Greenberg Family Conservation Area
Kestrel Nature Retreat
In 1955, Stanley and Bernice Greenberg were newlyweds living in Northampton when they decided to buy a piece of forested land in Westhampton. In 1958, they made that forest their home, as they moved with their two young daughters, Carolyn and Rebecca, to the house they had built there.
Their relatives visiting from Springfield and New York City would marvel at the trees, the good country air, the quiet, and the beauty of rural Westhampton, Rebecca recalls.
“We grew up with a sense of how special the land was,” Rebecca said. “We have such good memories of exploring the forest: Visiting the brook with our grandfather on hot summer days, hearing the peepers and whip-poor-wills, seeing deer and wild turkeys, and following rabbits’ tracks through the snowy woods.”
Giving a Cherished Family Forest to the Whole Community
More than 60 years later, this beloved landscape has been permanently conserved through this family’s generosity. Because of their deep appreciation of the land, Rebecca and Carolyn donated their 65 acres to Kestrel Land Trust. “We felt that donating this land in our parents’ memory would be a wonderful way for us to acknowledge and honor them, while preserving the woods they cherished so that it could be shared with the community they loved and called home,” Rebecca said.
“The Greenberg Family Conservation Area: Given in memory of Stanley and Bernice Greenberg by their daughters, Carolyn Greenberg and Rebecca Greenberg”
During their lifetimes, Stanley and Bernice invited their neighbors to walk the trails through the woods and along Sodom Brook, which supports native brook trout populations as well as the local water supply. Now, even more opportunities for public enjoyment of the land will be created under Kestrel’s ownership, in collaboration with the local community.
“This wonderful property is already enjoyed by its neighbors, so we’re excited to share it with people from surrounding communities as well,” said Mark Wamsley, Kestrel’s Land Conservation Manager. This property was the first project in Kestrel’s “Nature Next Door” initiative to create welcoming natural spaces closer to residential centers, and offer programs that support community interests and needs.
In addition to becoming more accessible to the neighborhood and the general public for hiking and other passive recreation, the Greenberg Family Conservation Area also has the potential to become an educational resource, since the land is adjacent to Hampshire Regional High School. As a “Learning Landscape,” the forest and stream could be a living laboratory for science classes or provide an inspiring setting for art classes.
The Greenbergs’ generous donation of the land they love is a gift that will be shared with the Valley for generations to come.
Leaving a Legacy
The Greenbergs’ donation was just one step in a thoughtful plan for their parents’ estate liquidation. After consulting with Kestrel and professional advisors, it became clear that the family land could help the sisters realize multiple financial goals—including personal income and tax relief—while protecting the majority of the property. Rebecca and Carolyn first sold their parents’ home. Then they sold two building lots from the wooded property. The newly conserved adjacent land offered added appeal to prospective buyers. From the 65-acre land donation, the Greenbergs received a tax credit that reduced their income taxes for several years.
Learn more about estate planning options here [link to come].