Berkshire Green Drinks: Twenty Years of Protecting the Environment for Wildlife

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Join Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) for their final Green Drinks presentation of 2023, where BEAT staff will talk about the organization's work of this past year and explore what comes next as the new year approaches. 
 
The virtual gathering will take place by Zoom on Wednesday, Dec. 13, from 6:00 to 7:15 PM. 
 
According to a press release:
 
Be part of the discussion and hear about BEAT's new Breathe Easy Berkshires program that is monitoring air quality in Pittsfield; the organization's continued work in improving aquatic and terrestrial wildlife connectivity and how volunteers can help; its efforts to eliminate plastic bags from local grocery stores, plus other Berkshire Zero Waste Initiative projects; the first phase of completed renovations at its Environmental Leadership & Education Center and what they have planned for this community space; and its fight to prevent the construction of the Enbridge Project Maple pipeline and the expansion of private jet services in Massachusetts.
 
Pre-registration is required to attend this free event. Register at: https://tinyurl.com/Dec2023-Berks-Green-Drinks
 
Berkshire Environmental Action Team was established in 2003 when a vernal pool at Berkshire Community College (BCC) was being threatened by the development of soccer fields on the campus. Over the past two decades, BEAT has taken on many fights and projects — often leading them and creating a path for environmental change and progress. BEAT’s mission has remained the same: To protect the environment for wildlife in support of the natural world that sustains us all. However, the organization's vision and goals have continuously expanded and evolved. 
 
Berkshire Green Drinks (formerly Pittsfield Green Drinks) is an informal gathering that takes place once a month. A guest speaker talks for about 30 minutes beginning at 6 PM, and the presentation is followed by a discussion and Q&A. These nights are free and open to everyone with any environmental interest. The drinks aren't green but the conversations are. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join and bring along questions!
 
Berkshire Green Drinks is sponsored and organized by the Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT).

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Pittsfield Historical Commission Plans Wahconah Park Project Support

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Historical Commission will draft a letter in support of revitalization efforts at Wahconah Park.

While the proposed project raises and rebuilds the historical grandstand, commissioners recognize it is necessary due to existing conditions.  One member of the panel has expressed a wish to see more historical materials used on the exterior.

"I think that we should be careful here for two reasons. Number one, because we're going to be supporting tearing down a structure that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and so to me, that means that our letter should be fairly specific about what we're supporting," Matthew Herzberg said.

"And I think I join most of you, and probably all of you, in supporting this project and thinking that this project is a really great thing for the city."

At the last meeting, Herzberg criticized the exterior brick on the $26.3 million design, as it does not match the current aesthetic, and the community "doesn't necessarily have a strong brick-making tradition."

He read aloud historical documentation that describes the circa 1950 Wahconah Park grandstand as a simple structure consisting of mostly steel.  It states that "the spare utilitarian lines mirror its New England heritage, a functional building set in a beautiful set in beautiful surroundings of mountains, lakes, rivers, and wooded expanses, all of which are in scale with the humankind who lives there."

"I think that the issues with the proposed design for me really highlight the kind of contradiction between what is being proposed and what this was," Herzberg said, explaining that the current structure comes out of the tradition of lighter buildings with wood and metal rather than brick and metal.

Chair John Dickson agreed to draft a letter of support for the commission to vote on at a later date.

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