Drury Preserve Drury Preserve © Mike Condon (IG: MCondon1)

Stories in Massachusetts

Catalyzing Conservation in Western Massachusetts

A new fund streamlines land donations

On a drive through the hills of Western Massachusetts, it doesn’t take long to spot wildlife crossing road signs. These familiar sights are a reminder of the obstacles animals face as they move across the land. In addition to roads, animals grapple with crowded commercial and residential areas, shrinking habitat and climate change. As part of an initiative to offset such threats, the Conservancy helped protect a key route for wildlife in September 2016.

The Warner parcel in Goshen is a small but vital piece of land donated to the Hilltown Land Trust. This parcel protects a wetland and surrounding forest that create a pathway for wildlife finding new habitat in response to climate change. It’s also within the larger Berkshire Wildlife Linkage—a pathway connecting the Green Mountains in Vermont to the Hudson Highlands in New York.

Through the new Berkshire Wildlife Linkage Catalyst Fund, made possible by a grant from the Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust Fund at the Boston Foundation, the Conservancy is connecting parts of this linkage by offsetting costs for nonprofits offered donations of land for conservation. The Hilltown Land Trust was the first fund recipient, securing the Warner Parcel.

“The Catalyst Fund allows us to make a bigger difference,” explains Laura Marx, forest ecologist for the Conservancy in Massachusetts. “Filling the gaps between protected lands helps wildlife adapt to climate change in Massachusetts and beyond.”