Tag Archives: Gift

Gift Protects 70 Acres Adjacent To “The Mount” In Lenox

A 70-acre woodland parcel adjacent to “The Mount,” Edith Wharton’s home and a National Historic Landmark, is now permanently protected thanks to a Conservation Restriction generously donated by the property’s owner, David Carver, to Mass Audubon.  

Partnering With The Mount

Becky Cushing, Director for Mass Audubon’s Berkshire Wildlife Sanctuaries, has partnered with the staff at The Mount for the past two years – providing free bird walks for the public on The Mount property and extending on to Mr. Carver’s property next door.  The Mount’s Executive Director, Susan Wissler, has been working closely with Mr. Carver for several years to protect this property and says, “This is a huge move on David’s part, and through Becky, Mass Audubon is proving to be an excellent partner.”

A trail on the newly protected property.

Protecting these acres will provide greater resiliency to the impacts of climate change in a relatively developed location – absorbing flood waters from storm events and connecting 14 acres of Lenox Township conservation land on Laurel Lake with The Mount and at least 1,000 acres of undeveloped lands around Rattlesnake Hill to the west.  

Trail Network

Mass Audubon and The Mount will work together on improving and maintaining the trails throughout the Carver property – enhancing and restoring a 6-mile network of trails for public access and recreation. 

“Our intention is to improve the trails, expand the trail network and reactivate wonderful old carriage roads that connected old estates,” Wissler said.  “It’s a marvelous opportunity, given The Mount’s interest in protecting its borders and Lenox’s interest in having open space and natural beauty preserved.”

“This partnership supports the integration of nature and culture, a theme strongly woven through the fabric of the Berkshires. We look forward to working with The Mount to connect visitors with nature through interpretive signage, trails and programming,” Cushing said.

by Kate Buttolph, Land Protection Specialist

Amazing Gift Protects Landscape with Historical Ties to Mass Audubon’s Founding

Generosity that inspires all who hear of it has created a new wildlife sanctuary in Concord, MA. Nancy Beeuwkes has donated an astonishing 143 acres of land along the Concord River to Mass Audubon—to be preserved forever.

It is a natural gem that includes a half mile of riverbank, spectacular views, forested upland, open field, diverse wetlands, and habitat for a variety of rare plant and animal species.

Part of a Constellation of Protected Lands

These 143 acres sit within a much larger network of existing protected natural areas including:

  • The 3,800 acre Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, a portion of which is located on the opposite side of the Concord River and running to the north and south.
  • A 1,200-acre area with conservation protections to the west known as Estabrook Woods.
  • The abutting 80-acre October Farm Riverfront to the south, a conservation area established by the Town of Concord and the Concord Land Conservation Trust in 2016.

Historic in Nature

In an interesting twist, this new sanctuary is a part of the original 300-acre homestead of William Brewster—noted ornithologist and Mass Audubon’s first president. It was his retreat from city life in Cambridge. He would often camp out along the river hoping to hear, or catch sight of, a bird that interested him. 

Brewster’s house, which dates back to the 1700s, will also be conserved.

While the property itself holds these notes of historic interest, the gift of the property is also historic. It is the largest single gift that Mass Audubon has received since it was founded in 1896, and one of the largest conservation gifts in the history of the Commonwealth.

In Brewster’s Woods, atop Davis Hill, looking down at the Concord River.

Future Plans

Brewster’s Woods Wildlife Sanctuary is not yet prepared for the public, but it will be in the near future.  The first step will be establishing a parking area and opening a trail system. Later, there will likely be educational events and programs. Some of these will be designed to explain how the resilience of conserved landscapes like this one can be bolstered in the face of climate change. 

We look forward to welcoming you to Mass Audubon’s newest wildlife sanctuary soon!