Betsy Aiken of Export has been named executive director of the Westmoreland Land Trust, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of open space in Westmoreland County.

Aiken, a well-known and long-time community volunteer, has served as a member of the board of directors of the Westmoreland Land Trust since the organization’s founding in 2008. She is stepping out of that role to assume this new position with the land trust.

Aiken has a B.A. and an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. Among her many local, county, and state volunteer efforts, she co-founded the Friends of Murrysville Parks; co-founded and leads the Murrysville Trail Alliance; serves on the Citizens’ Advisory Board for the Westmoreland County Department of Parks and Recreation; and serves on the Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee of the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

“We couldn’t ask for a more knowledgeable or dedicated executive director,” said Westmoreland Land Trust Chair Chuck Duritsa, who has worked with Aiken as a member of organization’s board for the past 10 years.

“It is important to me to do things that make a difference…that leave a legacy…and I believe that the Westmoreland Land Trust has great potential to do that,” Aiken said. Her first day as executive director is December 1.

Since 2008, the 10-year-old Westmoreland Land Trust has been achieving its goals largely through the volunteered time, efforts, and energies of some 23 board members. Board members will continue their active involvement, but having Aiken as the executive director will help achieve goals more quickly and comprehensively, Duritsa said.

The Westmoreland Land Trust has conserved some 235 acres in six Westmoreland County communities, including the Greensburg, North Huntingdon Township, and Murrysville. Its most recent acquisition was 28 acres in Rostraver Township, obtained in partnership with the Westmoreland County Bureau of Parks and Recreation, and added to Cedar Creek Park.

The Westmoreland Land Trust executive director position was created with funding from the Allegheny Foundation.