Published on July 21, 2021

Meet a Land Conservation Champion: Katherine Buttolph

Kate Buttolph is a Land Protection Specialist at Mass Audubon

You're part of the Land Conservation team. What is your specific area of focus?

I cover land protection projects in central and western Massachusetts, including adding land to existing wildlife sanctuaries and discovering potential new sanctuaries. I also work with partners to facilitate land conservation by other land trusts or entities like the MA Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) and the MA Department of Fish & Game (MassWildlife).

What's your typical day like?

My day-to-day work is focused on real estate transactions. I tell people about Mass Audubon’s land conservation work in the Valley and the Berkshires, provide information about the conservation process, and share the array of organizations which can help accomplish a conservation outcome.

Sometimes I provide information about how to preserve land to an interested landowner in the hopes that landowner will call Mass Audubon in the future. I explain about how to preserve land while still owning it, or how to sell land for conservation and potentially get a tax benefit. I look at maps and make inquiries of landowners, as well as respond to people who call and offer property to Mass Audubon.

What brought you to western Massachusetts?

I came to New England after 30+ years of working for a county-wide land trust in New Jersey—I wanted to be closer to my son and his new family. It also meant I'd be closer to friends I made in the early 2000s when I worked for MA DCR as well as family members in the Valley, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. When the right time came to move, western Mass appealed to me specifically because it's rural but has lots of music, dancing, art, food, great bakeries, and super craft breweries. Plus Tanglewood and the Adirondacks!

Do you have a favorite Mass Audubon trail?

It's hard to choose! But I favor the Dutch & Mary Barnard Trail at High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary because of the variety of habitat, good views, woods, and wetlands.

If you could be any animal or bird, what would you be?

I'd like to be a fox! Foxes are cute, friendly, and playful. They can stay warm in winter without long-johns. If I were a bird, I’d like to be a Cedar Waxwing just because they are wildly beautiful.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I’m passionate about reading and always have a book and an audio book going. COVID-19 lowered the number of audio books and increased the number of actual pages turned. I am also passionate about my two grandsons, and we spend many hours reading, running, or hanging out with toys.