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:
2022 – Jim Gorss
2021 – Lisa Braccio
2020 – Kat McKee
2019 – Beth Rosenblum
2018 – Carl Guyer
2017 – Alan French
2016 – Christa Brady and the Friends of the Burnett-Garfield House
Jim Gorss, a founding member and longtime Chair of the Stewardship Committee, is being honored for his contributions to our town by the Southborough Open Land Foundation (SOLF) with the 2022 Elaine Beals Conservation Award.
Before relocating to Harvard, Jim served on the Stewardship Committee while living and raising his family in Southborough. Throughout his tenure on Stewardship he demonstrated his love for the land and commitment to conservation values. For example, he created and maintained a popular trail system at Breakneck Hill, introducing many to the joys of being outside. He advised many Scouts on their Eagle Scout projects there as well and tended to the property with eagle eyes for both the welcome native plant species as well as new invasive species threats.
SOLF is very pleased to have this opportunity to present the 2021 Elaine Beals Conservation Award to Lisa Braccio. For a long time Lisa has worked hard at giving back to the town and the region. To be very honest, several of us thought we had given this award to Lisa years ago and were surprised in checking our records to discover she had somehow been overlooked. We all know Lisa today as a member of the town select board, but she got her start in town politics on the Open Space Preservation Commission because of her dedication to protecting open space and the environment. She worked on helping with the preservation of Chestnut Hill Farm and the Golf Course. In 2017, she was first elected to the select board where she continues to serve. She was recently chosen as the Worcester District Representative on the Massachusetts Select Board Association, representing the select boards of 55 towns in the county. In addition, Lisa serves on the town Master Plan Committee and the Capital Planning Committee. She, along with Debbie Wilson, spearheaded several troop drives to send care packages to members of the American armed forces deployed to combat areas. And while doing all these things she has helped her husband Matt run his business, Perhaps her most important role has been raising their son Robert. Lisa is definitely like the energizer bunny.
We are very happy to present her with the 2021 Elaine Beals Conservation Award.
Kat McKee is the Chair of the Town of Southborough Trails Committee. After moving to town in 2012, she joined the Stewardship Committee as well as Southborough Trails. As an avid hiker living near the Town Forest, she plunged into clearing trails after a microburst brought down many trees. She also worked with the Stewardship Committee and Recreation Dept to get the trails fully cleared.
In talking with Kat, a common thread is how reaching out and collaborating with other groups is often the best way to get things done. An astonishing collaboration is the tremendous progress made on the BLT: the Borough’s Loop Trail: 33 miles of trails that will connect Marlborough, Southborough, Westborough, and Northborough with a hiking loop. The concept began in 2012 and with ongoing strong leadership and passion, Kat has helped keep the momentum going. More trails in more areas improves the quality of life for the people of Southborough.
Beth Rosenblum was the Conservation Agent for the town of Southborough for over 13 years – now retired. Her door at the Town House was always open for anyone seeking information about conservation issues and open space. She was always eager to help. Her involvement in her home town of Ashland as Chair of its Open Space and Recreation Committee and the Community Preservation Committee brought tremendous knowledge to her job here in Southborough.
Beth consistently worked well with and collaborated with the Open Space Preservation Commission and the Southborough Open Land Foundation. She oversaw the Conservation Restriction process for Chestnut Hill Farm and collaborated with the stewardship committee on the Breakneck Hill Conservation Land Management Plan. Just to name a few…
Upon her retirement she received recognition on local, regional and state levels! She was a most knowledgeable, helpful and valuable town employee! We are happy to present this year’s Elaine Beals Conservation Award to Beth Rosenblum.
Carl Guyer, at a December 12, 2018 SOLF meeting, receives the annual Elaine Beals award from trustee Sally Watters for his leadership in environmental conservation and awareness. Elaine Beals was among the founding members of the Southborough Open Land Foundation. She served on the Board of Trustees of SOLF 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 her honor, SOLF presents the Elaine Beals Conservation Award each year to a local resident who has shown outstanding leadership in environmental conservation.
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.
Alan French with the 2017 Elaine Beals Award. (photo courtesy of Debbie Costine)
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.
CERTIFICATES OF RECOGNITION
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.
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.
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.
Southborough Open Land Foundation PO Box 345 Southborough, MA 01772
A Special Thanks
SOLF extends a special thank you to Jack Downs of Elder, Gaffey & Paine, PC, Marlborough, MA, for his pro bono tax preparation services, and to Tim Ellis for his assistance in web site design.