As a leading land trust on Cape Cod, the Harwich Conservation Trust (HCT), our members, volunteers, board members, and staff have either collectively or individually been recognized by town and statewide organizations as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for our land-saving work. Here are highlights of specific awards received by HCT and the people that support HCT’s work:
Cape Cod Life Magazine’s “Up & Coming” Profile
In 2006, Cape Cod Life Magazine featured Michael Lach as an up and coming leader. Excerpt: “From childhood, when he hiked trails around the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster with his parents, Michael Lach has felt a calling to preserve the natural beauty of Cape Cod.
Today he’s Executive Director of the Harwich Conservation Trust and Assistant Director of The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, a regional land trust center that assists local trusts in preserving the Cape’s open space . . .”
Environmental Champion Award
In 2008, HCT was recognized by the Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC) for our high profile, innovative land protection and land stewardship successes.
The award reads: “On behalf of APCC we honor Harwich Conservation Trust with the Environmental Champion Award. Harwich Conservation Trust, a leader in creating public-private partnerships to protect land, launched a Save Land – Save Water Initiative, a long-range plan to preserve priority lands that help protect water resources like ponds, harbors, streams, estuaries, and public drinking water supplies. It has connected to the community with a highly successful volunteer program that undertakes vernal pool certification, bluebird nestbox monitoring, walking trail enhancements, and educational programs.”
Organization of the Year Award
In 2011, Harwich Conservation Trust was honored as Organization of the Year by the Town of Harwich Chamber of Commerce “for excellence in community service, as well as significant contributions to advancing the Harwich Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Harwich.”
U.S. EPA Environmental Merit Award
On April 25, 2012 at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) New England Region honored Harwich Conservation Trust with an Environmental Merit Award for HCT’s leadership in forging public-private partnerships and creating the Save Land – Save Water Initiative to preserve critical lands that protect water resources. In this vein during 2011, HCT was the leader of the Mill Pond Woodlands Project to protect the public drinking water supply for eleven well sites in both Harwich and Chatham.
Ultimately, the Trust’s partnership-building effort resulted in the Town of Harwich and the Town of Chatham each buying approx. one-half of the landscape for $500,000 each funded by the Community Preservation Act. Meanwhile, the state Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs and the state DEP each supplied a $500,000 land protection grant. The net cost to each town was less than $13,000 per buildable acre in Community Preservation Act dollars, meaning that the funding was designated by town meeting voters for open space preservation and so did not compete with other town funding needs like the schools, roadway maintenance, emergency services or other important town projects. To ensure permanent land protection, the Harwich Conservation Trust and Chatham Conservation Foundation jointly hold a conservation restriction on the entire 38.7-acre tract that links to another 235 acres of open space.
People Who Make a Difference Award
In 2012, the Massachusetts Audubon Society, a statewide leader in Nature education, advocacy and land protection, honored HCT Trustee Colin Leonard for his years of dedicated volunteer service on a range of land stewardship and land protection projects. Excerpt: “Colin donated his time to spearhead the design and construction of a 150-foot wheelchair accessible boardwalk at the A. Janet DeFulvio Wildlife Sanctuary, bordering the second largest river system on Cape Cod, the Herring River. He reached out to businesses, which generously donated the lumber and materials. The boardwalk provides all-persons access to a viewing platform and resting bench that overlooks the sweeping salt marsh, and an osprey nesting platform, which Colin also designed. Under his guidance, AmeriCorps assembled and installed the platform on a cold, windy March weekend in 2006. A pair of ospreys nested just two weeks later.”
Environmental Hero Award
In 2012, the Cape & Islands Chapter of the American Red Cross honored HCT Founding Trustee & President Robert Smith for his 23 years of board leadership and land-saving success. Under his guidance, HCT has preserved hundreds of acres to protect the public drinking water supply, coastal water resources, ponds, wildlife habitat, walking trails and scenic views. The award goes on to say “Whether working with families to preserve lands for future generations or working collaboratively with municipal, state and federal governments to forge public-private partnerships, Smith skillfully navigates the nuances of land protection to negotiate critical acquisitions that sustain and enhance our quality of life on Cape Cod.”
Ansel B. Chaplin Award for Excellence in Preserving Open Space on Cape Cod
In 2013, The Board of Directors of The Compact of Cape Cod Coservation Trusts, Inc. unanimously chose Robert F. Smith to receive the Ansel B. Chaplin Award for Excellence in Preserving Open Space on Cape Cod. Named in honor of The Compact’s founding President, Ansel B. Chaplin of Truro, this award recognizes and celebrates significant work by an individual or group of persons to increase the amount and quality of legally protected conservation land in Barnstable County. The award could be for a single major project or a lifetime of dedication to the cause of open space. Volunteers who have inspired others to join the cause are particularly noteworthy. Past recipients of the award are the late D. Isabel Smith of Harwich, the late Charles H. Thomsen of Orleans, Henry Kelley II of Dennis, Susanne Goodman Hallstein of Falmouth, the late Robert G. Hankey of Wellflee, Anne G. Gould of Cotuit, Henry Lind of Eastman, Celine Gandolfo of Provincetown, John Nye Cullity of Sandwich, and Andy Young of Chatham.