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Sue Bush
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BEAT Awarded $2,800 Grant

12:00AM / Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Pittsfield - The Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) has received a grant for $2,800 from the Berkshire Environmental Endowment fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation in support of the Berkshire Connections project.

BEAT's Berkshire Connections project seeks to identify ways to maintain or improve connections among large protected landscapes in and around the Berkshires.

Massachusetts is at a turning point. Currently, the state has almost as much forested land as in 1650. But that is changing fast.

According to Mass Audubon's Losing Ground, Massachusetts is losing about 40 acres of open space every day to development. This doesn't leave much time to ensure that connections among large protected landscapes will also be protected. These connections are necessary to allow safe movement, especially of large mammals, among these protected islands.

The grant from the Berkshire Environmental Endowment fund will support volunteer wildlife monitoring through BEAT's Berkshire Keeping Track Wildlife Monitoring Program. Currently, 16 volunteers are being trained as Wildlife Monitors by Sue Morse of Keeping Track®, Inc. of Vermont.

These volunteers will undergo six day-long training sessions and many days of “dirt time” practicing in the woods to become the first group of trained wildlife monitors in the Berkshire Keeping Track (BKT) program. Another group of volunteers will begin monitor training in the fall of 2007.

The BKT Wildlife Monitors will set up monitoring transects throughout Berkshire County that they will monitor at least four times each year for signs of focal mammal species such as moose, bobcat, bear, mink, and otter. This data will be shared with local conservation organizations, colleges, and the Keeping Track® organization in Vermont.

The wildlife monitoring data will help inform decisions in determining the most important connections to be maintained among large protected landscapes. Those interested in becoming a Berkshire Keeping Track Wildlife Monitor please contact Berkshire Keeping Track coordinator, Joan Cousins at jcousins@berkshire.rr.com.

Berkshire Environmental Action Team is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the environment of Berkshire County, MA and beyond. We believe that an informed citizenry is the environment’s best protection. BEAT's mission includes reaching out to the community by helping people to understand the value of our environmental assets, the laws designed to protect those assets, and the actions people can take to help protect their environment.
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