar Singh Khalsa, Amah Mutsun Land Trust’s new executive director

We are proud to announce that the Amah Mutsun Land Trust (AMLT) has reached a new milestone by hiring its first executive director and full-time employee, EkOngKar Singh Khalsa. Sempervirens Fund has provided fundraising, accounting, and project management assistance and served as the fiscal sponsor to AMLT since 2013, and we look forward to continuing to work with them as partners in land conservation and stewardship.

Khalsa began work with AMLT on October 1, 2016. He was previously the executive director of the Mystic River Watershed Association, an environmental nonprofit based near Boston. He has relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area to assume his role with AMLT.

Special Event
Attend Khalsa’s talk at Pie Ranch on November 5, 2016, from 2:00-4:30 PM, to hear him discuss future plans for Amah Mutsun Land Trust. Click here for details and to RSVP for this free event</a href>.

Khalsa says his top priorities are to strengthen the nonprofit’s administrations and to hear what the board wants to focus on. Khalsa wishes to grow the trust’s native stewardship core, a group of tribal members who undergo training on cultural practices and land management.

Over the past eight years at Mystic River Watershed Association, Khalsa led major watershed restoration efforts, coordinated with other partners and organizations to complete on-the-ground conservation projects, and raised more than $3 million in private and public support. Before his work with Mystic River Watershed Association, Khalsa managed a $155 million residential, commercial and mixed-use land acquisition and development portfolio as Director of Real Estate Development at The Hallmark Companies.

“We are very excited to have a seasoned and highly skilled non-profit professional and real estate executive lead our land trust. We have to get back to caring for the land and indigenous land stewardship maybe the best way to create a healthy, resilient, and sustainable nature landscape for all to experience and enjoy,” says Val Lopez, chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and the land trust’s board president. “The Creator never rescinded our obligation to do that and with EK as our new staff leader, we are confident that we can expand our land stewardship activities while sharing what we learn with others.”

AMLT was formed in order to conserve and restore Amah Mutsun traditional territory, the area between Año Nuevo Point and Pinnacles National Park. The land trust is dedicated to practicing indigenous land stewardship. Partnering with UC Berkeley and other groups, AMLT conducts archaeological and ecological research. The land trust aims to gain and preserve knowledge of how native people lived and managed the land.

“I am humbled and very proud to be the Amah Mutsun Land Trust’s first executive director. It is my prayer that I can provide strong support for the Land Trust’s important mission,” Khalsa says. “What an extraordinary moment it is for the Tribe and for its vision for the future. I look forward to working with Chairman Lopez, the Land Trust directors and associates, the Tribal Council, and our many partners and friends to demonstrate the benefits of indigenous land stewardship, protecting sacred sites, and connecting people, especially native people, to the places they call home.”

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