As Kestrel Land Trust begins a celebration of its 50th Anniversary, we are pleased to announce plans to move our offices to a new home in 2021.
The property in South Amherst was acquired by Kestrel as part of a collaborative conservation project with the Town to acquire and permanently conserve the adjacent 7-acre pond and the surrounding 30 acres of woods, which had been privately owned by one family since the 1950s. The conservation project expanded the Sweet Alice Conservation Area, a central point to access the vast network of hiking trails on the Mount Holyoke Range, which is one primary focus area for our work. As part of this conservation project, Kestrel acquired a single family home and, after a lengthy review, Kestrel’s Board has decided to relocate its operations to this new site.
Located contiguous to the Atkins Farms Village Center at the juncture of Bay Road and Rte. 116 in South Amherst, Kestrel will work with the Town to enhance public access to the pond and trails from trailheads at the foot of the Mount Holyoke Range.
“Moving to a home on the Range is an exciting way to launch our next 50 years as the regional land trust serving the heart of the Pioneer Valley,” said Kristin DeBoer, Executive Director of Kestrel Land Trust.
“The home base has a beautiful view of a pond and mountains, which evokes our mission. It will be a wonderful place to inspire the community to conserve, care for, and connect to the land.”
Founded in 1970 as a volunteer land trust, The Kestrel Trust operated out of board members’ homes for decades. It wasn’t until Kestrel began its merger with another land trust, the Valley Land Fund, and became a fully staffed organization in 2010, that we moved into our first office in downtown Amherst at the old Carriage Shops.
To start, a basic renovation of the house will allow the Trust’s seven staff and two AmeriCorps/TerraCorps volunteers to move in by early 2021. In the coming years, Kestrel hopes that a portion of the building can be renovated to create an accessible space for small community programs and to improve energy efficiency. As a community-supported conservation organization, Kestrel will need the generosity of individuals who share our vision for this next stage to help it come to fruition. When completed, our new “home on the Range” will allow us to grow our team so we can conserve and care for even more land across the Valley.