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MG Honored with Mass Audubon Award

Posted Monday, November 20, 2023
— News

Mass Audubon named Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust (MGLCT) the recipient of its 2023 Allen H. Morgan Award during the statewide conservation organization’s Annual Meeting at GBH in Boston November 2.

The award, which honors “distinguished achievement in the environmental arena, including extraordinary effectiveness as an advocate for the environment, or sustained efforts to protect a special location or category of locations,” is named for Mass Audubon’s sixth President (1959-80). Morgan led the organization to embrace the nascent environmental movement in the 1960s while guiding it to achieve the 10,000-acre milestone in open space acquired.

Athol-based Mount Grace, which has become a leader in land protection efforts in North Central Massachusetts since its founding in 1986, has collaborated with Mass Audubon on multiple projects over the years.

Most recently, the organizations partnered to complete the Greater Gales Brook Conservation Project, involving multiple land parcels in the towns of Orange, Warwick, and Royalston, to protect more than 700 acres of critical habitats within the Millers River Watershed. MGLCT and Mass Audubon are currently working with other land trusts on the Hawes Hill Conservation Corridor Project, which will conserve nearly 1,000 acres across multiple properties in the Town of Barre, east of the Quabbin Reservoir.

“Land conservation is widely understood to be the most critical natural solution to mitigate climate change and protect our fragile biodiversity,” MGLCT Executive Director Emma G. Ellsworth said. “The 23 towns of the Mount Grace region represent one of the few places in Massachusetts where we have a combination of thousands of acres of unprotected forest and farmland, passionate landowners, and relative affordability.

“We need to act fast to protect these invaluable threatened open spaces, which is both a tremendous opportunity and responsibility,” Ellsworth noted. “The growing partnership with Mass Audubon allows us to meet this moment and protect more of our region’s beautiful and critical landscapes faster.”

Mass Audubon Senior Director of Land Conservation David Santomenna expanded on her remarks. “Mount Grace shares our commitment to landscape-scale projects that enhance climate resilience and strengthen migration corridors for increasingly vulnerable wildlife,” Santomenna said. “From our own positive experiences in working with Mount Grace’s terrific staff and volunteers, we could not choose a more worthy recipient of the Allen H. Morgan Award.”