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ECo Helps Community Leaders Increase Forest Conservation

Posted: May 3rd, 2011

Keystone Group

How does the does the ECo Department impact the communities of Massachusetts?  One way is through the Keystone Project, an effort of Professor and State Extension Forester Dave Kittredge and Forest Resources Specialist Paul Catanzaro and assisted this year by graduate student Kate Losey.

The Keystone Project, formerly Coverts, trains 20-25 landowners and community leaders across the state in subjects such as forest ecology and management, wildlife management and land conservation.  In return for the training, participants, called Keystone Cooperators, are asked to return to their communities and volunteer time towards a forest conservation project of their choosing, with continued support from Kittredge and Catanzaro.  This year’s 23rd annual Keystone Project training took place April 14th – 17th at the Harvard Forest.

Does it work?  In a recent survey of Keystone Cooperator activity, Cooperators collectively report volunteering 42,650 hours of time over the last 12 months or the equivalent of 20 full-time people out in communities promoting conservation!  The most often reported activities included working to conserve the land of friends and neighbors, wildlife habitat enhancements, and work with a watershed association.

Keystone is one of the ways the ECo Department is making a difference in communities across the state.

See a short video of this year’s training:  http://www.youtube.com/user/ExtensionForester