Mount Grace organizes its conservation, stewardship, and outreach efforts through six programs, each with a distinct focus and set of goals.
The Massachusetts Land Initiative for Tomorrow (MassLIFT) is an AmeriCorps program established by Mount Grace in 2010 as a collaborative effort of regional conservation groups to increase the pace of land protection across the Commonwealth. The program aims to build public support for land conservation, increase regional conservation capacity, strengthen land stewardship, and provide opportunities for youth to connect with nature and engage in service learning. MassLIFT is a grant program contingent on federal funds awarded by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The Community Conservation Program provides land conservation services to communities. Through the program, Mount Grace welcomes interested communities with potential conservation projects; strategizes with communities to implement conservation of parcels of interest; provides logistical services such as conservation project management, land management, geographic information system (GIS) mapping, and fundraising to facilitate conservation; and educates and empowers communities to undertake their own projects.
The Community Engagement Program considers community needs that may seem less connected to a land trust's mission — food, education, work, health, spirituality, recreation, companionship — knowing that we will find mutual connections to the land if we look deeply. The Community Engagement Program's goal is to engage diverse demographics and civic interests in educational and community service experiences that cultivate a broad personal appreciation of nature’s many social benefits and inspire increased public support for local land conservation.
The Farm Conservation Program works to identify and protect the working farmland in north central and western Massachusetts. Our farmland conservation projects support and protect the agricultural resources of our region and in doing so sustain our local economy, support the environmental stewardship and strengthen the rural character of our region.
As a guardian of our region’s unique natural heritage, the Landscape Conservation Program works to protect ecologically important lands, waters and wilderness for the benefit of nature and people. Our conservation projects maximize by design the protection of the plants, animals, communities and natural systems—common and uncommon—that characterize the diversity of life spanning our four-ecoregion territory.
The North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership is a voluntary association whose members represent town boards, state and federal agencies, regional planning organizations, land conservation groups, and landowners working together to protect strategic open space within the rural landscape of twenty-six towns in the greater North Quabbin region. The Partnership, which shares office space at Mount Grace’s Skyfields headquarters in Athol, is an independent consortium of groups with its own website, board, and bylaws.
The Stewardship Program works with a dedicated volunteer network of natural resources and land management professionals, and committed citizens, to demonstrate how effective conservation requires a balance between land protection and stewardship. The Stewardship Program employs techniques based on science from the fields of forestry, conservation biology and agriculture, that demonstrate how active and responsible stewardship can provide long-term environmental and economic rewards. The program assists landowners of conserved properties with sustainable solutions to land management challenges.