Our Mission: The
Franklin Land Trust works with landowners
and communities to protect their farms, forests, and other
natural resources significant to the environmental quality,
rural character of our region.
In the Pioneer Valley, it’s impossible to ignore the impact
of seasons on the land and our own habits. Woodpiles have been growing since
September; it takes extra time to gear up for going outside; and the true
shape of our hillsides is revealed, then slowly covered in snow.
We tend to stay
home more often, grateful for a place where we find some comfort and even
inspiration. We look for winter birds and the occasional hungry coyote. We
think about the future—what we might accomplish next year.
FLT has been
thinking about the future as well. When Hurricane Irene struck, we were
flooded out of rental offices in downtown Shelburne Falls. We had a few
hours to move furniture, files and computers before the building was
condemned. We found temporary space at Palmeri Electric on the Mohawk Trail
in Shelburne. But as we worked in openings among the piles of packing boxes,
we wondered whether FLT, entrusted with the care of beloved lands in
perpetuity, could find a permanent home for itself.
For 26 years,
we have moved from one rental to another. As we grew in response to
increasing demand for our services, our space diminished in functionality
and comfort. Irene forced us to recognize that our permanent responsibility
to this region requires a permanent home, one with privacy for our clients
and sufficient space to conduct our land conservation work forever.
Along came 5
Mechanic Street. It wasn’t the only building we considered while searching
for a home, but something about it resonated. It was appealing to remain in
Shelburne Falls, to bring new life to a 1940’s auto repair garage, and to
gain more than 3,000 square feet of functional office space that allows for
some growth—but not too much: the building fills the lot it sits on. Or
maybe it was the beautiful and massive interior stone walls that so
strikingly represent permanence.
We jumped at an
offer from long-term FLT friend and building owner Michael Cohen to enter
into a one-year option to purchase at a generous “bargain sale” price. Then
we began a capital campaign to raise funds for a home of our own.
We are now
proud owners of 5 Mechanic Street, and essential renovations are finally
complete. We were able to move in by mid-December —but we remain about
$350,000 short of our capital campaign goal of $1 million. Half that sum is
to fund the building; half is to increase our endowment, a critical element
in the permanence of every non-profit organization.
We invite you
to celebrate our new home with us
on February 13th from 4-7pm. DIRECTIONS
If you haven’t
given to the capital campaign, we hope you will do so. We need and greatly
appreciate your ongoing support, which allows us to conserve land in this
beautiful region that is your home and ours.
Click here to make a one time Capital Campaign
or mail your
Franklin Land Trust
PO Box 450 Shelburne Falls, MA 01370