We moved to western Massachusetts (back home for Lillian) because there is a scale and sense of community that is unique. The combination of small towns that have succeeded in retaining their character despite modernization, and a rural landscape complete with open spaces and working farms make this area ideal. We know that the FLT works hard to make this a reality.
We have supported other land conservation non-profits in the past, but feel especially drawn to the Franklin Land Trust for two reasons. First, it is a local organization. It is incredibly satisfying to see an organization we support doing worthwhile work right in our backyard. We know where our contribution is going. We can see the results. Our farmer friends benefit. We benefit.
Evidence of the Franklin Land Trust is present in our daily lives. Kristian appreciates the FLT while running on the Mahican Trail or occasionally bicycling to work from Shelburne Falls to Greenfield. Lillian sees evidence of conservation while admiring the views when driving to work in Heath, stopping by Hager’s Farm Stand, or walking to the farmer’s market in Shelburne. We have been lucky enough to attend the Farm and Garden tour, and have participated in the D2R2 and the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon.
Our 1-year old daughter is just beginning to appreciate the value of public access to wildlife habitats. Just recently she discovered the joy of stream exploration. We feel lucky to live in an area where this is all possible.
We also strongly agree with the FLT’s approach to land conservation. We understand the importance of land protection, but are even more passionate about stewardship and providing families and individuals with the tools needed to successfully work with the land. The Franklin Land Trust maintains a unique balance between land protection and stewardship.
Though Lillian has always called West County ‘home’, we have only lived here as a family for the past four years. We already feel a deep sense of ‘place’, and are honored to be able to share the land and our experiences with our young daughter. We encourage others, and especially young families, to invest in this unique locale by supporting the FLT. We are grateful to the hard-working staff and local landowners for making this area so special. Happy Summer!
– Kristian, Lillian & Anneke Whitsett Shelburne