The Newsletter of the Massachusetts Land Conservation Community
October 26, 2023, Volume 21, Number 10
85 Acres of Highly Developable Land Protected in Harwich
Harwich Conservation Trust's (HCT) recent $3 million purchase of the Six Ponds Great Woods property will protect 85 highly developable acres within the Six Ponds District of Critical Planning Concern (DCPC), which recognizes the area’s abundance of natural, cultural, archaeological, historic, economic and recreational resources of regional, state-wide or natural significance. Purchase of the property creates an opportunity to expand comprehensive resource management planning in the area. The larger DCPC includes extensive priority habitat and documented rare wildlife, extensive wetlands (including seven certified vernal pools), and contributes to the local water supply. A science-based management plan for the larger area is being completed in stages, with input from stakeholders and neighbors. Read more. Photo credit: Steve Furlong.
Consider supporting MLTC's efforts to inform, connect, and advocate for the Massachusetts land conservation community. Your monthly or one-time tax-deductible donation of any amount is appreciated. Thank you! Learn more / more options. Membership benefits.
A warm afternoon lit up the fall color at Grafton Land Trust's Gummere Wood & Masters Preserve.
Are you a self-starter who likes to be involved in all facets of running a non-profit? Yes? MLTC is looking for an efficient, detail-oriented person to support the development, communications and operations/programs functions of our small, but quickly growing, organization. Handle logistics for our membership and annual appeals, maintain our database and financial records, manage communications, assist in setting up programs (like our annual conference), and more. Learn more and apply.
Topics of Special Interest to Small Staffed Land Trusts
Thursday, October 26, 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. via Zoom
This second networking session for staff and Board of Small Staffed Land Trusts may cover topics such as: year-end appeals, board development, or volunteer recruitment and engagement. We are polling registrants for their topics of interest. There will also be time to ask any urgent questions of interest to this community. Facilitated by MLTC. This discussion will not be recorded. Register.
Submit a Proposal for the 2024 Land Conservation Conference Workshop
Deadline extended to Friday, November 3
Share your expertise with a broad range conservation-minded practitioners and public at this year's conference, in-person at UMass Amherst on Saturday, March 23. Topics that address conservation in environmental justice communities and/or nature-based solutions to climate change are especially encouraged, but proposals are welcome on any topic that is important to land conservation in Massachusetts. We are also soliciting proposals for in-person field trips around the state, taking place Friday, April 26. Learn more and submit a proposal.
Conference Sponsorship & Exhibitor Opportunities Are Available!
Promote your business to a live audience of over 400 members of the Massachusetts conservation community at the annual Land Conservation Conference on Saturday, March 23rd in Amherst, plus thousands more through Conference online publicity. Details here and here.
Agricultural Conservation Working Group
Monday, October 30, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. via Zoom
This two-hour Zoom will continue the conversation started at the Land Trust / State Agency Retreat about farmland conservation funding and strategy. This conversation will be hosted by MLTC, and guided by David Viale (MDAR's APR program), Jamie Pottern (American Farmland Trust) and Kathy Orlando (Sheffield Land Trust). This call will not be recorded. Register.
ECCN Overnight at Wildlands Trust Stewardship Training Center
November 3 & 4 (Friday & Saturday), Plymouth, MA
Are you in the first 10 years of your conservation career? Want to meet and learn from others? Then join this fun overnight outing at the new 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.
Course: Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions (Yellow Book)
November 8 & 9 (Saturday & Sunday), Woburn, MA
The Land Trust Alliance is leading an effort to increase the pool of qualified appraisers and is partnering with the Appraisal Institute to deliver subsidized trainings to licensed appraisers who are interested in land conservation. A $300 stipend is available for appraisers who are interested in conducting appraisals for conservation projects. Please share this opportunity with appraisers you know so we can ensure the future of land conservation transactions. Learn more. Register.
Development Staff: Online Giving Days
Thursday, November 30, 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. via Zoom
We'll discuss "Online Giving Days" - pros, cons, success, ideas. We invite you to share your successful programs, and come with questions for your development colleagues. Part of the Stronger Together networking series. Facilitated by MLTC. This call will not be recorded. Register.
State Works to Maximize Federal Funding
On October 19, the Healey Administration introduced legislation, called An Act to Provide for Competitiveness and Infrastructure Investment in Massachusetts, aimed at making $800 million in state funding available over the next three years to pursue federal grants, including funds that can be used to satisfy state match requirements in many federal grant programs. Massachusetts has the opportunity to compete for up to $17.5 billion in federal funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and more. The bill also includes $50 million for municipal matching grants and a local infrastructure bank, and $20 million for local government technical assistance to help municipalities successfully apply for federal funding opportunities.
Meanwhile, through Executive Order, the Administration has created a Federal Funds and Infrastructure Office led by Quentin Palfrey. The office is tasked with identifying key federal funding opportunities, facilitating inter-agency coordination, and holding monthly meetings open to municipal officials and leaders of Massachusetts’ federally recognized tribes. These meetings will provide information on grant opportunities for municipal and tribal governments, and connect participants to relevant federal funds resources.
State Releases Updated Hazard Mitigation/Adaptation Plan
On September 15, Governor Healy adopted the 2023 ResilientMass Plan, an updated state hazard mitigation and climate adaptation plan developed by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). The Plan identifies strategies and measurable actions state agencies will take—individually or through partnerships—to ensure Massachusetts is prepared to withstand, rapidly recover from, adapt to, and mitigate natural hazard events. The plan includes numerous specific actions that will be tracked on the ResilientMass Action Tracker.
State Releases Climate Chief's Recommendations
On October 24, the Healey Administration released its recommendations for a whole-of-government approach to addressing the climate crisis. The report makes 39 recommendations regarding the climate-related practices and policies of executive department agencies. Recommendations focus on strategies to finance investments needed to meet emissions reductions mandates and resilience goals in the state's statutorily-mandated Clean Energy and Climate Plan, including protecting the natural and working lands vital to achieving net zero by 2050.
Increased Tax Incentive for Septic System Upgrades
The tax relief law recently signed by Governor Healey included a tripling of the existing tax credit for those who replace their failed septic system or cesspool, to a new maximum of $18,000. Pollution from failed septic systems is a big issue for ecosystems and water quality. Increasing the tax credit will lift the burden on homeowners who are looking to replace their failed systems, and thus protect local water and wildlife. Congrats to Mass Rivers and the other organizations who long advocated for this increase. Learn more.
Tree Planting in Memory of Kate Buttolph
Friday, October 27, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, 127 Combs Rd, Easthampton MA
Kate Buttolph, who was instrumental in protecting over 4000 acres in her seven years with Mass Audubon, passed away on September 1. All are welcome who would like to share in celebrating Kate's incredible contributions to conservation. Snacks and drinks will be served as we toast to Kate's legacy.
Remembering Whit Beals – Arrangements
Thank you to all who reached out with your condolences. Whit was indeed a driving and beloved force in the community. His obituary can now be found here, which includes information about a memorial service on Saturday, December 2, 10:00 a.m. at Pilgrim Church in Southborough, MA.
FY24 MVP Grants Support Land Acquisition and New Parks
The latest Action Grant Awards under the state's Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program were again a significant source of funding for land acquisition and parks construction, including the following:
- The Town of Avon was awarded $1,455,350 to implement nature-based solutions to improve resilience of the 700-acre D.W. Field Park in Avon and Brockton, including preserving the most critical parcel of unprotected land in the entire watershed.
Framingham, Ashland and Sherborn were awarded $215,000 to acquire and permanently protect 40 acres of undeveloped land across five parcels, providing publicly accessible open space in an underserved area and contributing to the regionally connected Upper Charles Rail Trail.
The Town of Harvard was awarded $401,250 to fund acquisition of a conservation restriction on two parcels of land totaling 39 acres, featuring prime farm soils and ecologically significant forests and wetlands. Harvard Conservation Trust will own the parcels and Gaining Ground, a non-profit that grows and donates produce to food pantries and shelters in the Boston and Worcester metro areas, will farm part of the land under a long-term lease.
- Malden was awarded $2,998,049 to turn two acres of land behind the Malden DPW into a climate resilient riverfront park in an environmental justice neighborhood. The park will help protect the DPW facility from extreme weather events.
Natick was awarded $290,000 for design and permitting for 14.37 acres of passive and active recreational land along the Quinobequin (Charles River) in the area surrounding the Charles River Dam, which the Town is working to remove. The Town aims to improve climate resiliency, increase river access for environmental justice and other priority populations, and acknowledge and incorporate indigenous history and wisdom throughout the parks.
- The Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans was awarded $2,257,990 to support purchase of 351-acre property in Stockbridge and implement a stewardship plan to ensure it supports climate change resiliency. On the north slope of Monument Mountain, the parcel is surrounded by conserved land on all sides and features a combination of farm, forest, and part of the Agawam swamp. It includes sites of cultural significance to the tribe.
The Water Supply District of Acton was awarded $1,501,610 to acquire and permanently protect 57 acres of land, which will enable two bedrock wells on the property to be used as additional sources of water supply, which will be much less susceptible to negative impacts from drought than the network of shallow sand and gravel wells that currently supply water to 95% of the community. Additional goals include protecting the property's multi-aged forest, freshwater wetlands, open meadow, and two potential vernal pools.
View all awards and details.
$7.5 million in Landscape Partnership Grants Awarded
Land trusts were significant partners in the latest round of Landscape Partnership Grants announced by the State on October 16. This program facilitates large-scale conservation projects and encourages partnerships among state, municipal, and nonprofit entities. New eligibility criteria allowing smaller-acreage projects in more developed parts of the state benefitted several of this year's awardees, which include:
- DCR and Sudbury Valley Trustees: $1.25 million to purchase a conservation restriction on 134 acres in Framingham owned by the Mayflower Council of Boy Scouts of America.
Essex County Greenbelt Association, City of Gloucester and Manchester Essex Conservation Trust: $1.25 million to protect 290 acres that are part of a 1,462-acre expanse of protected forestland spanning Manchester, Essex, and Gloucester.
Kestrel Land Trust, Town of Southampton, Mass Audubon, Holyoke Water Works and Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources: $1.25 million to purchase conservation restrictions and property totaling 1,025 acres of wild and working land in a region notable for its ecological integrity and climate resilience.
Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, Mass Audubon, DCR; Town of Barre and East Quabbin Land Trust: $1.25 million to protect nine properties that will continue to be sustainably managed by private landowners for forestry, agriculture, and recreation.
Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation and Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission: $1.25 million for protection of 166 acres at Pimpneymouse Farm on the island of Chappaquiddick, Edgartown.
- Town of Middleborough and Department of Conservation and Recreation: $1.25 million to protect 278 acres that extend protection to 2.25 miles of the Taunton River in Middleborough.
Mass Audubon Releases Growing Solar, Protecting Nature Report
Mass Audubon and Harvard Forest released a report showing that Massachusetts doesn’t need to sacrifice the nature we have to build the solar energy we need. Read the report.
Alliance Launches Public Awareness Campaign
The Land Trust Alliance, in partnership with land trusts around the country, has launched a multiyear marketing campaign called Gaining Ground to build a new base of advocates for private land conservation. The campaign aims to reach people who are younger and more diverse than current land trust supporters, who want to take action on the environmental issues they care about, but need more information. Land trusts are invited to participate in this information campaign by using the Alliance's online communications toolkit to reach their local audiences.
Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool
Farmers can use the this tool to determine what programs and/or resources they may be eligible for after the devastating floods earlier this summer. Links to many other assistance sources can be found on MDAR’s 2023 Agricultural Flooding Guidance & Resources webpage. In addition, USDA – FSA has made some of their programs and policies more flexible. Learn more.
Chapter 61 Calculator Updated
The Masswoods.org Chapter 61/61A calculator has been updated with the newly approved fiscal year 2024 rates, which are in effect through June 2024. Use this tool to estimate property taxes for land enrolled under the Chapter 61/61A programs. You can also download the UMass Extension/DCR Chapter 61 publication.
Rooted in Nature: Indigenous Knowledge and Climate Resiliency Speaker Series
Sponsored by MAPC, this series showcases experts from indigenous communities in Massachusetts, and offers an exploration of indigenous perspectives on climate resilience and sustainability, spotlighting practical examples and case studies rooted in the local Massachusetts context. Details.
Thursday, October 26, noon – 1:30 p.m. | Restoring Indigenous Foodways for Climate Resilience | Register
Friday, November 3, noon – 1:30 p.m. | Climate Change from the Indigenous Perspective | Register
PLPA Update Workshop
Saturday, October 28, 9:00 a.m. – 10:10 a.m., in-person or virtual
This workshop, given by Greg McGregor, Esq. and Kurt Gaertner (Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs), is part of MACC's annual fall conference (see item further below). Though EEA has launched a PLPA website which includes some guidance and FAQs, this workshop gives participants a chance to ask questions about the policy and status of the draft regulations. Pricing varies. Details and register.
Dam Busters 101: Monthly Lunchtime Webinar Series
First Wednesday of each month starting November 1, noon – 1:00 p.m.
Sponsored by DER, Massachusetts Rivers Alliance and CRWA, each webinar focuses on a dam removal topic, features an expert, and offers time for questions and discussion. The goal is to give municipal and NGO dam removal project managers the knowledge they need to successfully manage and carry out a dam removal projects. Attend one or all. An in-person site visit is planned at the end of the series in the fall of 2024. Register.
Clean Heat Standards
Thursday, November 9, 11:00 a.m.
Most states have standards designed to gradually grow the amount of renewable electricity on their grids. States are now looking to do the same for heat, through clean heat standards which require heat providers to deliver a gradually-increasing percentage of low-emission heating services. Vermont was the first state in the nation to adopt such standards, and now Massachusetts is working on them. Sponsored by the Alliance for Clean Heat. Free. Registration required here.
Quarterly Update: Invasive Spotted Lanternfly
Wednesday, November 15, 10:00 a.m. via Zoom
This session will provide updates on recent infestations found in Agawam, Holyoke, Southborough and elsewhere, and will feature a presentation from Dr. Michela Centinari from Penn State University about the impact of spotted lanternfly on vineyards. Free. Continuing Education Credits are available. Learn more and register.
In-Person Events and Outings
Archeology of the Sand Hill Site in Wayland
Thursday, October 26, 7:00 p.m., Acton Memorial Library
Duncan Ritchie, Senior Archaeologist at The Public Archaeology Laboratory, will talk about Sand Hill, a large multicomponent Middle Archaic to Late Woodland Period site on the Sudbury River in Wayland. The large assemblage of chipped, ground and rough stone tools, ceramic sherds and radiocarbon dated features document pre-contact Native American activities over a 7,000-year span. The Wayland Archaeology Group (WARG) carried out the excavation.
MACC's Fall Conference
Saturday, October 28, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Devens Common Center, Devens, MA
The theme of MACC's (Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions') fall conference is "Back to Basics for Conservation Commissions: From Foundations to the Future". Workshops will focus on Conservation Commission ABCs, building climate resiliency for municipalities, and networking. Commission members, staff, friends, and consultants are invited. Details. Schedule.
Boston Parks Advocates Fall Forum
Saturday, October 28, 9:00 a.m. – noon, Franklin Park Clubhouse
Department of Conservation and Recreation commissioner Brian Arrigo will talk about his vision for DCR, panels will discuss the intricacies of founding and establishing neighborhood parks, and an interactive exercise will identify breakout group topics (which will include CPA funding and dog parks). Free. More.
Historic New England 2023 Summit
November 2 & 3 (Thursday & Friday), hybrid, 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. both days, Reception Thursday, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The VETS, downtown Providence, RI
The Summit will explore how 21st-century challenges and opportunities are transforming the fields of historic preservation, architecture, urban planning, conservation, arts and culture, museum studies, collections management, public history, and education. The program includes keynote presentations by regional and national leaders, panel discussions, networking opportunities, and more. Learn more and register. Scholarships for small and mid-sized non-profits to attend are available.
ECCN Overnight at Wildlands Trust Stewardship Training Center
November 3 & 4 (Friday & Saturday), Plymouth, MA
See details under MLTC News and Programs, above.
Explore the Small Farm Dream (Southeast MA)
Five Wednesdays, November 8 – December 13 (not November 22), 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Bristol County Agricultural High School, Dighton, MA
Participants will learn about the many aspects of starting a farm business, assess their own skills and knowledge, and get help finding resources for support, including marketing, financing, and regulations. Through four guided group sessions and a farmer panel session, participants will analyze the feasibility of their small farm dream, and clarify their vision with other class participants. Learn more and apply.
2023 RCP Network Gathering
Thursday, November 9, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., UMass Amherst
The theme of this year's Regional Conservation Partnership (RCP) Gathering is Embracing Complexity through Partnership, which will explore how landscape conservation efforts protect and enhance values beyond biodiversity – including land justice and community resilience. Learn more.
Chainsaw Techniques Training | Level 1 Felling and Storm Damage
November 11 & 12 (Saturday & Sunday), 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Wildlands Trust 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 people who have basic chainsaw skills, but are looking to expand their skills 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.
Save the Date! 2024 Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference
Saturday, March 23, 2023 in person at UMass Amherst, and Friday, April 26, field trips around the state.
Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area Partnership Grants
Application deadline: accepted on a rolling basis starting October 1 until funding is exhausted
This program serves as a catalyst for new, creative programs and projects within 45 communities of the Heritage Area. Reimbursable matching grants are offered in support of the goals and objectives outlined in the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area Management Plan and summarized as: Inclusive Storytelling; Education, Interpretation & Curation; Community Planning & Resource Conservation; Historic Preservation; and Regional Cultural Events. Funding ranges from $1000 to $7500. Discussion of your proposal with a grant specialist before applying is highly recommended. Learn more here and here.
NEW! Land Conservation Networking Mini Grants
Applications accepted on a rolling basis, but applying in the fall is recommended
Projects must be complete by April 15, 2024
Recognizing that many land conservation projects require partnerships among community leaders and other conservation partners, this mini grant program focuses on creating intentional opportunities for networking and relationship building. The ideal proposal will bring together people from a shared geography to build or strengthen relationships in service of community conservation. Learn more.
NEW! Neighborhood Outreach Project
Applications accepted on a rolling basis, but applying in the fall is recommended
Landowner decisions are often informed by advice and stories of friends and neighbors. The goal of this grant is to use neighborhood-scale social networks to help inform landowner decisions about the future of their land. Past projects include direct mailings to high-priority landowners, videos, workshops, potlucks, site visits, and individualized follow-up with interested landowners. Learn more and apply.
Habitat Management Grants
Application deadline: Tuesday, October 31
This MassWildlife program supports projects that improve wildlife habitat on lands that promote public outdoor recreation. Open to owners of private and municipal conserved lands. Details.
NEW! Supporting Underserved and Small-Acreage Forest Landowner Participation
Application deadline: reviewed quarterly, with final deadline Wednesday, August 21, 2024
These grants, funded by the US Forest Service, support the participation of underserved or small-acreage forest landowners in emerging private markets for climate mitigation or forest resilience. Learn more and apply.
NEW! Historic Preservation Grants
Letters of Inquiry due: Monday, November 6
Application deadline (by invitation only): Friday, February 23
The 2024 program will be a 1:1 match of up to $10,000 for exterior work on historic properties owned or leased by non-profit organizations. Work could include: exterior painting, finishes and surface restoration, fire detection/lightning protection/security systems, repairs to/restoration of porches, roofs and windows, repairs to foundations and sills, and chimney and masonry repointing. Learn more and apply.
NOAA Restoring Priority Tribal Fish Passage through Barrier Removal
Application deadline: Wednesday, November 8
This funding supports U.S. federally recognized tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, and tribal organizations in implementing on-the-ground fish passage work and in building tribal organizational capacity. Learn more.
NEW! EPA Environmental Education Grants
Application deadline: Wednesday, November 8
These grants support locally focused environmental education projects that promote environmental stewardship, help increase environmental literacy, and encourage behavior that will benefit the environment in local communities, especially underserved communities. Learn more and apply.
NEW! Land and Water Conservation Fund Grants (LWCF)
Info session: Wednesday, November 8, 2:00 p.m. via Teams
Info session: Monday, November 20, 2:00 p.m. in person at the DFW Field Headquarters in Westboro.
Application deadline: Thursday, January 11
These grants provide financial assistance to municipalities and the state's Departments of Conservation and Recreation and Fish and Game for the acquisition of parkland, development of a new park, renovation of an existing park, development of trails in an existing conservation or recreation area, or the acquisition of conservation land. Grant limit: up to $1,000,000. It is highly preferable to attend the in-person workshop. RSVP to Melissa Cryan to attend either session.
NEW! Water Quality Monitoring Grants
Application deadline: Wednesday, November 15, 5:00 p.m.
These MassDEP grants support ongoing or new water quality monitoring and data collection efforts. Learn more and apply. Further information can be found here.
NOAA Transformational Habitat Restoration and Coastal Resilience Grants
Application deadline: Friday, November 17
These grants support projects that will rebuild and sustain fisheries, assist in recovery and conservation of endangered species, promote climate-resilient ecosystems, help protect marine estuarine and coastal ecosystems, and improve economic vitality. Learn more.
NEW! Farmland Access, Succession, and Transfer Support Grants
Application deadline: Tuesday, November 21
Grants are available for up to $5,000 per project focused on farmland lease, purchase, or farm transfer or succession planning in Essex, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bristol, Plymouth, Barnstable, Dukes or Nantucket counties. Learn more and apply. Fact sheet.
Landscape Scale Restoration (LSR) Grants
Application deadline: Thursday, November 30
This USDA Forest Service program encourages collaborative, science-based, high-impact restoration of priority forest landscapes. Project examples include water quality and watershed health improvement, wildlife habitat improvement, and community tree planting projects in communities with a population of less than 50,000. Learn more.
NOAA Climate Ready Workforce Grants
Letter of Intent deadline: Thursday, November 30
The goal of these grants is to build a workforce that is climate literate, informed by climate resilience, and skilled at addressing consequent challenges. Open to state, tribal, territorial, and local governments, higher education institutions, and non-profits in coastal states/territories working in coastal areas. Learn more.
NEW! NOAA Climate Adaptation Partnerships (CAP) Program
Info webinar: Thursday, November 30 Register
Application deadline: Monday, February 5
CAP is an applied research and engagement program which supports sustained, collaborative relationships that help communities build lasting and equitable climate resilience. It seeks to support new creative, solution-oriented approaches that are both responsive to communities and that integrate across silos of scientific knowledge and expertise. Funded by five-year cooperative agreements. Info sheet. Learn more.
NEW! Merrimack Conservation Partnership Land Conservation Grants
Application deadline: Friday, December 1
Land Conservation Grants underwrite transaction costs—appraisals, surveys, title research, staff time, etc.—for transaction-related expenses on projects (fee or easement) that protect land identified as a priority in the Merrimack Valley Regional Conservation Plan. Projects must be located in these towns to be eligible for funding. RFP. Learn more.
Forest Legacy Program
Application deadline: Monday, December 11
This program is to identify and conserve environmentally important forest areas that are threatened by conversion to non-forest uses, and to provide economic incentives to landowners to keep their forest as forests. Landowners may participate by either selling their property outright, or by retaining ownership and selling only a portion of the property’s development rights. Learn more.
NEW! Municipal Vulnerability Program (MVP) Action Grants
Expression of Interest (EOI) Form deadline: Friday, December 15
Through this form, potential applicants provide basic information about their project idea. MVP staff will then provide feedback prior to the Request for Responses (RFR) release date. Submission of an EOI for a project is not mandatory in order to submit an application once the RFR comes out (tentatively mid-March 2024), but is encouraged. Submit a form.
NEW! Funding for MA Forest Landowners to Improve Native Wildlife Habitat
Application deadline: Friday, January 5 (also March 8 or May 10)
Offered through the Massachusetts Collaborative for Private Forestland – Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), this funding focuses on improving and protecting wildlife habitat on private forest land in the Massachusetts. Eligible landowners must own forestland in Massachusetts that is at least 10 acres. Applications received by January 5 (or March 8 or May 10) will be ranked and considered for funding in fiscal year 2024. Learn more.
Community Forest Program Grants
Application deadline: Friday, January 12
This program provides financial assistance to establish community forests by protecting forest land from conversion to non-forest uses through fee simple acquisition of private forest land. Public access is required for all projects. Applicants are strongly encouraged to work with their appropriate Forest Service Region/Institute contact during the application process before submission. Learn more. View the RFP.
Innovation and Capacity-Building Grants
Application deadline: rolling through Wednesday, April 3, 2024
These grants, part of the EmPower Program of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, provide seed funding for the exploration of innovative ideas for potential program models or projects that will provide access to the benefits of clean energy, or reduce energy burden for previously underserved or vulnerable populations in the state. RFP. Learn more.
Resources and Opportunities
Need Help Building a 5-Year Conservation Plan?
Application deadline: Friday, November 3
This service of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services’ (NRCS) Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), assists private forest landowners, land trusts, farmers, sportsmen clubs, and others by designing a 5 year conservation plan that provides financial assistance for active conservation measures already being conducted on the land units enrolled; expanding and strengthening such practices; and for conservation efforts addressing additional resource concerns. Learn more. Contact John Doyle, Forestry and Wildlife Implementation Specialist, or your local NRCS Field Office for more information.
Boston Community Farms Garlic Grab
Saturday, November 4, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Tommy’s Rock Farm, 1 Akron Street in Roxbury
Learn how to grow your own garlic at home, in the ground, or in containers. This celebration will end with a giveaway of loads of garlic, compost, and straw to help you start your garlic planting off right.
Spatial Futures Fellowship (SFF)
Application deadline: Thursday, November 9
This fellowship supports advocates who are addressing environmental and housing injustices via reparative spatial justice to right historical wrongs, recognize and rectify systematic racism, and restructure the American landscape to serve all communities equitable. Examples include efforts for land rematriation to Indigenous communities, campaigns for housing reparations, removing racist deed restrictions to land restoration, and restitution projects addressing environmental injustice and gentrification. SFF will serve as an incubator for housing and land justice leaders dedicated to the "Reckoning, Repair, and Transformation" approach into their work. Learn more and apply.
Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Fellowship
Application deadline: Saturday, November 11
These group-based learning opportunities are for farmers and agricultural advisors in the Northeast and Midwest who are interested in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies and planning, as well as peer-to-peer networking and support. Programs target the following in the Northeast: diversified agriculture and agroforestry, and women and non-binary vegetable and small fruit producers and advisors. Learn more. Apply.
Building a Cold-Water Stream Habitat Network & Forum
A team representing USGS-Conte, Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife, and the University of Massachusetts is building a network of people and organizations interested in advancing knowledge of current and future cold-water stream habitat in the Northeast. The first stage in building this network is a 3-hour-long online forum to better understand: 1) who is doing work to conserve current and future cold-water habitat, 2) how you are approaching cold-water stream refugia conservation and science (i.e., restoration preservation, data collection, outreach, research), and 3) what additional information and tools would help advance your work. To join the network, complete this Coldwater Stream Habitat Community Forum form, and indicate your availability to participate.
Updated Conservation Tax Guide now available
This newly-updated third edition of the popular Tax Guide to Conservation Easements is written for a general conservation audience. Author Timothy Lindstrom covers basic legal concepts underpinning conservation easements, requirements for tax benefits, appraisals and more.
Mass Timber Technology a Win for the Climate
The New England Forestry Foundation has a new video discussing mass timber technology, and how it can be a win for the climate. Using mass timber instead of steel or concrete delivers a building much lower in embodied carbon (the amount of carbon released to make a building product). It also continues to lock the carbon in the wood out of the atmosphere. Watch the video.
21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge
This Challenge, adaptable to all forms of social justice, proposes that for 21 days, you do one action to further your understanding of power, privilege, supremacy, oppression, and equity. This can be reading, listening to podcasts, watching videos, observing, and finding ways to connect more deeply with the community. For ideas and further insights, click here.
Writing the Land: Streamlines
This anthology of poetry, photography, maps and descriptions of land trusts across the country includes chapters on Essex County Greenbelt and Mount Grace Conservation Land Trust.
October is Firewood Month
Learn about firewood rules and how moving firewood hurts our environment and economy by spreading invasive species.
Leave the Leaves
Tempted to rake all the leaves in your yard into a pile for the kids (or you) to jump in? Do wildlife a favor and leave some un-raked. As they decompose, leaves return nutrients to the soil. Fallen leaves also provide cover and insulation to overwintering insects. Mow over fallen leaves to break them up to speed decomposition. Learn other ways to make use of un-raked leaves.
Want to Hear Something Scary?
Of the nine bat species found in Massachusetts, five are endangered. This Halloween, ditch the haunted house and build a bat house instead! Get bat house plans and learn how you can help conserve bats.
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