What's New

MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program
June 28, 2015

Grant Information Session:

When: Nov 3, 2015  |   7 pm
Where: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Field Headquarters
1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA

The MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program (MHMGP) is designed to provide financial assistance to private and municipal landowners of protected lands to support active habitat management while fostering partnerships to encourage landscape scale habitat management and expand public recreation on conserved lands.

  For more details click here.

Land Trust - Agency Retreat Successful - view materials
March 5, 2015

Save the Date!

The 13th Annual Land Trust - State Agency Retreat
Harvard Forest, Petersham, MA
Thursday, April 30, 9am - 5pm (dinner to follow)
Friday, May 1, 8:30am - noon

Our thanks to all who attended the 13th Annual Land Trust - State Agency Retreat at Harvard Forest in Petersham. We had a great turnout, and engaged in some lively and important discussions. 

Many thanks to those who gave presentations at this year's retreat. To see the list of presentations, the agenda is available here

Many presentations are available online:

  Next Phase of Land Conservation:
      -Connecting habitat into network for changing climate (Andy Finton, The Nature Conservancy)
      -Neighborhood park systems in Gateway Cities (Brad Buscher, Groundwork Lawrence)
      -Connecting open space for outdoor recreation legacy (Gary Briere, River's Edge Cycling)
      -Vision of farm conservation future (Cris Coffin, American Farmland Trust)

  Restoration and Conservation Working Together
      -Farm and cranberry bog restoration (Bob Wilber, Mass Audubon)
      -Cape Cod "undevelopment" (Mark Robinson, The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts)
      -Montague "undevelopment" (Rich Hubbard, Franklin Land Trust)
      -Flow restoration projects (Tim Purington, Div of Environmental Restoration)

  Stewardship Innovations at TTOR (Tom O'Shea, The Trustees of Reservations)

2015 Mass Land Conservation Conference Materials
February 27, 2015

Plenary Speakers

    Congressman James P. McGovern
    MA Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton

   All Speakers Biographies

# Workshop Download Materials

Young Guns Discuss the Future of Land Conservation in Massachusetts

- Mark Robinson, The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts;

  Jessica Whritenour, Falmouth Land Trust; Mike Leavitt,

  Berkshire Natural Resources Council; Sara Wells,

  Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust


Farmland Access & Transfer: Opportunities for Land Trusts

- Kathryn Ruhf, Land for Good; Darci Shofield, Trust for Public Land


Managing Habitat Restoration & Visitor Impacts at Weir Hill
- Russell Hopping, The Trustees of Reservations;

  Joel Carlson, Northeast Forest & Fire Management;

  Kate Sullivan, Northeast Forest & Fire Management

1D Future Forests: Climate Change & Forest Restoration
- Colin Novick, Greater Worcester Land Trust;
  Julie Richburg, The Trustees of Reservations

Land Conservation 101: Where Do I Start?

- Charlie Wyman, Mass Audubon;
  Jennifer Ohop, Opacum Land Trust


Troubleshooting Land Negotiations

- Bob Wilber, Mass Audubon;

  Rob Warren, The Trustees of Reservations


Amending CRs
- Jonathan Bockian, Law Office of Jonathan Bockian;

  David Santomenna, The Trustees of Reservations





CRs not Approved by EEA- Perpetual & Enforceable?
- Deborah A. Eliason, Attorney; Irene DelBono, MA EEA




Pipeline Strategies & Article 97 Lands

- Leigh Youngblood, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust;

  Arthur Bergeron, Mirick O'Connell; David J. Singer, Attorney


Grants From Both Sides Now: Grant Makers & Grant Seekers Discuss

- Ellen Gugel, Grants & More; 

  Pamela B. Kane, Greater Worcester Community Foundation; 

  Katie White, Conservation Law Foundation;

  Bill Hinckley, MA Environmental Trust




Xs, Ys, Boomers & Traditionalists: Engaging Four Generations of Volunteers

- Illene Roggensack, Third Sector Innovations




Exploring Health Benefits of Greening Urban Landscapes

- Katy Walker, Health Effects Institute;

  Peter James, Harvard School of Public Health;

  Wig Zamore, Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership




Techniques for Engaging Urban Youth in Conservation & the Outdoors
- Samantha Lyon, Thompson Island Outward Bound; TBA


Rebuild Local Food System & Conserve our Communities

- Jamie Pottern, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust;

  Cynthia Henshaw, East Quabbin Land Trust; 

  Cathy Wirth, The Trustees of Reservations




Making Resiliency Relevant: Climate-Savvy Strategic Planning
- Sarah Wells, North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership;

  Chris Merritt, Sasaki Associates; Maggie Owens,

  MassLIFT AmeriCorps


New Visions for Integration of Forest Management & Land Protection

- Robert Perschel, New England Forestry Foundation; Kathy Fallon

  Lambert, Harvard Forest; Lisa Vernegaard, Sudbury Valley Trustees


Land Management, Stewardship & Outreach Using Web Mapping Technologies

- Jason Stanton, Montachusett Regional Planning Commission; 

  Angela Sirois-Pitel, The Nature Conservancy




Plan for Resilience: Prioritization & Conservation Tools
- Andy Finton, The Nature Conservancy; Valerie Massard, Mass Audubon;

  Christa Collins, Sudbury Valley Trustees;

  Dan Stimson, Sudbury Valley Trustees




EEA Partnerships & Funding Opportunities

- Melissa Cryan, MA EEA; Celia Riechel, MA EEA




Mock Trial of a CR Violation

- Elizabeth Wroblicka, Esq; William Constable, Lincoln Land Trust;

  Ray Lyons, Attorney; Rob Warren, The Trustees of Reservations;

  Sally Loomis, Hilltown Land Trust


The Nitty Gritty of CRs, Step by Step

- Irene DelBono, MA EEA


Got Land? Creative Ways to Promote Properties & Engage Supporters

- Ryan Mann, Westport Land Trust; Mary Williamson, Essex County  


2K Conservation Leadership: A Small Group of Committed Citizens CAN Change the World
- Kathy Sferra, Stow Conservation

Escaping the Four Walls: Urban Hiking & the East Side Trail- Outdoor Hike
- Colin Novick, Greater Worcester Land Trust; Gene Tivnan, Beals &



Park Equity & the Role of Urban Greenways

- Brad Buschur, Groundwork Lawrence; Nina Brown, Brown,

  Richardson & Rowe


Personal Stories: How & Why We Do Conservation

- Leslie Luchonok, Environmental/ Community Consultant


Field Management: A Look at Managing Fields for Wildlife Habitat
- Laura Mattei, Sudbury Valley Trustees; Russ Hopping, The

  Trustees of Reservations; Amanda Weise, New England Wild

  Flower Society


Using Ecological Integrity & Conductance to Prioritize Land for Conservation

- Scott Jackson, UMASS Amherst


Understanding the Ch. 61 Programs & Their Role in Conservation
- Paul Catanzaro, UMASS Amherst; Jennifer Fish, MA EEA, 

  Department of Conservation & Recreation


Today's Topics in Conservation Law

- Moderator: Buzz Constable, Lincoln Land Conservation Trust

  Panelists: Irene DelBono, MA EEA; Kathy Orlando, Attorney; 

  Jonathan Bockian, Law Office of Jonathan Bockian; Brian Beaton,

  Bowditch & Dewey


2015 Property Tax Exemption Primer

- Ray Lyons, Attorney; Nikki McKoon, Mass Audubon




Analyzing your Fundraising Special Events: Cash Cow or Sinkhole?

- Illene Roggensack, Third Sector Innovations


88 Ways to Make Your Land Trust Stronger

- Kevin Case, Land Trust Alliance; Jen Ohop, Opacum Land Trust


Planting Trees to Save Energy, Reduce Stormwater & Improve Neighborhoods

- Mat Cahill, MA EEA; Celia Riechel, MA EEA, Bob O'Connor, MA EEA


Land Legacy & Key Sites Public Land Management and Stewardship

- Jonathan Regosin, MA Division of Fisheries & Wildlife; 

  Craig MacDonnell, MassWildlife



Maine Supreme Court Affirms Property Tax Exemption for Land Trust
August 7, 2014

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that land conservation is a charitable purpose under the Maine Property Tax Exemption statute.  The ruling settles a dispute between the Town of Limington and Francis Small Heritage Trust (FSHT) regarding the property tax exempt eligibility of FSHT's preserves.

This ruling adds to the body of precedent set by the Massachusetts Supreme Court's decision in the New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) v Town of Hawley case.

Read Maine decision here.

Deadline for Submitting CRs for Tax Purposes Oct 15th
Irene DelBono
August 1, 2014


Hello Everyone,

Once again it’s that time of year when I need to set a deadline for submission of CRs for income tax purposes so that I can manage the volume and ensure that everyone gets their CRs back in time. The deadline is October 15th. Read guidelines and tips.


Evironmental Bond Bill Signed by Governor Patrick
July 28, 2014

$2.2 Billion Environmental Bond Signed

Gov. Deval Patrick signed a $2.2 billion environmental bond bill Wednesday that supporters said is an investment for future generations. The four-year borrowing bill authorizes spending on environmental restoration, land conservation and urban agriculture. A tax incentive for land conservation would have its cap increased from $50,000 to $75,000 under the new law. The compromise bill provides funding for what officials have said would be a $65 million state contribution toward a $300 million project dredging Boston Harbor to allow larger ships to use terminals. New Bedford Harbor would also receive $35 million in state funding earmarked for a federal dredging project. Urban agriculture programs could see $8 million in funding and up to $111.2 million would be used to fund the cleanup and development of recreation areas in populous areas with limited access to parks. During a bill-signing ceremony at the State House, Patrick said he was proud to sign the legislation that would allow the state to have a “green future and a strong economy.” Sen. Marc Pacheco, co-chair of the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee, said the bill authorizing investments in environmental projects “will truly be an investment in the air that we breathe, the water we drink, and the land that we walk on that produces the food that we all consume here in this great Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” The governor in his final term asked lawmakers to advance more than $20 billion in long-term borrowing bills and the proposals, while redrafted, were all shipped back to him to become laws.
- C. Quinn, State House News Service

View full text here

View land protection funding chart here


SJC Rules in Favor of New England Forestry Foundation
May 24, 2014

On May 15th, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) issued its decision in the New England Forestry Foundation vs. Town of Hawley case. It was a unanimous and clear-cut victory for continued property tax exemption for legitimate land trusts.

Read the SJC decision here

Read an annotated summary of the decision here
prepared by Mark Robinson, Mass Land Trust Coalition board member and Executive Director of the Compact  of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts.

Mass Land Trust Coalition and Land Trust Alliance Amicus Brief here

New EEA Land Report Released
April 21, 2014

The Patrick Administration’s unprecedented investment of $280 million in land conservation resulted in the permanent protection of 100,000 acres of land the creation of 150 new parks across the Commonwealth.  This report tells the story of how a grass roots effort of hundreds of people, land trusts and municipalities conserved parks and greenspaces that are within a ten-minute walk for nearly 1.5 million people or 23% of our residents. The Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs provided 1,200 grants to municipalities and land trusts and EEA’s agencies - DAR, DCR and DFG - completed hundreds of conservation acquisitions.

View Report

MLTC Spring Steering Committee Meeting - May 16
April 13, 2014

MLTC Steering Committee Spring Meeting
Friday, May 16, 2014 , 12:15 pm - 3 pm
Location - UMass Medical School, South Street, Shrewsbury

                   Directions here  

Massachusetts Land Trusts, Coalition Members and Friends,

All Massachusetts Land Trusts, MLTC Member organizations and Friends are encouraged to send a representative and participate in the Mass. Land Trust Coalition Steering Committee Meetings. All state and Federal agency personnel active in Massachusetts land protection are cordially invited, as well.

View Steering Committee meeting minutes:
Feb 16, 2014 Minutes
May 16, 2014 Minutes

Materials from February Annual Meeting:
-View candidates elected to Board of Trustees for 2014 here
-View materials on the new Mass OHV Law here
-View letter on proposed pipeline here.

2014 Steering Committee meeting dates:

Friday, May 16, 2014
Friday, September 12, 2014
Friday, November 21, 2014


Suggestion For Those Doing Spring Stewardship
March 1, 2014

A bonus for those hours pulling garlic mustard...

Handout and Recipe

with thanks to Amy Janovsky

Return on Investment in Parks & Open Space - Get report!
January 18, 2014

Yesterday, the MA conservation community held an event at the State House to announce the release of a report: “The Return on Investment in Parks and Open Space in Massachusetts” authored by the Trust for Public Land and funded by over 25 conservation NGOs.

Highlights from the report:

  • For every $1 invested in land conservation, $4 in natural goods and services is returned to the Massachusetts economy.
  • Visitors to Massachusetts spend an estimated $16.9 billion each year and generate $1.1 billion in state and local taxes. The total economic impact of this travel is $26.9 billion. Tourism supports nearly 125,000 jobs, which provides $3.63 billion in wages per year.
  • Outdoor recreation generates $10 billion in consumer spending, $739 million in state and local tax revenue, 90,000 jobs, and $3.5 billion in wages and salaries each year in the state.
  • Agriculture, forestry, commercial fishing, and related processing activity are responsible for $13 billion in output, and 147,000 jobs in Massachusetts.

Over 100 attendees -- ranging from state elected officials to agency leaders to conservation organizations -- heard statewide leaders from business, environmental agencies, municipalities and land conservation organizations, including:

    Representative Anne Gobi, Chair, Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture
    Secretary Rick Sullivan, Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs
    Mayor Lisa Wong, City of  Fitchburg
    Will Manzer, Board Member, Outdoor Industry Association
    Bob Perschel, Executive Director, New England Forestry Foundation


        Report Summary here
        Complete Report: here
        Photos of the event here

Also see:
        Sample Outreach Letter
        Press Release
        State House News Service article

The Commonwealth Conservation Council will be using this data and other compelling information to make a strong case for the Environmental Bond – a $911M piece of legislation that will provide capital funds for the next four years for land acquisition, aquatic restoration and air and water quality testing (among a myriad of programs).     

12th Annual Land Trust - Agency Retreat, Feb 2014
January 17, 2014


The 12th Annual Land Trust - State Agency Retreat was held:

    When:   Thursday, Feb 6, 2014   9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
                  Friday, Feb 7, 2014  8:30 AM - 12 noon
     Where: Harvard Forest, Petersham, MA
     Cost:    Free

Over 50 representatives from land trusts and state agencies attended this two-day event.
Final agenda available here.  

How to Communicate Effectively to Build Support for Conservation
March 18, 2013

This report contains recommendations for communicating effectively to build support for conservation, based on a representative national survey of American voters commissioned by The Nature Conservancy in 2012 and conducted by a bipartisan research team: Democratic polling firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates and Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies.

Download report here.

Also of interest is the paper, "What Public Opinion Research Tells Us About Conservation Communications" by the Steve Alexander Group, available here.

2013 Mass Land Conservation Conference Materials
March 17, 2013

Plenary Keynote Speaker 

Catherine Tumber, author of Small, Gritty, and Green: The Promise of America’s Smaller Industrial Cities in a Low-Carbon World (MIT Press, 2012).
Catherine Tumber presentation 

Biographies of Conference Presenters

Workshop Materials

1C. Effective Effective Legislative Advocacy for Conservation
Karen Heyman, Mass Audubon; Steve Long, The Nature Conservancy
       Advocacy and Influence Presentation (pdf)

1D. Speed Visioning II: Updating the Conservation Vision from 2010
Bob O’Connor, MA EOEEA; Kurt Gaertner, MA EOEEA; Bob Wilber, Mass Audubon
       2010 Conservation  Vision Write-up (pdf)
       2013 Conservation Vision Write-up (pdf) 

1E. Baseline Documentation Reports for Effective CR Stewardship
       Andrew Bentley, Sally Naser, The Trustees of Reservations
       Baseline Documentation Presentation (pdf)     
       Report Contents Outline (pdf)
       Property Conditions Report (pdf)
       Property Conditions Update Report (pdf)

1F.  Integrated Management for Invasive Plants & Identification with Go Botany
Elizabeth Farnsworth, NE Wildflower Society; Lincoln Fish, Bay State Forestry Service
       Integrated Management Presentation (pdf)
       Go Botany Presentation (pdf)
       Go Botany Brochure (pdf)
       Invasive Plant Exercise

1H. Basics of Planning & Funding Land Protection Projects
Christa Collins, Sudbury Valley Trustees; David Santomenna, Essex County Greenbelt
      Basics of Planning & Funding Presentation (pdf)

1I.  Amending Conservation Restrictions: Can Something Perpetual Change? 
      Jonathan Bockian, Robert Levite
      Amending Conservation Restrictions Presentation (pdf)
      Amending Conservation Restrictions Paper (pdf)

1J. Property Tax Exemptions for Land Held by Land Trusts
      Ray Lyons, Attorney; Robert Perschel, New England Forestry Foundation
      Property Tax Exemption Presentation (pdf)
      Tax Calendar for Land Trusts (pdf)

1K. Small Land Trusts: Building the Tolls for Success
Charles Knox, Mass Land Trust Coalition; Rob Cardeiro, Land Trust Alliance;
       Erin Heskett, Land Trust Alliance
       Small Land Trusts Presentation (pdf)
       Observations on Small Land Trust Report (pdf)
       Building and Governing a Land Trust (pdf)
       Funding a Land Trust Handout (pdf)
       Newsletter Handout (pdf)

1L. A New Generation of Smart Growth
      Andre Leroux, MA Smart Growth Alliance; Ina Anderson, MA Smart Growth Alliance;
      Heather McMann, Groundwork Lawrence; Buzz Constable, The Trustees of Reservations
      New Generation of Smart Growth Presentation (pdf)

2A. Property Tax Benefits & Fiscal Impacts of Conservation
Sarah LaValley, City of Northampton; Jay Closser, LandVest
      Property Tax Benefits & Fiscal Impacts Presentation (pdf)
      Property Tax Benefits & Fiscal Impacts Handout (pdf)

2B. Raising Your Voice on Community
      Cormac Collier, Emily MacKinnon, Nantucket Land Council
      Raising Your Voice Presentation (pdf)

2D. Effective Enforcement of Conservation Restriction Violations
Chris Rodstrum & Sally Naser, The Trustees of Reservations
       CR Enforcement Presentation (pdf)

2F. Funding Opportunities at MA EOEEA
Celia Riechel, Melissa Cryan, MA EOEEA
      2013 EEA Grants (pdf)

2H. The Ever-Changing World of Donation & Valuation Substantiation Rules
Stefan Nagel, Law Office of Stephen J. Small, PC; Jonathan Avery, Avery & Associates
       Agenda and Contact Information (pdf)
       Donation and Valuation Substantion Samples (pdf)

2I. The Massachusetts Conservation Land Tax Credit (CLTC)
Irene Del-Bono, MA EOEEA, Paula Pariseau, The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts
      MA Conservation Land Tax Credit Application Process Chart (pdf)
      MA Conservation Land Tax Credit Application (pdf)
      MA Conservation Land Tax Credit Regulations (pdf)
      Compact Information Handout (pdf)

2J. DIY Strategic Planning for Small Land Trusts      
      Henrietta Jordan, Trailmarker Associates
      Do It Yourself Strategic Planning Outline (pdf)
      Strategic Planning Process (pdf)
      Strategic Planning Spreadsheet (Excel)

2K. And Now, Please Put on Your Advancement Hat
      Molly Fannon Williams, Philanthropy Consultant; Gabriela Silva, Wildlands Trust
      Audit Outline (pdf)
      Development Coordinator Job Description (pdf)
      Questions When Creating Development Plan (pdf)
      Sample Gift Tables (pdf)
      Wildlands Trust Development Committee Charter (pdf)

2M. Building Vibrancy: Creative Placemaking & Gateway City Green Spaces
       Ben Forman, Gateway City Innovation Inst; Liz Nunn, Loeb Fellow
       Building Vibrancy Presentation (pdf)

3B. Great Outdoors & Gateway City Parks  
       Stephanie Cooper, Kurt Gaertner, Melissa Cryan, MA EOEEA, Div of Conservation Services;
        Brad Buschur, Groundwork Lawrence
        Great Outdoors & Gateway City Parks Presentation (pdf)

3E. Administering a Deer Hunting Program on Land Trust Properties
Dave Rimmer, Essex County Greenbelt; Russ Hopping, The Trustees of Reservations
       Deer Presentation (pdf)
       Grafton Land Trust Hunting Policy (pdf)
       Greenbelt Hunting Fact Sheet 2013 (pdf)
       Greenbelt Sample Hunting Permission Letter 2013 (pdf)
       Medfield MA Deer Hunting FAQ (pdf)
       TTOR Hunting Policy (pdf)

3F. Organizing Successful Landscape-Scale Conservation Projects
Jay Rasku, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust; Janet Morrison, North County Land Trust
      Landowners Guide (pdf)
      Landowner Update Letter (pdf)
      Winchendon Springs Implementation Plan Summary (pdf)

3G. Legal Roundtable
      Moderator: Buzz Constable, Lincoln Land Conservation Trust
      Donation of Property 2012 vs 2013 (pdf)
      Common Law of Merger (pdf)


All Volunteer Land Trust Survey Results
February 16, 2013

Earlier this year, the Mass Land Trust Coalition asked all-volunteer land trusts to respond to a survey created in collaboration with the Land Trust Alliance. The Coalition wishes to thank the 73 Massachusetts land trusts who participated in the survey. Read what those land trusts had to say about their work, their successes and their challenges here.