The Trustees of Reservations Undergo Sustainable “Green Deconstruction” of Buildings at Cedariver Reservation in Millis

Contact Information

Press Contact:
Kristi Perry
Trustees of Reservations PR Manager

Mike Francis
Superintendent, Charles River Valley Management Unit

Sharon, MA – The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees), the nation’s oldest regional land conservation organization, today announced they are making considerable headway on the “green” deconstruction of two buildings located on their Cedariver reservation in Millis. The deconstruction process, which began in August, will result in the harvesting of nearly 135 tons of demolition debris upon completion, which is expected for December. The buildings at Cedariver are among more than 260 buildings located on The Trustees’ 104 properties, all of which are open for the public to enjoy, throughout Massachusetts. Many of those buildings are or have been slated for green renovations. Others, like the ones at Cedariver, are being carefully deconstructed using sustainable, green methods in order to divert waste from landfills, support green jobs, and educate the community about sustainable demolition and building practices.

The Trustees have preserved the original Baker house on the Cedariver reservation, which was the home of the former owners, who generously donated the property to The Trustees in 2007. The organization is removing the two additional buildings located on the site, including a two-story 4,040-square-foot home (built in 1939) and a 500-square-foot adjacent garage. Eric Neville and Mark Parker of Northeast Salvage Company, which specializes in green deconstruction and salvage, are working with The Trustees to carefully dismantle the house piece by piece and document the salvaged materials’ reuse. More than 75 percent of the original Cedariver building materials will be salvaged, sold, reused, and recycled, reentering the construction material market. The process fulfills the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) best practices procedures and adheres to existing statewide landfill laws.

Many materials used to build historic houses are of higher quality than standard materials produced today – such as fir beams and flooring, woodwork, and trim – and are in high demand by homeowners, builders and contractors. Materials from the deconstruction have been resold to interested parties in Sharon, Pelham, Amherst, Clinton, and Brookline, including a shower door, a mantel, the entire den and kitchen, and the complete garage structure, all through Craigslist and Northeast Salvage’s website. For those interested in learning more about the availability of materials being salvaged from Cedariver and/or other deconstruction projects, please visit or search the terms “salvaged” and/or “Millis” for more information.

The Trustees have worked with Northeast Salvage to deconstruct other buildings, including a 1,400-square-foot house and 600-square-foot garage at their Moose Hill Farm reservation in Sharon, as well as a nearby 2,000-square-foot dwelling and adjacent 700-square-foot barn.

As part of a deepening commitment to becoming more sustainable and carbon neutral organization-wide, the 119-year-old Trustees of Reservations are now engaged in a major sustainability initiative to lower the organization’s carbon footprint. With the ambitious goal of reducing their carbon footprint to zero by 2017, The Trustees have already accomplished a reduction of 15% in the past year. Key elements in this initiative include reduction of the organization’s energy usage and trash production, and rethinking how properties are cared for, such as reducing mowing on several hundred acres around the state.

The Trustees’ core conservation work consists of protecting landscapes, identifying and caring for the land’s unique historic and natural resources, and offering place-based educational programs that inspire the next generation of conservationists. The Trustees recognize that their reservations can be wonderful examples that can inspire and lead others to create a more sustainable human presence on the planet.

The Trustees hope that the Cedariver deconstruction will increase awareness of sustainable building and deconstruction options, as well as local interest in the availability of high-quality, salvaged building materials. “We understand that in order to educate and influence the community to reduce their own carbon footprint, we must lead by example by being as green as possible in all that we do,” says Mike Francis, Trustees of Reservations Superintendent for the Charles River Valley Management Unit. “Only then can we demonstrate to others the techniques, behaviors, and changes that will help move our planet towards a more sustainable future,”

Cedariver reservation is one of The Trustees’ newest properties, a 55-acre gem located on the Charles River on the Millis/Medfield line. For generations, it was a working farm and the home of the family of Polly Beal Baker, a dynamic sailor, instructor in the Women’s Army Defense Corps in World War II, wife, mother, and pioneering conservationist. Since it opened to the public in October of 2007, visitors and community members have been able to explore the fields lined with stone walls and meander wooded uplands of mixed hardwoods and evergreens. A mile of frontage along the Charles River enables paddlers to arrive by canoe and kayak, with a boat launch and parking lot just a short distance downstream. The property is also a popular sledding destination in the winter.

Once the house is deconstructed, the open hilltop overlooking the Charles River will become a new area of the reservation that will be open to the public. With a few picnic tables and new sections of trail, this high point will become the heart of the reservation in many ways, and enhance the slope and length of the run for the property’s sledding enthusiasts.

It is widely accepted in the environmental community that current human practices in energy, materials, buildings, and transportation must be radically altered in order to meet the challenges of global climate change and worldwide environmental degradation. The construction/demolition industry is increasing the process of deconstructing old buildings, breaking them down into their component parts so they can be reused or recycled. The large volume of materials, such as lumber, steel, aluminum, and concrete can be saved in major deconstruction projects.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 92 percent of the 136 million tons of construction and demolition waste generated each year comes from demolition and renovation projects. In Massachusetts in recent years, more than a third of all of the trash created is estimated to come from demolition. Deconstruction and reuse can drastically decrease these statistics and protect the environment.

More About the Trustees of Reservations
The Trustees are 100,000 people like you who love the outdoors and the distinctive charms of New England, and believe in celebrating and protecting them for current and future generations. Founded by open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees “hold in trust,” and care for, 104 spectacular “reservations” located on more than 26,000 acres in 75 communities throughout Massachusetts.

All reservations are open for the public to enjoy and range from working farms and historic homesteads – several of which are National Historic Landmarks – to formal gardens, barrier beaches, open meadows, woodland trails, mountain vistas, and a Gold LEED-certified green building in Leominster, the Doyle Center, which serves as a meeting space and gathering place for the conservation community. Of The Trustees’ 26,000 acres, 12,000 are priority habitat for 89 threatened species.

The Trustees also work to promote healthy, active, green communities around the state, by providing hundreds of year-round programs and events that inspire people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors and appreciate the history, nature, and culture of the Commonwealth. Most programs and events are free-of-charge or heavily discounted for members.

An established leader in the conservation movement, The Trustees also hold perpetual conservation restrictions on more than 19,000 additional acres (a total larger than any other conservation organization in Massachusetts), and have worked with community partners to assist in the protection of an additional 16,000 acres around the Commonwealth.

One of the largest non-profits in the state of Massachusetts, The Trustees employ 152 full-time, 49 regular part-time, and 400 seasonal staff with expertise in ecology, education, historic resources, land protection, conservation, land management, and planning. To find out how to apply for employment, request a speaker for an event, become an organizational partner, interview Trustees’ experts on important topics and issues, or become a member, please contact