Butterworth Property, Petersham

Butterworth Property Land Campaign at Rutland Brook Wildlife Sanctuary

The Butterworth Property in Petersham, MA


Make a Difference 

Help us save the Butterworth property.

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We have an extraordinary opportunity to protect 84 acres of woods and wetlands in Petersham, known as the Butterworth property.

The land is adjacent to Mass Audubon’s 1700-acre Rutland Brook Wildlife Sanctuary and boasts an abundance of wildlife and a 20-acre beaver pond. Mass Audubon has secured an option to purchase the land for conservation, and we need to raise $270,000 by March 2017 to make this purchase.

The Land 

Bird at the Butterworth Property in Petersham, MA

The Butterworth property is a beautiful landscape of cathedral-like hemlock and white pines interspersed with wetlands. Located amongst Rutland Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, Harvard Forest, and the Swift River Reservation, its protection would create a significant link between over 4,000 acres of protected open space and protect the water quality of the Quabbin Reservoir. 

The property is home to deer, beaver, and porcupine as well as broad-winged hawks, black-throated blue warblers, eastern towhees, and numerous cavity nesting birds. A tributary to the East Branch of the Swift River, one of the purest streams in central New England, resides on the property, in addition to a beautiful 20-acre beaver pond.

The Opportunity

This property has been owned by the Butterworth family since 1935, and the estate of George Butterworth has decided to sell the land for conservation. Mass Audubon has the opportunity to purchase 84 acres—a top priority—and hold a Conservation Restriction on 29 additional acres; Harvard Forest will acquire 108 acres.

Why is the Butterworth Property Worth Protecting?

  • Land conservation. Acquiring 84 acres of high priority forest and wetlands, identified as Critical Natural Landscape by the state, protects important habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals.
  • Water quality. Conserving this property will protect water quality of the nearby Quabbin Reservoir, which provides drinking water to over 2.5 million people.
  • Connection. Protecting this land will create an unbroken east-west wildlife corridor, connecting with Harvard Forest lands to the west and linking over 4,000 acres of contiguous protected land.
  • Partnership. This acquisition is part of a larger partnership including the Harvard Forest and the Department of Conservation and Recreation to conserve lands in Petersham.
  • Recreation. This project will further the town of Petersham’s goals of protecting scenic landscapes and watershed lands for all to enjoy.

How You Can Help

To turn the option into a purchase, we need to raise $270,000 by March 2017, and we need your help to reach this goal! Your contribution will help protect drinking water quality and wildlife habitat, as well as expand opportunities for hiking, bird watching and learning about the natural world.

Donate Now

To learn more, or make a gift by phone, please contact Liz Albert at 781-259-2104 or by email.