CAPE ELIZABETH — Gearing up for a blooming spring, Friends of Fort Williams has hired Jennifer Scarpitti-Nelson as its new executive director.

In addition, board member Andrea Southworth was named part-time manager of the Ecology Project, which focuses on ecological health and sustainability within the park.

In January, James McCain, executive director since 2013, resigned to devote time to his landscape design business. McCain was the only full-time employee of Friends of Fort Williams.

As part-time staff, Scarpitti-Nelson and Southworth will handle the combined responsibilities of the former executive director, along with Dianne Manning, the development and volunteer coordinator.

“To me, it’s an opportunity to work in the community you live in,” Scarpitti-Nelson said in an interview April 20. “Cape Elizabeth is a great community – it’s small, it has beautiful scenery almost everywhere you go from the farms to the ocean.”

Scarpitti-Nelson, a Maine resident for 25 years, has previously served on the executive committee of the Cape Elizabeth Middle School Parents Association and as a co-president and member of the board of directors of the Cape Elizabeth Education Foundation.

Most recently, she was the finance administrative director for the Portland-based nonprofit Common Good Ventures/Lift360, and has had experience working with finances in both the nonprofit and for-profit worlds.

“We were delighted to have had several qualified applicants and interviewed several before extending an offer to Jen,” Board President Barbara Powers said in an email Tuesday. “As president of the organization, I look forward to having such a qualified individual leading our efforts and have already found her to be a quick study, asking all the right questions as she takes over the reins.”

As executive director, Scarpitti-Nelson will oversee the daily operations of the organization, lead fundraising, coordinate volunteers, and coordinate future projects with Southworth, Manning, and the board of directors.

“The opportunity to possibly work in the community that I live in is kind of amazing,” Scarpitti-Nelson said. “My kids have played Little League in these areas and they’ve played soccer in the soccer fields, and while those aren’t necessarily the projects that we work on, we have spent a lot of time here.”

With summer around the corner, the staff of Friends of Fort Williams is preparing for a busy season. A recently completed addition to Cliff Walk landscape will be open for its first full summer, while the remaining arboretum projects are still in progress.

In the meantime, Scarpitti-Nelson, Southworth and Manning will coordinate volunteers and day visits from schools and corporate groups, plan educational lessons on invasive species, and continue to find support to fund and maintain the current ongoing projects.

Jennifer Scarpitti-Nelson in the Children’s Garden at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth. Scarpitti-Nelson is the new executive director of Friends of Fort Williams.

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