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Boston, MA – May 8, 2015 – The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees), the nation’s first regional land trust and one of Massachusetts’ largest conservation and preservation nonprofits, is pleased to announce its President and CEO Barbara Erickson will be presented with an honorary doctorate from Westfield State University at their Commencement on May 16, 2015. Erickson has been selected to receive this distinction for her contributions to the preservation of the land and culture of the Commonwealth as well as her distinguished career as a woman in public leadership.
Erickson is the fourth President and CEO in The Trustees’ nearly 125-year history and the first woman to hold the position. Since joining in 2012, she has focused on transforming the organization and expanding its impact as a leading conservation and preservation nonprofit dedicated to enriching the lives of Massachusetts residents and visitors. With a passion for culture and the outdoors, and a belief that society is becoming increasingly disconnected to nature and history, Erickson has moved the mandate of Trustees’ founder and open space visionary, Charles Eliot another step forward. Using its 113 natural, cultural, and agricultural properties located throughout the Commonwealth and hundreds of educational, experiential, and outdoor programs held throughout the year as platforms, she has lead The Trustees to engage a broader constituency in healthy, active living and a stronger connection to community and culture. To date, The Trustees has experienced the highest income, visitor, and membership growth in the nonprofit organization’s history under her leadership and direction.
“I am honored to receive this special distinction from Westfield State University,” says Erickson. “Our organizations have similar missions to inspire a new generation of young leaders to appreciate, protect, and advocate for our irreplaceable natural and cultural resources. With its excellent Geography and Regional Planning department—the only undergraduate program of its kind in the Northeast—and top notch Environmental Science program, Westfield State is helping to shape the future leaders who will make an impact on our world. I look forward to continuing The Trustees’ long-standing relationship with the students, faculty, and administration here to create more opportunities to inspire our future young leaders together.”
"It is a privilege to welcome Barbara Erickson to Westfield State University and to honor her accomplishments and the work of The Trustees of Reservations, which enrich the lives of so many. I have long admired The Trustees, and I have tremendous respect for Ms. Erickson’s accomplishments and her demonstrated commitment to public service and philanthropy, which represent the spirit of critical, creative thinking and social responsibility Westfield State cultivates in its students," said Elizabeth H. Preston, president, Westfield State University.
In the Pioneer Valley, Erickson has worked this past year with her regional team and community partners to increase the protection of Mount Warner Reservation in North Hadley, which officially opened to the public with a new two-mile trail network last fall. The property connects to one of the largest, nearly contiguous 500-acre swaths of protected land—comprising one of the largest forested tracks in the area—and offers a wide array of outdoor recreational opportunities and programs. In the Berkshires, Erickson’s leadership has resulted in the preservation of critical natural and cultural properties such as the iconic view shed from Flag Rock, expanding the Monument Mountain Reservation in Great Barrington, and the historic gardens at Naumkeag, a National Historic Landmark in Stockbridge. This spring and summer area students, residents, and visitors seeking opportunities for place-based learning, exploration, and fun can chose from a myriad of walks, talks, open houses and fun public programs offered at Trustees sites across the west region as well as the entire state. For more information, visit: www.thetrustees.org/thingstodo.
Before joining The Trustees in 2012, Ms. Erickson was a senior executive at the global children's charity, Save the Children, one of the top five nonprofits in the world. While with Save the Children, she was responsible for leading the organization’s fundraising and engagement functions, raising a record $200 million in philanthropic revenues in 2011. Prior to that, Ms. Erickson served as Chief Development Officer of Boston-based Earthwatch Institute. Her many professional achievements have consistently resulted in strategic growth and increased impact for the organizations in which she has worked, including Bank of America, the Boys & Girls Clubs, the American Cancer Society and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Ms. Erickson currently serves as an overseer for the Boston Ballet. She holds a BA in Arts & Letters, English from Northern Arizona University.
The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) “hold in trust” and care for properties, or “reservations,” of irreplaceable scenic, historic, and natural significance for the general public to enjoy. Founded by open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees is the world’s oldest land trust and one of Massachusetts’ largest conservation and preservation nonprofits. Supported by more than 100,000 members and donors and thousands of volunteers, The Trustees own and manage 113 spectacular reservations – from working farms and historic homesteads and landscaped gardens, to community parks, barrier beaches, mountain vistas and woodland trials – located on more than 26,000 acres throughout the Commonwealth. With hundreds of outreach programs, workshops, camps, concerts and events annually designed to engage all ages in its mission, The Trustees invite you to Find Your Place and get out and experience the natural beauty and culture our state has to offer. For more information, visit www.thetrustees.org.