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Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
View from Hawes Hill overlooking forest and cloudy skies

Urgent Land Project: Hawes Hill Conservation Corridor, Barre

December 15, 2023

An extraordinary large-scale land protection project is underway in Barre, MA—the Hawes Hill Conservation Corridor. Mass Audubon is collaborating with several partners and landowners to permanently protect more than 800 acres in the vicinity of Rutland Brook Wildlife Sanctuary. 

Not only is conserving this land key to reaching the climate action goal of protecting 30 percent of Massachusetts land by 2030 (30x30), but its ability to capture and store carbon and connect to other lands and biodiverse wildlife habitat as identified by Biomap, makes this project a conservation priority.

We have until the end of June 2024 to raise an additional $650,000 to complete the project—and we need your help!

View from Hawes Hill overlooking forest and cloudy skies

What Makes This Land Special

The Hawes Hill Conservation Corridor thoughtfully stitches together a mosaic of biodiverse habitat, streams, and sustainably managed woods and fields in a tightly knit geography. 

It features eight properties, five of which are greater than 100 acres. All will be protected by perpetual conservation restrictions and will continue to be sustainably managed by the private landowners, generally for forestry, agriculture, and recreation. 

Collectively, these properties form a compelling landscape-scale initiative that:

  • protects drinking water;
  • promotes climate resilience;
  • connects to more than 3,000 acres of adjacent, protected land;
  • supports the local economy; and
  • bolsters a legacy of conservation just east of the Quabbin Reservoir and a half-hour drive from Worcester.

The project is a partnership between Mass Audubon, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, the Massachusetts Division of Water Supply Protection, the Town of Barre Conservation Commission, and the East Quabbin Land Trust. Mass Audubon will acquire an interest in twi of the eight properties. 

Statewide Land Protection Strategy

As part of our Action Agenda, Mass Audubon is committed to protecting and stewarding critical lands that will help ensure Massachusetts’ resilience to climate change. We are advancing key public-private partnerships to achieve Massachusetts’ 30x30 goal to protect 100,000 acres of biodiverse and carbon-rich lands, which will have enormous benefits for the Commonwealth’s people and wildlife. 

Map of conservation area protected by Hawes Hill

Using the latest data from Biomap and Harvard Forest that measure carbon capture and storage, land connectivity for wildlife corridors, and nearby protected landscapes, Mass Audubon and its partners identified the Hawes Hill Conservation Corridor as a priority for permanent protection.

Gaston Pond surrounded by lush green trees on its shores

How You Can Help

The estimated cost to permanently protect these critical lands is $2.5 million. To date, Mass Audubon and Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust have secured $1.25 million through the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Landscape Partnership Program. Over the last several months, we have also received gifts and grants from generous individuals and foundations in support of the project. 

We must now raise the remaining $650,000 by June 30, 2024, to meet EEA’s grant requirements and close the project.

Please join us in this exciting conservation effort by making a gift to the Hawes Hill Conservation Corridor project today. Your support is essential to the success of this rare large-scale land protection opportunity—thank you in advance for your commitment to land conservation in Massachusetts!

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Updated May 22, 2024