Mayor Tyer Recognizes BEAT for International Award
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Environmental Action Team was applauded in council chambers on Tuesday for its various efforts that led to an international award.
"BEAT has worked tirelessly to address significant environmental issues that affect the quality of life for Pittsfield residents as well as the animal and plant life found within its borders," Mayor Linda Tyer said.
Joined by Executive Director Jane Winn, Tyer read a proclamation to the council and attendees.
In June, the nonprofit received a prestigious stewardship award at the International Conference of Ecology and Transportation in Burlington, Vt., for its work protecting and reconnecting wildlife and habitat in the Berkshire Wildlife Linkage area.
Through a partnership with the city and the Housatonic Valley Association, undersized culverts that carry Churchill Brook under Hancock Road and Churchill Street were replaced along with bridges, allowing a variety of wildlife to pass under the roads.
The effort is part of the Staying Connected initiative, an international public-private partnership that works to maintain landscape connectivity across the Northern Appalachian–Acadian Region of the United States and Canada.
BEAT was one of more than 235 presentations at the conference from 18 countries and 34 U.S. states.
Winn was all smiles as she held the award, which features a picture of a yellow-spotted salamander, the organization's mascot and a prominent species in the area. She wore a matching shirt.
"We are so proud of this recognition and so happy to have gotten our first international award," she said.
Winn thanked the organization's volunteers, donors, and supporters who keep them going.
Two years ago, BEAT collaborated with the city and the Berkshire Watershed Conservation on an 18-by-8.4-foot culvert on Churchill Street that allows aquatic life and wildlife to pass underneath without disturbance.
The structure is a big improvement from the previous culvert: a 48-inch tunnel that made it difficult for even fish to pass through.
BEAT was incorporated 20 years ago and has many missions that include stewardship, education and outreach, and leading initiatives for zero waste, clean energy, and remediation of polychlorinated biphenyls. The organization has been working to clean the Housatonic River since 2003 and has regular events that support its mission.
Tyer coined Winn as a "fearless leader" and congratulated the organization on its achievements.
"Right here in our very own city, we have brilliant work being undertaken by BEAT," she said.
During the announcement, the organization's new deputy director Brittany Ebeling was introduced.