Southboro Open Land Foundation

people looking over meadow at sunset

Recipients of the Elaine Beals Conservation Award

Published on May 21, 2017 by Hal

Elaine Beals was among the founding members of the Southborough Open Land Foundation. She served on the Board of Trustees of SOLF, including holding the position of treasurer for many years. She was dedicated to the preservation of the environment and open space, reinforcing her conservation ethic as a member of the Town of Southborough’s Open Space Preservation Commission. In the 1950s and 60s, Elaine and her husband Philip purchased 190 acres of land abutting their farm to protect it from development. All of that land is now under permanent conservation restrictions. Fifty-six acres of it was gifted to SOLF in 2009, property that is now known as the Elaine and Philip Beals Preserve.  In her honor, SOLF presents the Elaine Beals Conservation Award each year to a local resident who has shown outstanding leadership in environmental conservation. The first Elaine Beals Award was presented to Elaine on the occasion of her retirement from the Board of Trustees of SOLF.

 The recipients of the award are:
2005- Elaine Beals
2006 – Frederica Gillespie
2007 – Peter Kallander
2008 – David Morgan
2009 – Carol Gay
2010 – Linda Hubley
2011 – Richard Upjohn
2012 – Meme Luttrell
2013 – Rhonda Russian
2014 – Elizabeth Meyer
2015 – Rep. Carolyn Dykema
2016  – Christa Brady and the Friends of the Burnett-Garfield House
2017 – Alan French

2017 Elaine Beals Award Presented to Alan French

Published on May 18, 2017 by Hal

Alan French, founder and former chairman of the Bay Circuit Alliance was presented with the 2017 Elaine Beals Conservation Award.  Alan has worked tirelessly for over thirty years to reinvigorate the Bay Circuit Trail concept and bring it to completion.  An idea first conceived in 1929 by a man named Benton MacKaye, the trail was to be a greenway, in a wide arc of open space roughly in the vicinity of what is now route 128. It would provide a natural respite for the growing population.  Now, the trail is in a much larger arc of over 230 miles of trail with Newburyport at one end and Duxbury at the other.  Southborough is at its westernmost point.  In the process, many acres of land have been protected and many many people have enjoyed these beautiful trails close to home.  For information on the Bay Circuit Trail go to Bay Circuit Trail & Greenway.
Allan French with the 2017 Elaine Beals Award. (photo courtesy of Debbie Costine)

Alan French with the 2017 Elaine Beals Award. (photo courtesy of Debbie Costine)

2016 Elaine Beals Award to Christa Brady and the Friends of the Burnett-Garfield House

Published on June 11, 2016 by Hal

The Elaine Beals Conservation Award is presented annually by SOLF  to a person who has worked to help protect the our environment.  It was created in 2005 to honor Elaine Beals for her many contributions to conservation and the protection of the environment in Southborough and the region.  This year the Southborough Open Land Foundation chose Christa Brady and the group she headed, the Friends of the Burnett-Garfield House, as the recipient of this award.  The work done by Christa and the Friends group was essential in helping educate the public about the legacy of the Burnett family to the town of Southborough and the significance of the property at 84 Main Street. By helping preserve the property, Christa helped save an historical building of significance to the town. Of equal importance, she helped conserve a five-acre piece of property threatened with subdivision that borders state protected land abutting the reservoir. Although small in area, the conserved property is of great historical significance, provides a lovely viewscape, and keeps intact a parcel of land abutting other conservation property.


In conjunction with this year’s Elaine Beals Conservation Award, the Southborough Open Land Foundation is also presenting plaques to two students in recognition of their leadership in the fight to save the Burnett-Garfield Property. When the Burnett-Garfield House at 84 Main Street was facing imminent destruction in the summer of 2014, Bridget Brady and Jen Fox began a protest at the property. Whereas many other people joined them either at the protest or by signing the petition they initiated, Bridget and Jen are the ones who spearheaded the movement to save the house. Without their leadership and passion to save the house, the historic buildings might well have been demolished, and the property subdivided.

2015 Elaine Beals Award Presented to Carolyn Dykema

Published on May 26, 2015 by Hal

At its annual meeting on May 27, 2015, the Southborough Open Land Foundation presented the eleventh annual Elaine Beals Conservation Award to Representive  Carolyn Dykema in recognition of her work on behalf of environmental protection.  Ms. Dykema worked as an environmental consultant before becoming involved in local and state politics.  She has served in the Massachusetts legislature since 2008and  has sponsored several bills dealing with water management and the protection of clean water.  She has filed bills to encourage small farms and fisheries and has been a spokesperson for the protection open space.  Recognizing the crisis concerning bees, she recently filed a bill to protect pollinators in Massachusetts. Ms Dykema lives in Holliston with her husband and three children.  As the state representative of the 8th Middlesex District, she represents Southborough, Hopkinton, Holliston, and precinct 2 of Westborough in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

SOLF board member Sally Watters presenting the Elaine Beals award to Carolyn Dykema.

SOLF board member Sally Watters presenting the Elaine Beals award to Carolyn Dykema.

2014 Elaine Beals Award Presented to Elizabeth Meyer

Published on October 18, 2014 by Hal

It is a pleasure to announce that the Southborough Open Land Foundation has chosen Elizabeth Meyer as the recipient of the 2014 Elaine Beals Conservation Award.

Betty and her husband Bernie have lived in Southborough for 46 years. During that time, in addition to raising four children, Betty has been very active within the community. At SOLF we of course focus on her dedication to environmental issues. Betty served on the board of SOLF for 24 years before stepping aside last year. For several of those years she was the clerk for SOLF, diligently taking and writing up the minutes, and sending out acknowledgments for contributions that we received. In 2005, she tirelessly helped with the education efforts in town as to why we should buy the Conservation Restriction on Chestnut Hill Farm, a campaign that succeeded at the January 2006 Special Town Meeting that voted overwhelmingly to purchase the Conservation Restriction in order to protect the beautiful Chestnut Hill Farm property from development. Last year before SOLF’s 25th anniversary celebration, Betty approached numerous businesses convincing them to donate goods and services for the silent auction. She has worked as a volunteer at the New England Wildflower Society. Betty also served on the Southborough Opportunity Partnership Committee (SHOPC) committee trying to find ways to bring affordable housing to Southborough. She was very active with the Friends of the Library for many years. In retirement Betty and Bernie are traveling and enjoy spending time at their other home in Stowe, Vermont. The award was presented to Betty on October 18th at a gathering at the home of Attila Herczeg and his wife Susanne Healy. The purpose of the gathering was not only to honor Betty, but also to recognize the efforts of the numerous volunteers who took part in the six month long herpetological study that was conducted at Beals Preserve.

2013 Elaine Beals Award Presented to Rhonda Russian

Published on May 8, 2013 by Hal

The Elaine Beals Conservation Award was presented to Rhonda Russian at the annual meeting of SOLF on May 7, 2013. The award was given to Rhonda  for her 22 years of service on the Southborough Conservation Commission and her work as an attorney for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. State Representative Carolyn Dykema also presented a proclamation of appreciation on behalf of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The Elaine Beals  Award is presented annually by SOLF  to a person who has worked to help protect the environment in Southborough. Rhonda is shown receiving the award from Elaine Beals, and with State Representative Carolyn Dykema and SOLF President Sally Watters.




2012 Elaine Beals Conservation Award Presented to Meme Luttrell

Published on May 29, 2012 by Hal

Elaine Beals and Meme Luttrell

Elaine Beals presenting the Elaine Beals Conservation Award to Meme Luttrell, May 29, 2012. (Photo by Hewitt Heiserman)

May 29, 2012

SOLF has chosen Meme Luttrell as the very deserving recipient of 2012 Elaine Beals Conservation Award. Meme has been on the Southborough Open Space Preservation Commission for over 10 years, serving as chairman for much of the time. During her tenure, the Commission has fought hard to preserve as much open space as possible. She helped lead the town sponsored public outreach for purchasing the conservation restriction on Chestnut Hill Farm working alongside SOLF and SVT. In addition, Meme was a moving force to pass the Community Preservation Act. Recently the Open Space Preservation Commission researched all open space set asides for subdivisions in the town and created a GIS mapping data layer on the town GIS system. It was this research that led to passage this year of the CPC funding of deed research on those parcels of land to try to ensure that the open space is being protected.
In recognition of Meme’s tireless work to protect open space and the environment in Southborough, SOLF is proud to honor her with the Elaine Beals Conservation award for 2012. The Elaine Beals Conservation Award was presented to Meme Luttrell at the annual meeting of SOLF. Meme is shown receiving the award from Elaine Beals. (Photo by Hewitt Heiserman)

2011 Elaine Beals Conservation Award Presented to Richard V. Upjohn

Published on May 29, 2011 by Hal

SOLF has chosen Richard V. Upjohn to receive the Elaine Beals Conservation Award for 2011. Dick, who grew up in New York City, developed a love of the outdoors at his family’s summer place in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire. His passion for hiking, birding, and mountain climbing was honed at a summer camp in the High Peaks area of the Adirondacks where he worked at a summer camp, and later bought a home. He and his wife Sabra moved to Southborough with their family in 1960 when he came to Fay School. He has shared his love of nature with students. To emphasize the need to conserve resources Dick started the recyling program at Fay. He later helped establish the recycling program for the town, serving on the Southborough Recycling Committee. Dick has served the town of Southborough in several other capacities, serving as a longtime member of the Conservation Commission and on the Community Preservation Commission. Practicing what he preaches, he is often seen bicycling about town. SOLF is pleased to recognize a person who has quietly served the cause of conservation in Southborough.

Elaine Beals and Dick Upjohn (Photo by Chris Vatis)

The Trustees of SOLF were saddened to learn of the sudden death of Dick Upjohn on January 4, 2012. We will miss his vast knowledge about environmental issues in Southborough. We extend our sympathies to his wife, Sabra, and to the rest of his family.