Elizabeth R. Friel, Executive Director

Elizabeth, originally from Maryland, grew up in Virginia Beach and Hampton. Her family spent time hiking, birdwatching, and sailing throughout Hampton Roads. This early exposure to the natural world led her to a career in conservation.  She has previously served as Executive Director for the Coastal Virginia Conservancy and the Northern Neck Land Conservancy. Early in her conservation career, Elizabeth was an HVLC employee, Board member, and Volunteer of the Year award winner. Prior to her land conservation work, she worked in urban planning both in Virginia and Maryland, serving as Planning Director for the City of Falls Church for 9 years. Elizabeth began her planning career in James City County. Throughout her career, her focus has been on conservation, community planning, innovation, environmental planning, and historic preservation. 

Elizabeth holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in urban planning and historic preservation from East Carolina University. She is a graduate of the local Chamber of Commerce LEAD Program, alongside many other professional accolades. She was recently selected for the Land Trust Alliance’s Wentworth Leadership Institute, one of twenty-five conservation leaders selected from the United States. 

Elizabeth has been a Board member of the Virginia United Land Trusts and past President of the Virgnia American Planning Association Board. Elizabeth has been an active volunteer with James City County’s Comprehensive Plan committee, Walsingham Academy, Windsor Forest Homeowner’s Association, Susan G. Komen Foundation, and a member of the Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg.  In her free time Elizabeth enjoys travel, hiking, reading, and gardening and spending time with her husband Patrick Friel and their adult daughter Eliza –Morgan Friel, who lives in Richmond. The family recently welcomed Birdie, a rescue border collie mix, who also enjoys travel and hiking.

Ann Heidt, Office Administrator

Ann Heidt joined the HVLC in January 2017, on a part-time basis as the Office Administrator. Prior to relocating to Virginia, Ann worked for over 15 years at the corporate headquarters of Little Caesar Enterprises, Inc. and during her post as Director of Marketing Services, worked primarily in marketing operations and convention and meeting planning. She worked on the National print and broadcast advertising programs as well as in-store promotional events and conceptualized and executed all the details of the Little Caesars Annual Franchise Convention for over 1200 attendees. After leaving the corporate world, Ann spent ten years volunteering in the non-profit sector, working with Habitat for Humanity on their construction crews rehabbing and building houses.

Ann and her husband, John, moved to Williamsburg in 2016 and are enjoying exploring the area and all that it has to offer. They have two grown daughters who currently reside in Chicago and Boston.

Emily Hinson, Stewardship Manager

Emily Hinson is the Stewardship Manager for Historic Virginia Land Conservancy. Emily lives in Williamsburg with her family. In the nine years she has spent in the area she has loved exploring by foot, bike, and kayak.

Emily’s professional background is in environmental conservation. After earning her bachelor’s degree in biology from the College of William & Mary, she moved to Annapolis, Maryland where she worked in environmental education and wetland conservation. In 2017 she returned to the Williamsburg area to work for the James River Association where she focused on habitat restoration, water quality improvement, and living shorelines. In 2021 Emily completed the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute through UVA’s Institute for Engagement and Negotiation.