Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
View of mountains at sunset in North Adams
2021 Photo Contest Winner Landscapes @ Eric Dubreuil

30x30 Catalyst Fund

Across the globe, climate change is wreaking havoc, harming people, wildlife, and the environment in unprecedented ways. Here at home, we face major threats to diminishing wildlife habitat and the destruction caused by extreme heat, flooding, and sea level rise.  

Fortunately, nature itself offers a powerful and cost-effective solution to addressing these threats. Natural lands clean our water and air, provide critical habitat for threatened and endangered species, and capture and store climate-heating carbon, keeping it out of the atmosphere. And in Massachusetts, we have the opportunity to lead the way in providing a model that can be used elsewhere to address these challenges. 

What is 30x30?

At the COP 15 climate change forum in 2022, leaders from 190 countries united around a shared goal to reverse the Earth’s loss of nature and to mitigate climate change. This agreement nicknamed “30x30” pledges each country to conserve 30% of its lands and waters by 2030.  

In Massachusetts, 27% of the state’s land is permanently conserved. Although we’re tantalizingly close to reaching 30x30, protecting the final 3%—about 100,000 acres, roughly the size of Boston, Worcester, and Springfield combined—will require urgency, collaboration, and bold, innovative strategies. To meet this critical moment, we, as the state's largest landowner and trusted conservation partner, will partner with other conservation organizations, state and federal agencies, cities and towns, and private donors. In collaboration, we can provide a viable path for the Commonwealth to reach its ambitious targets. 

A Collaborative Vision for Protecting the Most Important Lands in Massachusetts by 2030​

Mass Audubon’s new $75 million 30x30 Catalyst Fund is the most ambitious land conservation initiative ever undertaken by Mass Audubon and the largest of its kind in the region. Seeded by a transformative $25 million gift from MathWorks, the ambition of the Catalyst Fund is to inspire philanthropic investment and leverage public capital to ensure we achieve the Commonwealth’s goal of reaching 30x30. 

The 30x30 Catalyst Fund will enable Mass Audubon to move quickly and to permanently protect the most biodiverse and carbon-rich land in the state. It will also us to provide critical supports, both technical and financial, to our conservation partners. While we can achieve much with our expertise and capacity, we will need the conservation community to come together to fully meet the 30x30 goals. 

Mass Audubon will be able to use the Catalyst Fund to act more quickly than ever before, securing properties that are at high risk. For example, we may step in to acquire a property being placed on the market and then transfer it to a conservation organization or agency. In this scenario, we’ll aim to recoup some of the purchase costs that we put into the acquisition so that we can use them to conserve even more land. Or we’ll make a strategic contribution to a project to enable the project advocates to reach their fundraising goal.  

The newly protected lands may become part of Mass Audubon’s wildlife sanctuary network, while other properties will be protected by our conservation partners. Our interest is in supporting the whole conservation community in accelerating the pace of conservation. 

Rushing stream through a forest
© Jen Scovern

Protecting the Highest-Value Lands 

Although all natural lands are valuable, certain acres are particularly critical for clean air and water, wildlife, and carbon storage. We’re using GIS (Geographic Information System) modeling to identify these acres, analyzing how much pollution they can absorb out of the atmosphere and how much the protection of these habitats could benefit species at risk.  

We’re especially focused on protecting large forest tracts in Central and Western Massachusetts and land along the Massachusetts coast that can maintain our air and water quality, provide crucial wildlife habitat, and help to foster climate resilience across the Commonwealth.

Red Eft resting on top of green moss in summer © Jenn Janaitis
Red Eft © Jenn Janaitis

The 30x30 Catalyst Fund in Action 

In 2023, a large-scale solar energy developer had an agreement to purchase 1,365 wooded acres in the towns of Winchendon and Ashburnham. The towns had three options: allow the developer to make the deal and clear-cut 350 acres, match the offer and purchase the land, or assign the rights to purchase the land to a third-party conservation organization.    

Neither town was in a financial position to buy the land, but by working with the local Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust and other partners, we were able to prevail on the towns to assign their option to Mass Audubon. Thanks to this fund, Mass Audubon has now purchased the land and will transfer it to a combination of state agencies and non-profits for permanent protection.  

How You Can Help

Mass Audubon is building a pipeline of significant land conservation opportunities in communities across Massachusetts. We are working closely with state officials and land trust partners to meet the urgency of this moment. But we need your help!  

We are actively raising funds to meet the 30x30 Catalyst Fund’s $75 million goal. 

Please join Mass Audubon in this vital land protection initiative by making a gift to the 30x30 Catalyst Fund. Your support is essential to achieve the 30x30 land protection goal and to help ensure a climate-resilient future for people and wildlife across the Commonwealth. 

To learn more about making an investment in the Catalyst Fund, please securely donate online today or contact Janet Curtis.

Together, we can achieve 30x30 in Massachusetts and provide a model for other states and regions to take on the challenge! 

Donate

People walking on Trail  with view of clouds and mountains in the distance
Old Baldy Wildlife Sanctuary, Otis

How to Work with Mass Audubon as a Land Protection Partner  

Mass Audubon is interested in partnering with land trusts, cities and towns, and government agencies to support projects that help us all to reach 30x30 and create a more biodiverse and climate-resilient Massachusetts. Learn how your project could benefit from 30x30 Catalyst Funds