The Trustees Launch Cutting-Edge Cyber-Cooperative, ConservationCommon.org

Contact Information

Andrea Freeman
978.840.4446 x1929
afreeman@ttor.org

LEOMINSTER, MA – Undeveloped land across Massachusetts is decreasing at an alarming rate. Each day we lose almost 40 acres – a space as big as the Boston Public Garden. To stem the tide, hundreds of nonprofit organizations and municipalities work tirelessly, mostly on a volunteer basis, to preserve land for people to enjoy and to protect our quality of life. The countless hours needed to conserve and maintain parks, trails, forests, community gardens, farmland, and historic places could be reduced if there were more efficient systems for sharing information.

Now, with today’s launch of ConservationCommon.org, citizen activists who care about conservation have the tool they need. Land trusts, conservation commissions, planning boards, watershed associations, and historic commissions can finally share their expertise and ideas via this new online community.

Hosted by The Trustees of Reservations’ Putnam Conservation Institute (PCI), ConservationCommon.org provides easy, free, 24/7 access to a growing library of Massachusetts-specific information – case studies, sample documents, discussion threads, and hard-to-find links – the kind of resources conservationists need to make quick, informed decisions.

“ConservationCommon.org is a cyber-cooperative that will grow and evolve as the people who need it use it,” says Putnam Conservation Institute Director Andrea Freeman. “Conservation activists share tons of information at workshops and meetings, but those are one-offs. I want the existing culture of sharing and helping one another to have a massive ripple effect by connecting lots more people. We don’t have time for just one-offs.”

“People wanted a central place to share and find information about others’ conservation work,” says Wesley Ward, The Trustees’ Vice President for Land Conservation. “ConservationCommon.org is the brain-child of many people. The site builder, CoreWeb, helped us think about how best to use technology and, thanks to input from citizen activists, we are confident this site will have an immediate impact for the conservation community.”

ConservationCommon.org was funded by the Helen & William Mazer Foundation. Foundation board member Steven Bercu says, “When The Trustees identified a specific need that could help the conservation community care for more landscapes and landmarks in Massachusetts, we were delighted to invest in the idea. This exciting new web resource holds great potential to help unite activists and leverage the excellent work being done by so many people throughout the state and region on a whole range of conservation issues.”

ConservationCommon.org is free. Once registered, anyone can contribute PDF documents, links, events, and announcements. The site also allows users to have online discussions among people with specific conservation roles, affiliations, and interests. For more information, or to register and contribute content, visit www.conservationcommon.org.

What is the Putnam Conservation Institute (PCI)?
Established in 2003, PCI is The Trustees? training and external networking arm. PCI?s goal is to increase the capacity of the conservation community to protect, care for, and interpret the natural and cultural resources of Massachusetts. In just five years PCI has offered 37 workshops, conferences, and roundtables for more than 3,500 conservation professionals and volunteers.

About The Trustees of Reservations
The Trustees are 100,000 people like you, from every corner of Massachusetts, who love the outdoors and the distinctive charms of New England, and believe in celebrating and protecting them for everyone, forever.

Founded in 1891 by Charles Eliot, an open space visionary and prot?g? of Frederick Law Olmstead, The Trustees of Reservations is the nation's oldest statewide land conservation trust. The organization?s staff, board, members and volunteers are ?trustees? who care for a network of special places, called ?reservations.? Today, The Trustees own and care for nearly 100 reservations?25,000 acres in 70 communities?encompassing mountains, wetlands, meadows, parks, working farms, formal gardens, 70 miles of coastline and five National Historic landmarks. As open space is gobbled up for development, The Trustees are working to preserve the places that protect the distinct character of Massachusetts? communities. To find out how you can help, or to join, call 781.784.0567, visit www.thetrustees.org, or email membership@ttor.org.

The Trustees employ 180 full-time and nearly 400 seasonal staff with expertise in ecology, environmental education, land protection, and resource management. To interview Trustees? experts on important topics and issues, call Kristi Perry at 781.784.0567.

About the Helen & William Mazer Foundation (HWMF)
HWMF is a New Jersey-based private foundation with a mission to promote medical research, community-based economic development and sustainable land-use practices. For more information contact Steven Bercu at 617.395.1386, or email bercu@limelaw.com.