Mount Grace receives Mass Audubon award

  • Left to right, Mount Grace Board of Directors member and Mass Audubon member Lenny Johnson; Mount Grace Board of Directors President David Spackman; Mass Audubon President David O’Neill; and Mount Grace Conservation Director Sarah Wells. PHOTO CREDIT/EVGENIA ELISEEVA

Published: 11/15/2023 3:17:01 PM
Modified: 11/15/2023 4:43:09 PM

ATHOL — Mass Audubon named Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust (MGLCT) the recipient of its 2023 Allen H. Morgan Award during the statewide conservation organization’s annual meeting.

The award, which honors “distinguished achievement in the environmental arena, including extraordinary effectiveness as an advocate for the environment, or sustained efforts to protect a special location or category of locations,” is named for Mass Audubon’s sixth President (1959-80). Morgan led the organization to embrace the nascent environmental movement in the 1960s while guiding it to achieve the 10,000-acre milestone in open space acquired.

Athol-based Mount Grace, which has taken part in land protection efforts in North Central Massachusetts since its founding in 1986, has collaborated with Mass Audubon on multiple projects.

Most recently, the organizations partnered to complete the Greater Gales Brook Conservation Project—involving land parcels in the towns of Orange, Warwick and Royalston—to protect more than 700 acres of habitats within the Millers River Watershed. MGLCT and Mass Audubon are currently working with other land trusts on the Hawes Hill Conservation Corridor Project, which will conserve nearly 1,000 acres across multiple properties in the Town of Barre, east of the Quabbin Reservoir.

“Land conservation is widely understood to be the most critical natural solution to mitigate climate change and protect our fragile biodiversity,” Mount Grace Executive Director Emma Ellsworth said. “The 23 towns of the Mount Grace region represent one of the few places in Massachusetts where we have a combination of thousands of acres of unprotected forest and farmland, passionate landowners, and relative affordability.”

“Mount Grace shares our commitment to landscape-scale projects that enhance climate resilience and strengthen migration corridors for increasingly vulnerable wildlife,” Mass Audubon Senior Director of Land Conservation David Santomenna said. “From our own positive experiences in working with Mount Grace’s terrific staff and volunteers, we could not choose a more worthy recipient of the Allen H. Morgan Award.”

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