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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

BEAT Director Accolades

12:00AM / Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Berkshire Environmental Action team Director Jane Winn was named Environmentalist of the year on March 3 at an environmental conference. [Submitted photo by Joan Cousins]
Jane Winn, Berkshire Environmental Action Team's Executive Director, received the Environmentalist Of The Year award from the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC).

Winn received her award from the MACC's Executive Director, Ken Pruitt, at the Annual Environmental Conference on March 3.

Long an environmental advocate and mobilizer of community interest and involvement in wetlands permitting deliberations and open space preservation in the Berkshires, Jane Winn is fierce in her determination and seldom willing to take “no” for a final answer, according to MACC leaders. Winn has demonstrated many times over that perseverance is a powerful advocacy skill.

With the creation, fundraising, nurturing and day-to-day management of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) and the weekly e-publication of The BEAT News, Winn has become a leading spokesperson on environmental issues. Her courage, dedication, and boundless energy have already produced stunning successes – and are creating a broad constituency of knowledgeable, caring activists and stewards to carry the work forward.

The MACC Annual Environmental Conference is the largest gathering of municipal environmental officials in Massachusetts. The 2007 conference on March 3 drew approximately 900 people. In addition to the presentation of MACC’s Environmental Service Awards, the Conference debuted an inspiring short video highlighting the important achievements of Conservation Commissions over the past 50 years on this, the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Conservation Commissions in Massachusetts. This video is now showing on Pittsfield Community Television, Cable Channel 16.

All 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth have Conservation Commissions. Commissions administer the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and local environmental bylaws, acquire and manage open space, work to preserve agricultural lands, and provide local conservation education.

Commissions also participate in local recycling programs, regional growth and planning commissions, and preservation efforts. In meeting their charge to administer the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, Conservation Commissions review and make decisions on over 9000 wetland permit applications each year.

BEAT ensures the taping and broadcasting of the Pittsfield Conservation Commission, Pittsfield Municipal Airport Commission, and the Berkshire Metropolitan Planning Commission – the agency responsible for planning all the state-funded road construction. BEAT alerts people to the major construction projects in Berkshire County undergoing environmental review. BEAT helped the Residents Against the Transfer Station on South Street (RATSSS) force the waste transfer station to move to a better location. The station had been proposed for the bank of the only clean branch of the Housatonic River in Pittsfield. They also ensured that a piece of land on the bank of the River that was given for conservation land could no longer be used as a parking lot for a commercial venture. BEAT also joins with other conservation organizations to hold several river cleanups each year.

Last year BEAT kicked off a new program, "Berkshire Keeping Track" wildlife monitoring program, with a well attended Wildlife Event at Berkshire Community College.

“BCC frequently helps BEAT, whether it is the College Conservation Club helping to organize and run the river cleanups or the Environmental faculty helping to orchestrate a large event.. They have been just wonderful,” said Winn.

"Berkshire Keeping Track" has an initial group of volunteer wildlife monitors being trained by Susan Morse, founder of Keeping Track from Vermont. Once trained, these monitors will set up transects to monitor four times each year for wildlife, such as moose, bear and bobcat. Another group of volunteers will be forming to go through training in September. If anyone is interested they can call Joan Cousins, Berkshire Keeping Track ® Coordinator at 413-443-1154.

BEAT maintains a website (www.thebeatnews.org) full of useful information for anyone interested in the environment, and sends out a weekly e-newsletter, The BEAT News. To sign up to received The BEAT News either visit the website or email Jane@thebeatnews.org.

Berkshire Environmental Action Team is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the environment of Berkshire County, MA and beyond. They 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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