A. Elizabeth Watson, FAICP
Elizabeth Watson has been a lifelong innovator working to enhance rural communities and landscapes. She has devoted her career to educating non-planner stakeholders about the benefits of protecting heritage assets and to reinforcing communities’ capacity for effective action. She co-authored Saving America’s Countryside, the rural planning guidebook that inspired a generation of practitioners, work that included the groundbreaking listing of 25 square miles of Oley, Pennsylvania, in the National Register. One of her greatest achievements was leading the early movement to establish a National Heritage Areas system when just three existed; today Congress has recognized 49 of these unique American regions.
Elizabeth Watson is a principal and consulting planner with Heritage Strategies, LLC. She most enjoys working in teams to enhance great places, historic sites, and traditional communities through strategic planning and innovative programs undertaken by government and nonprofit clients. She frequently advises clients on enhancing their capabilities through civic engagement, board development, and fundraising. She is a co-author of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s book Saving America’s Countryside (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997, 2nd edition) and writer/producer for the award-winning film Chesapeake: Living Off the Land. She was a Loeb Fellow in Advanced Environmental Design at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, 1993-94. During the spring semester of 2016, she lectured in historic preservation at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design. She resides in Chestertown, Maryland.