Dave the Trailblazer

About a month ago, I attended a very nice event at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (aka, “my old school”).  While scheduled late on a Friday afternoon in the western part of the state, I gladly made the trek to Amherst – because my longtime friend – David Kittredge – was being honored. The well attended event was held at the brand new, and very “green”, John W. Olver Design Building on the UMass campus.  

Dave had retired after being a professor and extension forester at UMass for many years in the Department of Environmental Conservation.  Among many things, he taught a class in land conservation – the very first of its kind that I was aware of – providing a new “on ramp” for the field I had been so passionate about since graduating from UMass (Natural Resource Economics) in 1981.

Dave invited me, and a number of other experienced “practitioners” from the Massachusetts land conservation community to present case studies to his students.  I readily accepted, and returned to present to his classes for more than a dozen years following.  I did so to help advance this fledgling effort to provide academic training for the land conservation field, and to stay connected with the University.  I felt honored to be asked.

In the years that followed, it was great to see a number of the names and faces from Dave’s classes establish themselves in the land conservation field here and elsewhere around the country.

I give Dave a lot of credit for having the foresight to launch this training when he did.  His trailblazing instincts are also reflected in the fact that he founded the Massachusetts Keystone Program (formerly Coverts), a multi-day workshop in existence since 1988 to advance the conservation of forestlands.  Paul Catanzaro now carries both efforts forward.

Dave has been experiencing some health challenges of late.  I and many others send him positive energy/strength for that, and certainly wish him the very best.  

Bob Wilber, Director of Land Conservation