Early Conservation Career Network

The Early Conservation Career Network (ECCN) (formerly Young Land Professionals) is a subset group of MLTC. ECCN was formed in 2017 to provide networking and training opportunities for those in their first 10 years of a career in land conservation. Currently, ECCN has members representing over 140 land trust and state agency professionals. The organizing committee works to move initiatives forward.

More about ECCN (PDF)

Join ECCN! You’ll be added to our email list where you’ll receive information about upcoming events and opportunities.

Email admin@massland.org to sign up.

Committee Members:

Mariah Fogg (bio), Berkshire Natural Resources Council, ECCN President  ~  Katie Carr, Kestrel Land Trust, ECCN Vice President  ~ Kelly Barber, Barnstable Land Trust, ECCN Communications Coordinator  ~  Olivia Lukacic, Trustees of Reservations, ECCN Events Coordinator  ~  Robin Austin (bio), Lincoln Institute of Land Policy  ~  Olivia Barksdale, Mass Audubon  ~  Stephen O'Grady (bio), Orleans Conservation Trust  ~ Thomas Patti, Wildlands Trust  ~ Rebecca Smalley, Essex County Greenbelt

View the recent Survey Results, including priority training topics, the mentor program, and top choices for ECCN resources. 

Mentorship Opportunity for Mentees and Mentors

This initiative – inspired by last year's member survey where many expressed a desire for continued learning and professional development through mentorship – is designed to match individuals based on specific skill sets, interests, and availability. The ECCN Committee of MLTC invites you to signup as either a mentor or mentee. For more information, and to sign up, please follow the links for Mentors and Mentees. Example introductory email form for Mentees.

Upcoming Events

Friday, March 22

Pre-Annual Land Conservation Conference Gathering
4:30 p.m., MacLeish Field Station, Whately, MA

Join other Early Conservation Career Network members for an evening of learning and networking before the annual Land Conservation Conference! We will hear from interdisciplinary artist, designer, and woodworker Gina Siepel about their ongoing work To Understand a Tree, which they have created while an artist in residence at the MacLeish Field Station. We will have an opportunity to hike the trails together afterwards, before gathering at a nearby brewery for networking, food, and beverages. Parking is limited; please carpool if possible. More details and register.

Past Events

Friday & Saturday, November 3 & 4

ECCN Overnight at Wildlands Trust Stewardship Training Center
Plymouth, MA

Join ECCN for a fun overnight outing at the Wildlands Trust Stewardship Training Center, from Friday evening through late Saturday morning. ECCN will cover the costs of Friday dinner and Saturday breakfast. There will be a small fee for those that wish to stay in a bunk room at the training center ($30), and a lesser fee to camp outside ($10). Activities will include a Friday evening camp fire, options for hikes or a service project, and of course – networking! Further details and register.

Saturday & Sunday, November 11 & 12

Wildlands Trust Chainsaw Training  Level 1 Felling and Storm Damage Chainsaw Techniques Training
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Stewardship Training Center, Plymouth, MA

Learn essential chainsaw techniques and felling principles to tackle storm damage. Bill Girard of Girard Hardwoods will teach everything from safety precautions to proper cutting methods. This in-person training is perfect for individuals who have basic chainsaw skills but are looking to expand their skill set to address some of the most common issues experienced by trail stewards. The first day will focus on the felling portion of Game of Logging's Level 1 course; the second day will focus on techniques for storm damage clean-up. Overnight lodging is available at the Stewardship Training Center in dorm-style bedrooms (registration for lodging can be found at checkout). Lunch will be provided; specify any dietary related restrictions in your registration. Program Cost: $250. Learn more and register.

Thursday, October 12

Accessible Trail Partnerships on Mt. Tom & Networking
3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m., Easthampton. Limited parking.
This guided walk in the Mt. Tom North Trailhead Park includes a 2,000 foot accessible path with a beautiful view of the Oxbow & Berkshire foothills. The result of a partnership between Kestrel Land Trust, City of Easthampton and Pascommouck Conservation Trust, this 23 acres adjacent to the Mt. Tom State Reservation created the City's first secure, public access point to the state park. Mark Wamsley, Kestrel Land Trust's Director of Conservation, will talk about how partnerships made this project possible and how volunteer and regional land trusts can be involved in increasing access to the outdoors for more people. Optional drinks, food and networking at nearby New City Brewery in Easthampton following the walk. Limited parking; see registration page for parking / transportation.

Thursday, September 14

MACC's Young Professionals Committee Kick-Off Networking Night
6:00 p.m. onward, Craft Food Halls - Revolution Hall, Lexington, MA
Are you within the first ten years of your conservation career in a conservation commission, consulting firm, or are from another association (like a land trust)? The Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions' (MACC') Young Professionals Committee has been re-ignited, and meets quarterly to provide networking support, professional development, and educational growth. MLTC's ECCN members are welcome to attend. Tuesday, May 23

Thursday, May 23

Foraging at the Acton Arboretum
6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Acton Arboretum Parking Lot, 2 Taylor Road, Acton, MA
The Acton Arboretum is home to over 80 species of edible wild plants, many of which are more nutritious and/or flavorful than their cultivated counterparts. If you're in your first 10 years of a conservation career, come join the Early Conservation Career Network and Russ Cohen, author of Wild Plants I Have Known…and Eaten, on a two-hour ramble through the Arboretum to encounter and learn about at least 18 species of edible wild plants and how they function in the landscape. Keys to identifying each species will be provided, along with info on edible portion(s), season(s) of availability, and preparation methods, as well as guidelines for safe and environmentally-responsible foraging. There is parking at the Arboretum; if the lot is full there is plenty of parking in the lot next to the Acton Town Hall and Library, which are about a 5 minute walk from the Arboretum.

Friday, May 12

Fuller Farm Walking Tour
2:30 –  4:00 p.m., Meet at Fuller Farm, 995 Route 149, Marstons Mills
Join ECCN and Barnstable Land Trust on a walking tour of Fuller Farm. Protected by BLT in 2012, the historic dairy farm is now being managed to support community partners focused on sustainable agriculture, provide educational programs for the community, and restore and enhance sandplain grassland habitat. Following the tour, attendees are welcome to transition to Cape Cod Beer in Hyannis for beverages and socialization.

Friday, March 24

Pre-conference Hike and Pizza at Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center
5:30 – 7:15 p.m., 414 Massasoit Road Worcester, MA

This evening before the Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference, we welcome you to join us at Mass Audubon's Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center in Worcester. We'll hear from Mass Audubon staff Deb Cary, Community Advocacy and Engagement Manager and Jenn Madsen, Regional Director, while enjoying pizza provided by the Mass Land Trust Coalition. We'll take a sunset stroll around Broad Meadow Brook, and all are welcome to head to Redemption Rock Brewery for local brews afterwards.

Friday, February 10

ECCN / MLTC Gathering - Winter 2023, Western MA
Ski/Snowshoe in a Boreal Forest and Climate Adaptation Presentation
3:00 – 6:00 p.m., Notchview Reservation, 83 Old Rte 9, Windsor, MA
Maximum of 20 participants.
Cost: $10 / day pass for The Trustees members, $15 for non-members. Cash or card. Some financial assistance is available. The cost of ski and snowshoe rentals and lessons provided by The Trustees.

Calling all members of the MLTC community! Join us for an afternoon/evening networking event hosted by the Early Conservation Career Network. Enjoy the 3,000-acre rolling terrain and 25 miles of groomed ski trails of Notchview Reservation on cross country skis or snowshoes. Come early if you want extra recreation time! Afterwards, join your fellow ECCN members in the wood-stove-warmed ski lodge for a presentation by Julie Richburg, Lead Ecologist, Inland Natural Resources at The Trustees of Reservations. Julie will present on The Trustees' forest stewardship plans for climate resiliency and adaptation at Notchview and across the state. ECCN will offer food and drinks during the presentation. 3:00 – 5:00  |  Cross country ski or snowshoe with optional beginner cross country ski lesson starting at 3:00 p.m. 5:00 – 6:00  |  Presentation by Julie Richburg, Lead Ecologist, Inland Natural Resources at The Trustees of Reservations.

Thursday, December 1

ECCN Gathering – Fall 2022, Southeastern MA
at the revitalized D.W. Field Park, Brockton
Schedule: 2:30 – Meet at the park’s main parking lot on Oak St.   |   2:30 - 3:45 – Walk around Upper Porter Pond and Waldo Lake, about 2 miles (mostly paved). Learn about the park’s history, current uses, and how Wildlands is working with the city and other key partners to create a new park master plan.   |   4:00 - 5:00 – Social hour (optional) at Brockton Beer Company’s taproom in downtown Brockton. This is one of the few breweries owned by people of color in Massachusetts, and they have a unique origin story. In 2022, Wildlands Trust launched the D.W. Field Part Initiative in partnership with the City of Brockton to revitalize the city’s beloved 700-acre park. Join Wildlands’ Director of Special Projects Rachel Calderara at the park to learn about the big-picture thinking behind this unique project and how key partnerships are being developed. You can read about the initiative here.

POSTPONED until Friday, August 19 (was August 5)

Tour of SVT's Horse Meadows Knoll
3:00 - 5:15 p.m.
45 Sherry Road, Harvard, MA 

Schedule: 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. - Horse Meadows Knoll tour / 4:15 - 5:15 p.m. - social hour at Carlson Orchards Taproom, 115 Oak Hill Rd, Harvard, MA

Join Sudbury Valley Trustees staff to learn about the acquisition and stewardship of beautiful Horse Meadows Knoll in Harvard. This guided walk will feature a naturalized pond, a mixed hardwood forest, and a large drumlin shaped knoll. Horse Meadows Knoll is an example of a successful collaboration between conservation trusts. It consists of 47 acres of ecologically important land and is home to several endangered species. After the walk, we'll head down the road to Carlson Orchards for social hour. 

Friday, April 8

Blue Hills Trailside Museum Tour
3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
1904 Canton Avenue, Milton, MA

Join the Young Land Professionals (YLP) for an afternoon with Mass Audubon Staff for a private tour of the Blue Hills Trailside Museum (1904 Canton Avenue, Milton, MA). This guided walk, which includes native wildlife exhibits and a natural history museum, will better connect you with New England nature and other Young Land Professionals! Exhibits include rescued animals that could not survive without human intervention.  Post-tour social hour will be at the nearby Trillium Brewery. Schedule: 3:00-4:00 pm: Museum tour, 4:00-5:00 pm: Social hour at Trillium Brewery.

September 15, 2021 (Wednesday)

River Restoration Hike at Mass Audubon Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary

3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary
60 Beaver Dam Road, Plymouth, MA (exact location)

Join the Young Land Professionals for an afternoon with Mass Audubon staff for a hike in the recently restored Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary. Learn how this former cranberry bog underwent the largest freshwater ecological restoration in the Northeast while exploring the cold water streams, ponds, forests and wetlands that now populate the sanctuary. Post-hike social hour will be at the nearby Rye Tavern at their outdoor bar and patio. Schedule: 3:00-4:00 pm: River Restoration Hike, 4:00-5:00 pm: Social hour at Rye Tavern.

October 28, 2020 (Wednesday)

Network while tree planting for floodplain restoration at Mass Audubon Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary
2:00 - 4:30 pm
Mass Audubon Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary
Old Springfield Rd, Northampton, MA (exact location)
Note: we are meeting at the project location, not the Sanctuary Nature Center.

Please register so we can control group size. Masks must be worn for the duration of the event.

Join us for an afternoon of tree planting in Northampton, MA for floodplain restoration with a discussion following the work. We will be helping to restore 13 acres of floodplain forest in the meadows managed by Mass Audubon at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. Floodplain forests are uncommon in Massachusetts and host rare plants, store stormwater during flood events, and provide important wildlife habitat. Come restore a landscape and learn about land management and restoration practices while networking with other land professionals. Wear your mask, and bring water, snack, work gloves and outdoor work clothes.

2:00-3:30 pm: Tree planting
3:30-4:00 pm: Learn about floodplain restoration from sanctuary staff

New date: October 20, 2020 (Tuesday) -- same time, same place

POSTPONED from October 13, 2020 (Tuesday)

Network while volunteering on a hops farm at Wildlands Trust's Eel River Fields
3:30 - 5:30 pm
93 Clifford Road
Plymouth, MA

Please register so we can control group size, and plan to wear your mask for the duration of the event.

Grab your mask and join us in Plymouth, MA to volunteer on a hop farm and sample some hoppy products. Brewer Paul Nixon, owner of Independent Fermentations Brewing (IndieFerm), grew over 400 hop plants this year on a portion of Wildlands Trust's Eel River Fields, an active farmland under APR protection. Learn about the farm, lend Paul a helping hand for his fall cleanup, and sample some IndieFerm beers.

3:30 - 4:00 pm: Introductions and farm tour
4:00 - 5:00 pm: Volunteering at the hop farm
5:00 - 5:30 pm: Beer tasting

March 27, 2020 (Friday)

Committee meeting agenda

CANCELLED -- Annual Pre-Conference Gathering
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary
Worcester, MA

It's our third annual pre-conference gathering, hosted by your Young Land Professionals committee! Join us for a presentation by Dan Clark of DCR - Division of Water Supply Protection, followed by networking, discussion, and pizza at Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary. Afterwards, all are welcome to join us for beer and/or coffee at Redemption Rock Brewing. Our annual gathering is a great way to make new friends and connections and enjoy some of what Worcester has to offer while you're in town for the conference.

Please register so we have an accurate headcount.

February 12, 2020 (Wednesday)

Young Land Professionals & MACC Young Professionals Social Hour
6:30 - 8:30 pm
Springdale Beer Company
102 Clinton Street, Framingham MA

The MassLand Young Land Professionals are joining forces with the Mass Association of Conservation Commission’s Young Professionals Committee for a social hour at Springdale Brewery in Framingham.

Attendees will have the opportunity to socialize with their fellow young professionals in the nonprofit sector and municipal conservation departments. While we all work for similar goals, the nonprofit and local government staff rarely have a chance to interact socially, and it's time to start changing that!

Enjoy a brew, play some corn hole, order food from Jack's Abbey (they deliver!), and get to know your fellow young conservationists!

Please register so we can plan accordingly.

Cancelled: October 18, 2019 (Friday)

Hike and Social Hour
3:30 - 7 pm
North Adams, MA

Enjoy a hike to Sunset Rock during peak fall colors with guest speaker Elena Traister, Professor of Environmental Studies at MCLA. Meet at 3:30 pm at the Hoosac Range Trail trailhead, 2441 Mohawk Trail, North Adams. Top the evening off with a social hour starting at 6 pm at the Wigwam Western Summit Sky Bar, 2350 Mohawk Trail, North Adams.

Please RSVP to Mariah at mauman@bnrc.org or 413-499-0596.

August 2, 2019 (Friday)

Mid-Summer Networking Event
2:15 - 6:00 pm
Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor

Calling all Massachusetts Young Land Professionals! Join us for a mid-summer YLP networking event on Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor on Friday, August 2nd from 2:15-6:00 PM. Explore the island with staff from the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation and the National Park Service to learn about the island's and park's history and current stewardship. Meet other YLPs from across the state, and join us for an optional brew at the Trillium Beer Garden back on the mainland. Click here to register, and for more details. 

May 22, 2019

Spring Networking Event
2:30 - 6:00 pm
Ipswich, MA

Please join us Wednesday, May 22 for the spring networking event of the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition's Young Land Professionals group! We'll be meeting at the Ipswich River Watershed Association (IRWA) and True North Ale Company.

First enjoy a presentation from IRWA staff centered around their history, current work, and examples of partnerships with land protection organizations and other partners around the watershed. Then take a quick tour of the property (weather dependent), and finally join us for a networking hour at True North Ale Company with complimentary pizza and beer for purchase.

Click here to register and for further details.
Please RSVP by Monday, 5/20 as a courtesy to IRWA.

March 22, 2019

Young Land Professionals Annual Gathering
5:30 p.m
Worcester, MA

Join us the night before the annual Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference for an evening of pizza, networking, and discussion in Worcester. Our annual event is a great way to make new friends and connections and enjoy some of what Worcester has to offer while you're in town for the conference. 

This year, our host is Sanctuary Director Deb Cary at Mass Audubon's Broad Meadow Brook Sanctuary. Hear from Deb about her journey as a conservation professional and learn about the sanctuary on a sunset tour. Afterwards, all are welcome to join us at the lounge at AC Hotel Worcester for drinks and networking.

To register, please click here.


5:30 pm - Pizza and networking at Mass Audubon's Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center & Wildlife Sanctuary, 414 Massasoit Road, Worcester

6:15 pm - Welcome by Deb Cary, Sanctuary Director

6:30 pm - Sunset walk and tour of the sanctuary

Afterwards - Networking and drinks at the lounge at AC Hotel Worcester, 125 Front Street, Worcester

February 21, 2019

Winter Young Land Professionals Gathering
2:00 pm-5:00pm
Bolton, MA

Please join us for the winter networking gathering of the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition's Young Land Professional group! We'll be meeting at the Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton.

Nashoba Valley Winery is a 52-acre orchard, winery, distillery, brewery, restaurant, and function center protected with an Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR). This event will feature information about the MA APR Program, beginning with presentations by Delia Delongchamp, APR Stewardship Coordinator at the MA Department of Agricultural Resources, and Richard Pelletier, owner of the Nashoba Valley Winery, followed by a private walking tour of the property. We’ll close up the event with a social hour at the winery’s tasting area, where attendees can purchase wine, beer, or spirits tastings.

Hosted by the Sudbury Valley Trustees

November 7, 2018

Fall Young Land Professionals Gathering
New Bedford, MA

Meet and mingle with other MassLand Young Land Professionals on a private walking tour with the National Park Service, followed by a social hour at Moby Dick Brewing.  Home to the Buzzards Bay Coalition and the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, New Bedford was once the biggest whaling port and richest city per capita in the world. Learn about the city’s entwined history of whaling, the underground railroad, and the life of Frederick Douglas on a walking tour of downtown with the National Park Service. Then join us for a social hour at Moby Dick Brewing, a new local brewery and restaurant offering their own craft beer, pub fare, and a full bar. For more information and to register, please click here.

Hosted by the Buzzards Bay Coalition and Wildlands Trust

July 26, 2018 - July 27, 2018

A group of MassLand's Young Land Professionals gathered at Greenbelt's headquarters, the Cox Reservation. Individuals from Mass Audubon, the Appalachian Mountain Club, Essex National Heritage Area, The Trust for Public Land, Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust, and Greenbelt gathered for a guided tour of the property (under a spectacular double rainbow) and a cookout. Guests lingered around the fire pit making s’mores, sharing interests, and brainstorming new ways to work together in the future. Thank you to Greenbelt for a successful event.

May 17, 2018

MassLand's Young Land Professionals Event at the Housatonic Flats and Barrington Brewery in Western Massachusetts was a great success! Sixteen individuals were present, including the speakers, Christine Ward with the Great Barrington Land Conservancy and Mackenzie Greer with the Berkshire Natural Resources Council. The speakers discussed conservation work at the town and regional scale, as well as how they became involved in the field, helpful tips for navigation, and further opportunities for follow up. Thanks to all attendees and especially Mariah Auman with the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, who coordinated this great event. 

March 23, 2018

About 40 Young Land Professionals traveled out to the Club House at Cook's Pond in Worcester, where Greater Worcester Land Trust's Colin Novick spoke, offering inspiring advice to the next generation of conservation leaders. The group then gathered at the Residence Inn in Worcester for a networking hour.