The Trustees Announce New Pioneer Valley Region

Contact Information
Jocelyn Forbush
Regional Director
413.532.1631 x10
jforbush@ttor.org

Kristi Perry
781.329.5205
kperry@ttor.org
Holyoke, MA – As an important first step in its new 10-year strategic plan, The Trustees of Reservations announced today it has created a new administrative/organizational region in the Pioneer Valley, the first new region to be established by the world’s oldest, regional land trust and nonprofit conservation organization since the 1980s.

Designed to help meet the increasing land conservation needs and challenges on both sides of the Connecticut River, the new Pioneer Valley Region is based in Holyoke and includes the following popular Trustees of Reservations properties: Notchview, the Bryant Homestead, Dinosaur Footprints, Chapel Brook, Bear Swamp, Chesterfield Gorge, Petticoat Hill, Glendale Falls, Little Tom Mountain (to open 2012) and several prospective properties. Since 2001, The Trustees have built a stronger presence in the area with educational and grassroots community outreach, while laying the groundwork for more significant land conservation projects.

Some of the organization’s grassroots efforts already underway include the Highland Communities Initiative (HCI), a program created by The Trustees to protect the natural and cultural character of the 38 rural hilltowns located between the Connecticut and Housatonic Rivers. Currently in the middle of its highly successful “My Place is the Highlands” campaign, HCI is empowering local residents to make informed decisions about the future of their fields and forests. Offering outreach programs and a free Your Land, Your Choices brochure, HCI also engages towns in proactive planning and conservation efforts, including updating zoning regulations and helping to pass the Community Preservation Act.*

Another program is the successful partnership The Trustees have formed with the Holyoke Boys & Girls Club to teach local youth about the natural and cultural wonders of their local landscape. From learning to use maps and compasses, to hiking n Little Tom Mountain and exploring Holyoke’s industrial plants, the Trustees are helping to engage the next generation in caring for their community and beyond.

Heading up the new region is Regional Director Jocelyn Forbush, who has been an employee of The Trustees for seven years. Formerly the Connecticut River Valley Area Manager, Jocelyn brings years of experience, dedication and a deep knowledge of the region to her new role.

“As development intensifies in this region, we?re helping to make sure people and communities are ready for it,” says Forbush. “Once land is developed, there’s no getting it back. We are planning to engage more people who may not consider themselves ‘conservationists’ but who care deeply about preserving the agricultural and cultural heritage of their communities for the next generation.”

With the addition of the new region, The Trustees 96 properties are now divided into six regions total, including the Pioneer Valley, Berkshires, Central, Southeast, Northeast and the Cape/Islands.

*On Saturday, July 14th, The Trustees of Reservations will host an “Historic Barns in the Highlands” event at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington, MA. An iconic part of New England’s landscape and heritage, barns are becoming an “endangered species,” as Massachusetts loses almost 1,000 each year due to neglect. The Homestead celebration will explore the evolving, historic relationship of local barns to the Highland landscape and hopefully serve as an inspiration for others to preserve barns in their own communities.

About the Trustees’ Mission & Strategic Plan
Since its founding in 1891 by Charles Eliot, an open space visionary and protégé of the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead, The Trustees’ mission has been to preserve, protect and care for properties of exceptional scenic, historic and ecological value in Massachusetts. While The Trustees’ mission remains the same, the way the organization plans to accomplish it has changed as the world has changed.

As land is being developed and open space is being fragmented at a rapid pace around the state, The Trustees are working to mobilize and inspire a critical mass of people and partners who care about quality of life in their communities and will work to protect them. The Trustees are undertaking an ambitious education and outreach effort to help more people understand how everyone can be “a Trustee of the planet” and make a lasting impact.

“By 2017, we hope to double our members and volunteers to help make this vision a reality,” says Andrew Kendall, President of The Trustees. “Imagine what a difference it would make if every town was able to protect a special park, farm or plot of land from being developed or save a historic homestead or building. Through our work and membership outreach, we hope to open even more people’s eyes to what they can do, starting in their own communities.”

About The Trustees of Reservations
The Trustees are 100,000 people like you, from every corner of Massachusetts, who share a deep set of similar values: a love of the land, of the outdoors and of the distinctive charms of New England, as well as a shared vision of celebrating and protecting them for everyone, forever.

With 96 reservations, comprising nearly 25,000 acres – all of which are open to the public – The Trustees of Reservations’ properties are tremendously diverse and include: mountains and hilltops; forests and woodlands; river valleys and waterfalls; islands, 70 miles of coastline, barrier beaches; marshes, bogs, swamps; open fields and meadows; farms, historic homesteads and now recently, through our permanent affiliation with Boston Natural Areas Network, community gardens and urban wilds throughout the city of Boston.

The Trustees employ 180 full-time and 350–400 seasonal staff with expertise in many areas, including ecology, education, historic resources, land protection, conservation, land management, and planning. To find out how you can interview Trustees’ experts on important topics and issues, volunteer or become a member, please call The Trustees of Reservations at 781.784.0567, visit at www.thetrustees.org, or email membership@ttor.org.