Honoring Kate Buttolph
September 20, 2023
Persistent, patient, committed. These words describe Kate Buttolph when she was focused on the details of a complex land protection project. Add thoughtful, caring, wise, and funny to the list and a more complete picture of a beloved colleague and friend emerges.
With heavy hearts but resolve to carry on her work, we share the news that Katherine “Kate” Buttolph passed on September 1.
Remembering Kate's Legacy of Land Conservation
Kate was instrumental in protecting over 4,000 acres of land in her seven years with Mass Audubon, adding to the thousands more protected during her prior work with the Hunterdon Land Trust in New Jersey. Kate’s devotion to land conservation was unparalleled. Even after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the spring of 2022, she never stopped. She said more than once, “Why would I stop working? It is what I love to do!” And she meant it.
During her time with Mass Audubon, Kate brought well over fifty projects across the finish line. The remaining piece of her final project, Laughing Brook South in Hampden, was completed on August 31 and included 65 acres of ecologically valuable land.
Last year, she was a leader in the Greater Gales Brook Conservation Project which protected over 700 acres in Warwick, Orange, and Royalston. During her time with Mass Audubon, Kate helped significantly expand the protected area of many wildlife sanctuaries including Pleasant Valley in Lenox, Wachusett Meadow in Princeton, and Lime Kiln in Sheffield, among others.
Kate's Passion for Collaboration
At the completion of a project, Kate was quick to turn the spotlight on others and thank them for making the work possible. She valued those she worked with from partner organizations like Mt. Grace Land Conservation Trust and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Kate had a special appreciation for the generosity of landowners who she guided through the complex process of conserving their land. The respect and affection of partners and landowners is a tribute to Kate’s great collaborative skills as well as her warm and attentive nature.
Kate’s legacy is not only the thousands of acres of land that are protected forever, but the impact she had on her colleagues, partners, landowners, and community members. She was a source of inspiration, endless good humor, and positivity.
Before she left us, Kate was hard at work on a new project to preserve almost a thousand acres in Barre. Others will now carry on in her place, better equipped to do the work thanks to the roadmap she handed them.
Tree Planting in Remembrance
Family members, co-workers, partners, landowners, and friends are invited to gather at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary on October 27 at 3:00 pm to plant a tree in Kate Buttolph’s honor. Please RSVP to Assistant Development Director – West Carolyn Cushing via email or phone, 413-276-7620.