Barbara Corey (together with her late husband, Roger) are Mount Grace members #3. Barbara served on the Mount Grace Board a total of 12 years, from 1989-1993 and 1999-2007; perhaps the longest of any person. Appropriately, her photo is on the cover of Mount Grace’s first newsletter in 1990; Volume 1, Number 1.
Jason Hakkila’s grandmother always wanted him to have “a little chunk of land to build a house on,” ideally on the Phillipston land that has been in the family for three generations.
Jason took that wish to heart, building his own home, working mostly solo from 7am-noon and then midnight-2am each day sandwiched around his second shift job with the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Department. “My best friend’s a plumber and my neighbor’s an electrician, so that really helped, but most of the rest I did myself,” he explains.
The conservation areas Mount Grace owns comprise 1,700+ acres of diverse landscapes, including miles of trails that are open to the public. To make it easier for people to enjoy places like these, our stewardship team is creating a set of maps for our public trails, and has been upgrading the signage at our public conservation areas.
Mount Grace encourages all our members and neighbors to enjoy the thousands of acres we have worked together to protect, including:
Thousand Acre Brook, which meanders through Athol and Phillipston to reach the Millers River, has long been a conservation focus. Wildlife studies have logged hundreds of species in its watershed, including 108 different birds, and Mount Grace has been helping local families protect land there for years. Our newest partners are Cindy Coppolino and her brother Kevin Schlicke, who have added 58 acres of family land to Phillipston’s Town Forest.
This summer, Ryan and Sarah Voiland realized a long-awaited dream by selling Red Fire Farm’s 124 acres in Montague to Mount Grace. The couple has no plans to move. Instead, they have signed a lifetime lease on the land, and will continue to run the farm in a new partnership with the trust.
Farmers Dan and Nina Keller have permanently protected 48 acres of their farm in the Mormon Hollow section of Wendell. Protecting the land is the newest chapter in the history of a farm that had been all but abandoned in 1969 when Dan Keller and several friends—recent graduates from Pioneer Valley colleges—bought the land together and moved there to farm as part of the back to the land movement.
Thanks to all who joined Mount Grace at the Paul C. Dunn Woodland Preserve in Ashburnham on Saturday, February 11 to celebrate 30 years of local land conservation!