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Baltimore, MD – May 6, 2017 – The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees), Massachusetts’ largest conservation and preservation organization, has received one of the highest honors bestowed by The Garden Club of America (GCA), the Elizabeth Craig Weaver Proctor Medal. The medal, accepted today at the GCA’s annual meeting by Barbara Erickson, president and CEO of The Trustees, recognizes a nonmember individual or organization demonstrating exemplary service and creative vision in a field related to the GCA’s mission and special interest focus areas.
Founded in 1891, The Trustees is the first land preservation nonprofit of its kind in the world. It was precursor of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States and served as a model for the National Trust in the United Kingdom. For 126 years, The Trustees has worked with landowners and public and private partners to advocate for and protect open and natural green spaces as well as cultural and agricultural sites across Massachusetts.
Hailing The Trustees for “its careful protection of the cultural and natural heritage of Massachusetts,” Laura Gregg, Awards Committee chairman of the GCA, said that “the estimated 1,600 U.S. conservation land trusts owe their origin to the pioneering work of The Trustees, which remains a leader and role model to all.”
“We are so honored to receive this esteemed award from the GCA,” added Erickson. “The opportunity to be recognized at the GCA annual meeting, along with so many other amazing organizations, for our mission-driven work and the impact The Trustees has had on the worldwide conservation and preservation movement, is both humbling and inspiring. We look forward to being an even stronger voice for stewardship, protection, and promotion of our amazing ecological and cultural resources and collaborating with committed partners like the GCA.”
The Trustees protects, manages, and cares for 116 sites across more than 26,000 acres, including five National Historic Landmarks, a National Natural Landmark, six National Register of Historic Places sites, 340 buildings, 408 miles of trails, 76 miles of coastline, 14 designed landscapes, 14 parks, 80 ecological landscapes, 55 community gardens, and seven working farms. More than 1.75 million visitors came to the sites last year to explore The Trustees’ diverse collection of properties. The Trustees has more than 130,000 members who are committed to its work of preserving natural and cultural properties.
The Trustees was a pioneer in extending preservation beyond architecture to include historic landscapes and natural areas of ecological significance. Today, few preservation organizations are responsible for a wider range of nationally important sites. Despite the challenges of caring for so many properties, The Trustees continues to seek out and acquire sites that might otherwise be at risk now or in the future and practices stellar stewardship.
Also unique in the preservation world, The Trustees focuses on both preservation and conservation. Over the past decade, it has used green materials and energy-saving techniques in several building and restoration projects and incorporated sources of green energy production such as solar power at several sites, reducing the carbon footprint of its properties, even bringing a few toward net-zero goals. Its farmlands and livestock operations use sustainable agricultural practices such as composting and natural fertilizers and pesticides. Conservation efforts at sites have been essential to protection of 173 rare plant and animal species. Educational and summer job programs engage youth in the environment, history, and culture.
“If all states had land trusts as active, well-supported, and efficient as The Trustees, our country would be much better off regarding historical preservation, caring for historic gardens, and maintaining the natural integrity of our land,” observed Gregg. “It is a model for us all today, as it has been for well over a century.”
Elizabeth Craig Weaver Proctor (1918-2014), a member of the Garden Club of Nashville, was a national figure in the GCA. Her charitable foundation endowed her namesake medal in 2003, and it first was awarded in 2004 to John Ruan, chairman of the World Food Prize Foundation. Other previous winners include Lady Bird Johnson (2006), Heifer International (2007), the Newman family and Newman’s Own Foundation (2009), and the U.S. National Park Service (2016).
The Trustees was nominated for the medal by the North Shore Garden Club of Massachusetts in Manchester.
The GCA is a nonprofit national organization composed of 200 clubs with nearly 18,000 members who devote energy and expertise to projects in their communities and across the United States. Founded in 1913, the GCA is a leader in horticulture, conservation, and civic improvement. (www.gcamerica.org)
The Trustees preserves and cares for some of Massachusetts’ most treasured natural, scenic, and historic sites for public use and enjoyment. Founded in 1891, The Trustees is the first land preservation nonprofit of its kind in the world and Massachusetts’ largest conservation and preservation organization. With a passion for protecting the irreplaceable for everyone, forever, The Trustees is focusing its renewed 126-year-old mission on connecting more people of all ages and interests to outdoor recreation, culture, agriculture, and healthy, active living using its 116 diverse properties and over 5,000 annual programs as a platform.