The Massachusetts Woodlands Institute (MWI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management and the conservation of the working woodlands of Massachusetts. The Institute helps landowners and the public maintain the rural environment, promotes conservation and enhancements of forests, farms, and businesses in the rural environment, and fosters community and business development. Since its inception, the Institute has conducted research on forest use, wildlife enhancement and marketing of forest products; offered educational programs to landowners, rural businesses and the general public; developed and implemented standards for sustainable forestry practices; and assisted in certifying that landowners and businesses meet such standards.
MWI was created as a sister organization to the Massachusetts Woodlands Cooperative, a forest management, processing and marketing cooperative organized by and on behalf of forest landowners in western Massachusetts which closed down in 2011. Since then, MWI has partnered with the Franklin Land Trust (FLT), a non-profit organization that works with landowners and communities to conserve their farms, forests and other natural resources significant to the environmental quality, economy and rural character of western Massachusetts. In 2014, MWI has become a subsidiary of the Franklin Land Trust. The goal of the MWI/FLT partnership is to help landowners learn more about their wooded land, enrich their appreciation and enhance their ability to protect and steward the land for the long term.
The Massachusetts Woodlands Institute (MWI) has been awarded the contract to administer two programs within the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Working Forest Initiative: the Forest Stewardship Program and the pilot Foresters for the Birds Program. As a statewide non-profit organization with significant project management, landowner outreach, and partnership experience, MWI work with the Franklin Land Trust as a partner in the Forest Stewardship Program and Massachusetts Audubon as a partner in the Foresters for the Birds Program. Visit their website: http://masswoodlands.org/
Whately Land Preservation
Whately Land Preservation is a community organization established by local residents to help preserve our town’s rural character. Our farms and forests have sustained generations of townspeople who have worked these lands or enjoyed their bounty and beauty.
Yet, like so many other rural communities, Whately faces development pressure—pressure that in other places has quickly turned forests into subdivisions and farmland into asphalt. Our mission is to work with land-owners to protect Whately’s most valued open spaces and natural resources for generations of residents to come.
WLP is affiliated with the Franklin Land Trust, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in Shelburne Falls, that has protected over 28,000 acres of farms and forests in and around Franklin County.
Working with the Franklin Land Trust, WLP identifies opportunities to preserve land in Whately and helps to raise money to finance land protection projects. WLP assists landowners interested in exploring land protection options, and works with town boards to encourage sound planning and protection of our natural resources.
Did You Know?
- Saving land saves money. Cows don’t go to school and trees don’t call 911, so an acre of farm or forest land typically requires only 37 cents in town services for every property tax dollar it contributes.
- Residential development may grow the tax base, but it doesn’t often pay for itself. On average, residential development requires $1.19 in town services (schools, roads, ambulance, etc.) for every dollar contributed in property taxes. Calculations are based on studies conducted by the American Farmland Trust.
- Whately’s land area is 13,227 acres. Of this, 66% is forestland and 19% is farmland. Only 9% of the town’s total land area is permanently protected from development.
- Whately’s natural areas support 10 state-listed rare species, including the Dwarf Wedgemussel, which is on the Federal endangered species list.
- In a 2006 survey of town residents, over 70% of those who responded said preserving farms and farmland is very important to them; more than 90% indicated that protecting drinking water supplies is very important.
Raspberry Hill Community Garden at Guyette Farm
The Franklin Land Trust is happy to host the Raspberry Hill Community Garden at Guyette Farm in Plainfield. The organizers of Raspberry Hill are a group of volunteers that seek to create a beautiful and functional agricultural space for community members to use and enjoy, as a continuation of the long farming history of the land by the Guyette family.
The group prepared the ground in 2011 and established community garden plots in the spring of 2012. They currently have 15 plots and are expanding the garden space for the 2014 season. They also offer periodic workshops open to the community. Please visit their website for information on current projects, public workshops, recipes, and to find out what's growing in the garden.
Guyette Farm was gifted to FLT by Evelyn Guyette in memory of her husband, Harry, and is permanently protected from development. Guyette Farm is one of a number of properties owned and managed by FLT for wildlife management and education. FLT has established a natural history interpretative trail system on the land for the public to enjoy, and offers community events and educational programs there. We plan to continue adding to the trail system and hope to restore the historic barn on the property. FLT also partners with organizations such as the Student Conservation Association to help with training their members, and with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service on wildlife management projects.
Questions about the garden?
Contact Bi-sek Hsiao via email or (413) 634-5663
Questions about Guyette Farm?
Contact Will Anderson via email or (413) 625-9151