Closing the Year with a Gift

Mass Audubon has received a generous donation of land next to West Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary in Plainfield, one of the Hilltowns of Western Massachusetts.  Small in acres, but large in impact, the landscape is entirely forested,  with a small stream running through it.  Conserving this property helps sustain inland flood resilience, as well as maintain regional connectivity for wildlife.

A forest of ferns on land recently donated at West Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary

The donor of the property, Tristan Arsenault, owns a home down the road and sought to protect these 2.2 acres in perpetuity – conserving the natural landscape and the habitat it provides for wildlife. It once belonged to Thomas Packard, a resident of Plainfield in the early 20th century and the founder of the Plainfield Historical Society.  Packard also owned the adjoining 42 acres which were donated to Mass Audubon in 1991.  Records and cemetery stones reveal the Packard family lived in Plainfield from the time of the Revolutionary War, if not earlier. 

Thomas Packard and friends on Governor Hill, building the new barn. ca. 1909 – 1. Cyrus W. Packard 2. ? 3. Tom Packard 4. John Dalrymple 5. Harry Packard 6. ? Courtesy of Plainfield Historical Society.

As 2020 draws to a close, the Land Conservation staff at Mass Audubon are grateful to be able to share the news of this gift and to thank all of the donors – past and present (and future!) – who make this work possible.

-Kate Buttolph, Land Protection Specialist