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.
Trail covered in orange and yellow fallen leaves, leading into a forest with yellow leaves.
Eagle Lake, Holden

Protecting a Key Wildlife Corridor and Securing a Legacy

December 13, 2022

On November 1, 2022, Mass Audubon was given 31 acres of land next to Eagle Lake Wildlife Sanctuary in Holden, MA by the estate of Edna Tilander.

While it is only four miles or so from the City of Worcester (New England’s second largest city), a visit to this property is a trip into a different world.

This section of forest serves as important habitat for a variety of wildlife and includes two beautiful cold-water streams and at least two textbook examples of vernal pools. We even found signs of moose on one of our visits to the property.

The land fills a critically important gap in a large block of over 10,000 acres of conserved land. 

Protecting large, diverse landscapes of connected natural land like this is important in the age of climate change because it gives plants and wildlife more room to move around and adapt as the world changes.

Edna Tilander

Just as important as land itself are the people that make its conservation possible. Conservation of this property represents a lifetime of love and care for the natural world. Edna Tilander lived on this land for most of her life and cherished the nature that she experienced every day. She wanted to make sure that the natural habitat of this special place would remain in perpetuity.

To this end, Edna worked with Mass Audubon on her gift during her lifetime and left her property for Mass Audubon to protect through her estate plan. Some generous landowners choose to give their land to Mass Audubon during their lifetimes while others, like Edna, do so through their will or trust. 

Edna’s gift also shows how flexible bequests can be. She left most of her land to Mass Audubon to be conserved, and also gave her house and the small piece of land on which it sits to her niece who was already living there. Thanks to Edna’s generosity, this important wildlife corridor will be protected in perpetuity, bolstering the resiliency of the land near Worcester and leaving a wonderful legacy of Edna’s care for the environment.

If you are thinking about donating land for conservation, a bequest could be a good option. Mass Audubon’s philanthropy team can help you think through ways to structure your gift through your estate plan or during your lifetime. Contact Gift Planning for more information and for help in planning your gift so as to achieve your goals and to have the greatest impact.