The Trustees Presents Peter Shelley with Conservationist of the Year Award at 126th Annual Meeting

Contact Information

Kristi Perry
PR Director
617.542.7696 x2123

Conservationist of the Year 2018
Peter Shelley, Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) Massachusetts, accepts the Charles Eliot Award from Trustees Board Chair, Peter Coffin (Photo credit: Krista Photography)

Boston, MADecember 4, 2017 – The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) recently honored Peter Shelley, Senior Counsel at the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), with its prestigious Conservationist of the Year Award during the organization’s 126th Annual Meeting held in the State Room in Boston.

Shelley has worked tirelessly to protect the environment in general, and the Boston waterfront and waterways for decades, fighting to clean up Boston Harbor since the days when it was considered America’s dirtiest. During his years at CLF, Shelley created CLF's Ocean Protection Program, directed the CLF Massachusetts and Maine Offices, and was Interim President from 2014-2015. Before CLF, he served for five years as an Assistant Attorney General in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources. He has been a tenacious, thorough, and tireless advocate for the public, working within the judicial system to bring humanity and intelligence to a topic that many consider too immense to tackle.

“We were honored to celebrate Peter Shelley for his many years of advocacy for the environment and the public,” says Trustees President & CEO Barbara Erickson. “The Commonwealth is the lucky benefactor of his dedicated efforts on behalf of the planet and the average citizen. His unflagging passion for this work serves as a model for us all and we hope that in telling his story, we further highlight the need for a powerful collective effort to protect and share our natural resources and to safeguard them for the next generation.”

In 1996 Shelley was awarded a Pew Fellowship in Conservation and the Environment and in 2003 received the David B. Stone Medal from the New England Aquarium. He holds a BA from Hobart College and a JD with honors from Suffolk University Law School. He currently resides in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

About the Charles Eliot Award
Each year, The Trustees recognizes an individual or organization that has made a significant impact to conservation in Massachusetts with the prestigious Charles Eliot Award. Charles Eliot, a landscape architect and protégé of Frederick Law Olmsted, founded The Trustees in response to the effects of growing populations and industrialization on Boston residents.  At the time, Boston was losing its open space as the nation's fourth largest manufacturing center with plants and factories springing up everywhere and consuming farmland, countryside, riverfronts, and even historic sites. As Boston’s population swelled and living conditions were deplorable, Eliot, had the radical idea to set aside land for country parks that would provide fresh air, scenic beauty, and opportunities for quiet repose – antidotes to the ills of urban life. In a letter dated March 5, 1890 to the editor of Garden and Forest—Eliot outlined a “scheme” to save some of the “finest bits of natural scenery near Boston,” for the “delight [of] many future generations.” His letter became the catalyst for a movement that convinced the Massachusetts State Legislature to establish, just one year later (Chapter 352 of the Acts of 1891), a unique statewide organization “for the purposes of acquiring, holding, maintaining and opening to the public … beautiful and historic places … within the Commonwealth.”  Thus, The Trustees of (Public) Reservations was created and became the first preservation organization of its kind in the world.  Within that same year, Eliot also helped to establish the state’s first regional park district, the Metropolitan Parks Commission (MPC), which later became the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) and is now the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). 

More about The Trustees
Founded by landscape architect Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees has, for more than 125 years, been a catalyst for important ideas, endeavors, and progress in Massachusetts. As a steward of distinctive and dynamic places of both historic and cultural value, The Trustees is the nation’s first preservation and conservation organization, and its landscapes and landmarks continue to inspire discussion, innovation, and action today as they did in the past. We are a nonprofit, supported by members, friends and donors and our 116 sites are destinations for residents, members, and visitors alike, welcoming millions of guests annually.