From Woods to Home: Two Local Homes Tour - an event sponsored by the Massachusetts Woodlands Institute and the Franklin Land Trust.
Our beautiful woodlands provide a home to a wide variety of wildlife. They can also help people make a house and a home. Come visit two locally grown homes in Windsor and Worthington, MA, with a tour of their unique features by timber frame builder David Bowman.
Read more here.
The Board of the Woodlands Partnership of Northwest Massachusetts voted unanimously to expand its membership to include representation of Indigenous Peoples at its annual meeting held at Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Charlemont, MA, on June 20, 2023, an action that was greeted by applause from those in attendance. The Ohketeau Cultural Center of Ashfield, MA, a local, multi-tribal organization that seeks to provide a safe space for the Indigenous community, will join the Partnership Board and have full voting rights as of Nov. 1, 2023.
Rhonda Anderson, Iñupiaq, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Ohketeau Cultural Center, will serve as Board representative to the Partnership.
"Ohketeau Cultural Center is honored to be voted unanimously on the Woodlands Partnership of Northwest Massachusetts Board,” said Anderson, who grew up in Plainfield, MA, and serves as Western Massachusetts Commissioner on Indian Affairs. “We have worked closely with the Woodlands Partnership to increase Indigenous voices, perspectives, education, and inclusion. Our relationship is essential in furthering reciprocity between the state and town forest management, land conservation, sustainable ecological practices, and accessibility with Indigenous communities. We look forward to our future together.”
In introducing the measure at the Board meeting, outgoing Chair Henry Art of Williamstown, said the Board has had several conversations about building relationships with Indigenous members of the community and reached out to tribal organizations and individuals. The Executive Committee of the Board voted unanimously on April 25 to recommend to the full Board adding the new seat representing Indigenous perspectives through a local organization rather than specific tribal governments. Several grants the Partnership has received with regional partners are also funding educational events with Ohketeau Cultural Center related to Traditional Ecological Knowledge, cultural awareness and forest stewardship.
The vote on expanded Board membership and the goal of reaching out to Indigenous community members also followed a unanimous vote by the Partnership last October to change its operating name to the “Woodlands Partnership of Northwest Massachusetts” from the “Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership” name that was included in the 2018 state law creating the public body. The Partnership has requested state legislators and federal agencies to recognize the new operating name by changing it in the law. The name change was in response to feedback from local Indigenous residents that the “Mohawk Trail” name did not accurately reflect the Native Peoples who lived (and many of whom continue to live) in the Partnership region (Mohican, Nipmuc, Pocumtuck and Abenaki), and also that the Route 2 highway does not run through all of the Partnership towns and the organization may expand in the future.
The Woodlands Partnership is focused on forest conservation, sustainable forestry, natural resource-based economic development and financial stability of the member municipalities. Currently, 19 of 21 eligible towns in western Franklin and northern Berkshire Counties have voted to join the Partnership, with Buckland’s Town Meeting vote, and the Florida Select Board’s vote, both recently occurring in May 2023.
Henry Art is stepping down from the role of the Board’s first Chair, which he held since January 2020, but will remain as the Williamstown representative. Under his leadership, and that of Vice Chair Rick Chandler of Ashfield, the Partnership has grown and evolved greatly – setting its priorities for the next ten years in a Partnership Plan, organizing standing committees to set goals and launch projects, and continuing the important work of solidifying the Woodlands Partnership both in local communities and with state and federal partners.
“Over the past three and a half years the Woodlands Partnership has had a large impact on the member communities and organizations as well as the northwest Massachusetts region,” said Art. “We have been able to channel over a million dollars of State and Federal funding to support efforts in forest conservation, ensuring high-quality ecosystem functioning, and economic development through sustainable forest practices while advocating for municipal financial viability. Our Woodlands Partnership 2022-2032 plan gives us a roadmap to continue down this route for the coming decade.”
Dicken Crane of Windsor was voted in as the new Chair of the Partnership, along with Art Schwenger of Heath as the new Vice Chair, and Jeffrey Thomas of Lever, Inc. as the new treasurer. Alain Peteroy of Franklin Land Trust will continue as Clerk.
“There are more trees per capita in the Partnership region than in most of the country. The Partnership is about more than trees and people as separate entities – rather it is about how we are connected, dependent on each other and part of a shared ecosystem,” said Crane. “The goal of protecting these natural resources and the communities that live among them benefits the entire state and beyond. Expanding the Partnership to include the wisdom of Indigenous people who have long inhabited this landscape is an important step to achieving this relationship.”
Guest speakers at the meeting included Lindsay Nystrom, Forest Legacy Program Director, Department of Conservation and Recreation, and Peteroy, Director of Land Conservation, Franklin Land Trust, who both discussed the Forest Legacy Program (to which the 21-town Partnership region was recently accepted to be eligible to submit proposals).
*On Oct. 11, 2022, the Board of the public body created in 2018 voted unanimously to change its name from the “Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership” in its bylaws to operating as the “Woodlands Partnership of Northwest Massachusetts” and requested the state legislature and USDA Forest Service to officially establish and recognize the new name.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF ENERGY &
Rebecca Tepper, SECRETARY
ENV 24DCS 04
BID #: BD-24-1042-ENV-ENV01-89558
DATED: June 5, 2023
RESPONSES DUE: July 10, 2023
OVERVIEW AND GOALS: In support of Section 91 of Chapter 209 of the Acts of 2018, which established the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership (MTWP) and called for partnership and collaboration among state, regional, and local governments to advance the goals of the MTWP, the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA) hereby offers grants to communities that have voted to participate in the MTWP (by Select Board or Town Meeting votes) and to regional organizations which work in the region to engage in activities and programs to advance the goals of the MTWP. The Board of the MTWP voted in October, 2022 to change its name to the Woodlands Partnership of Northwest Massachusetts (WP) .
PROPOSALS SOUGHT FOR:
Activities and programs that advance the goals of the Woodlands Partnership
TYPE OF PROCUREMENT:
Executive Office of Energy and
RESPONSE DUE DATE:
July 10, 2023 at 5:00p.m.
SUBMIT RESPONSES TO:
Bob O’Connor (see above)
Each community may submit or participate in only one application with the exception that a Regional Planning Agency or a community may apply on behalf of more than one community for a regional grant. A community may apply for a municipal grant and also participate in a regional application. Multiple applicants may be selected for funding.
A bidder’s conference will be held virtually at 10:00 a.m. on June 19, 2023. A meeting link can be obtained by emailing Robert O’Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, questions will be accepted through June 23, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. and should be directed to Robert O’Connor at email@example.com. Answers will be posted on COMM-BUYS.
SINGLE OR MULTIPLE DEPARTMENTS MAY CONTRACT UNDER THIS BID: All contracts awarded under this BID will be utilized solely by EEA.
TOTAL ANTICIPATED DURATION OF CONTRACT(S): The contract period will end by June 30, 2024, and deliverables for these contracts must be received, along with final billing, by July 31, 2024 (exceptions and contract extensions will be handled on a case-by-case basis and addressed in individual contracts).
ANTICIPATED BUDGET: Up to $25,000 per municipal proposal will be available, though exceptions may be made at the Secretary’s discretion. If Regional Planning Agencies, regional organization, or a community apply on behalf of more than one community, each community may seek up to $25,000 for their share of such a regional grant. Proposals are expected to vary in the amount of funding requested based on the anticipated activity. Regional grant proposals may seek up to $75,000 for regional projects in the WP region.
REGULATIONS, STATUTES, OR AUTHORIZION GOVERNING THIS GRANT PROGRAM: This BID is issued in support of Chapter 209 of the Acts of 2018, Section 91, which created the Woodlands Partnership, established a process for communities in the region to opt into the WP, called for partnership and collaboration among state, regional, and local governments to advance the WP, and specified purposes for the WP. Such purposes are compatible with those of EEA and with funding authorized in line item 20007072 of Section 2 of Chapter 209 of the Acts of 2018 for activities to be funded via this procurement that include providing funding and establishing programs for natural resource conservation, recreation, landscape-scale land conservation, climate resilience, and local and regional land use planning and management.
MATCH REQUIREMENT: A match in the form of volunteer or municipal staff time or additional municipal or regional planning agency funds is encouraged, but not required.
PREVAILING WAGE APPLICABLE: No
IDENTIFICATION OF CONTRACTS WITH COMMONWEALTH AGENCIES OR SUBDIVISIONS: Yes
IDENTIFICATION OF FINANCIALLY INTERESTED PARTIES: No
BID DISTRIBUTION (Comm-Buys): This BID has been distributed electronically using the COMM-BUYS system, and is also posted on the website of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs at https://www.mass.gov/grant-programs-offered-by-the-division-ofconservation-services. Proposals are to be submitted directly to EEA to the attention of Bob O’Connor at the email address provided on the first page of this procurement. It is the responsibility of every Respondent to check for any addenda or modifications to a BID to which they intend to respond. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and its subdivisions accept no liability and will provide no accommodations to Respondents who fail to check for amended BIDs and submit inadequate or incorrect responses. Potential Respondents are advised to check the “last change” field on the summary page of BIDs for which they intend to submit a response to ensure they have the most recent BID files.
Respondents may not alter BID language, or any BID component files. Those submitting a proposal must respond in accordance with the BID directions and complete only those sections that prompt a Respondent for a response. Modifications to the body of this BID, specifications, terms and conditions, or which change the intent of this BID are prohibited. Any unauthorized alterations will disqualify response.
RESPONDENT ELIGIBILITY: This BID is open to:
PROJECT DEFINITION: EEA seeks to further two of the goals of the Woodlands Partnership as created in Massachusetts General Law Chapter 209, Section 91 of the Acts of 2018 for municipalities that have officially voted to join the Woodland Partnership. These goals are to: 1) increase economic development related to sustainable forestry and natural resource-based tourism in the municipalities and 2) increase forest conservation and sustainable forestry on private and municipal lands.
Responses can be for a project within a single municipality or for a planning or implementation activity across municipal boundaries or for the entire Woodland Partnership region. For example, five communities interested in forest stewardship for municipal lands may submit a regional application. Regional responses will require the endorsement, via a letter of support, from any community that is to be the subject of a proposal.
Tasks suitable for funding under this BID include but are not limited to:
Up to $75,000 would be available in grants for Regional Grants.
The following activities are ineligible:
GRANT REQUIREMENTS: As a condition of funding assistance contracts executed under this BID will include a clause noting that grant recipients agree to share the end product of the funded activities with EEA and with other communities in the Commonwealth through reports, meetings, workshops, and to highlight these activities in print, on the web or other media outlets. EEA must be credited for project funding.
All contracts resulting from this BID will require a brief project update about halfway through the project. This update will include a summary of tasks achieved. A final report is also required. This final report must include a copy of the completed tasks as contracted. An electronic copy of all deliverables must be sent to EEA at the above email address.
INVOICING: Granted funds will be disbursed on a reimbursement basis. Grantees may submit invoices for costs incurred by applicants or their contractors during the grant. Grantees must prepare a final report and invoice upon project completion that details all costs incurred and matching funds provided. Only work completed during the period of the executed contract will be eligible for reimbursement. Upon receipt of all required deliverables the community will be reimbursed for the balance of any grant funds outstanding.
SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS: Submit an electronic copy of the proposal on appropriate media to EEA to the attention of Bob O’Connor at the email address provided on the first page of this procurement (no paper mailing is required). Each proposal must clearly indicate that it is an application to the Woodland Partnership Grant Program on the title page. Failure to provide any of the materials listed below may result in the disqualification of the Proposal. Electronic proposals must be submitted via email on or before July 10 2022 at 5:00 p.m.
Project proposals must include the following:
If selected, the Respondent will be required to submit the following forms to complete a contract:
Respondents are encouraged to review these forms prior to submission of a proposal. They are available at: http://www.mass.gov/anf/budget-taxes-and-procurement/oversightagencies/osd/osd-forms.html
EVALUATION CRITERIA: Each Response will be scored using the following measures:
NOTE: EEA reserves the option to interview some or all of those submitting a proposal for the purpose of clarifying a proposal prior to making a final award.
PROJECT TERMS: A final contract is subject to successful negotiation of a Final Scope of Services. Please note that EEA does not guarantee that any contract may result from this BID or that any particular funding level will be awarded. It is anticipated that projects could commence immediately upon contract execution. The awarded contract will be reviewed during its course and, upon request by the Respondent, may be extended at the sole discretion of EEA for up to one additional year. Any extension granted will not necessarily change, or increase, the monetary value of the contract.
Woodlands Partnership Implementation Grant Application Form Fiscal Year 2024
Please note: the contact person is the official representative for this project, usually not the chief municipal officer.
Attach a one-page description of the proposed project budget including:
The source of all local funding including donations and municipal funds and other funding sources.
If any permits are required, the permit or application for the permit must be submitted. Should the project be selected for funding, the permit will be required as part of the final contract.
Chainsaws are the most common tool used by landowners in managing and caring for their woods and trees. Chainsaws are inherently dangerous and proper maintenance and careful operation are necessary to avoid injuries or even death.
This spring, the Massachusetts Forest Trust is holding reduced-cost two-day Safe Chainsaw Operation workshops for landowners and Tree Farmers in the Woodlands Partnership area of western Franklin and northern Berkshire counties. These hands-on workshops, which normally cost $300 per person, will cost just $100 thanks to a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation.
The workshops will be taught by Game of Logging instructor Bill Girard. Each workshop will cover Level 1 and Level 2 of the GOL curriculum.
Level 1 introduces participants to open face felling and the development of techniques to safely use it. Topics covered include personal protective equipment, chainsaw safety features, chainsaw reactive forces, bore cutting, pre-planning the fell, and understanding hinge wood strength.
Level 2 focuses on maximizing chainsaw performance through basic maintenance, carburetor setting, and filing techniques. Limbing and bucking techniques are introduced, spring pole cutting is covered and more felling is practiced.
Workshops will be held at the following locations and dates:
May 20 – 21 Cox Tree Farm – Hawley
June 17 – 18 Notchview Reservation – Route 9, Windsor
Workshops will run from 8 am to 4 pm, rain or shine. Workshops are limited to 9 participants each to allow for individual instruction.
Participants must be 18 years of age or older and in good physical condition.
Participants should bring their own chainsaw to use, with a new chain, as well as safety equipment such as hard hat, hearing protection, eye protection, boots, safety chaps, and gloves. If you don’t have a chainsaw or safety equipment at the time of the workshop, there will be equipment to use at the workshop.
Ticks are common in the woods at this time of year, so participants should wear clothing with long sleeves and pants and bring tick repellant.
To sign up for these workshops, call Greg Cox at (413) 339-5526 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by June 10th.
Join The Forest Climate Resilience Program Woods Walks
Forest Health and Climate Resilience
Members of the public are invited to attend a series of woods walks, focused on forest health and climate resilience, across Northwest Massachusetts. Woods walks will be led by a Mass Audubon Ecologist, the local Forester, and a member of The Ohketeau Cultural Center. Please register to attend each event:
You may also register or find out more by reaching out to Andrew Randazzo, Forest Ecologist with Mass Audubon at email@example.com or 413-252-9534. Program interpretation is available upon advanced request.
The Forest Climate Resilience Program is led by Mass Audubon in partnership with the Woodlands Partnership of Northwest Massachusetts, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, Massachusetts Woodlands Institute, the Nature Conservancy and the New England Forestry Foundation. The integration of traditional ecological knowledge into the program is led by the Ohketeau Cultural Center. The program assists municipalities in planning and implementing practices that help forests cope with climate extremes (adaptation) while also locking away greenhouse gases that cause climate change (mitigation).
This pilot program provides technical assistance and support to municipalities in the 21-town region of the Woodlands Partnership of Northwest Massachusetts, which is also exploring the need for a physical multi-purpose Forest Center to be located within the region. The Virtual Forest Center is funded thorough a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Regional Action Grant, led by the Town of Rowe. The MVP grant program provides cities and towns in Massachusetts with funding to implement the priority actions identified through the planning process.
Recordings of two mid-winter webinars hosted by the Woodlands Partnership are now available for viewing:
View the recordings below or on the Partnership's YouTube Channel.
To view or download Ben Kargère's study on wood residue in the Woodlands Partnership region, click here.
To view or download a record of the chat from the wood residue panel, click here.
The Woodlands Partnership of Northwest Massachusetts is hosting two mid-winter webinars focused on stewarding our forests and the services they provide amid a changing climate:
January 25, Noon - 1 pm: Climate Change and Forest Management 101
February 2, Noon - 1:15 pm: Waste or Resource?: A Panel Discussion on Wood Residue
All are welcome to attend. To register, please click the links above.
On January 25 at noon, Alexandra Kosiba, PhD, will present “Climate Change and Forest Management 101,” which will address how climate change and other stressors pose a threat to our forests and how we can think about and manage forests to bolster their resilience and adaptation to change. Kosiba will discuss how forests help us mitigate climate change by absorbing and storing carbon dioxide and the important tradeoffs we need to keep in mind. Alexandra (Ali) Kosiba is a forest ecophysiologist and Extension Assistant Professor of Forestry at the University of Vermont. As the Extension Forester, she creates resources and conducts applied research to help woodland owners, foresters, and decision-makers better understand the impacts of climate change and other stressors on Vermont’s forests and management techniques to improve forest resilience. A licensed forester, Ali serves as a regional educator on forest carbon science and management and is the state lead on the Vermont Forest Carbon Inventory. She also works on various forest health topics, like planning and management for at-risk tree species, land planning for maintaining critical forest services, and forest monitoring. Before coming to UVM, she was the Climate Forester for the State of Vermont, Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation – and the first climate forester in the nation.
On February 2 at noon, the Woodlands Partnership will host the webinar “Waste or Resource?: A Panel Discussion on Wood Residue.” Joining this discussion will be Ben Kargère of Williams College, who will share findings from his study on how wood residue is being handled in the Northwest Massachusetts region, Sean Mahoney of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Emily Boss of the Massachusetts Woodlands Institute, Jay Healy of Hall Tavern Farm, and Andre Strong Bear Heart Gaines, Jr., a citizen of the Nipmuc people. The discussion will focus primarily on potential uses of woody debris or residue in the region: low-value woody materials that are often a byproduct of town utility or roadway maintenance or sawmill operations that cannot or should not be left in place. These materials often have low value in the current marketplace, though there may be creative and beneficial uses for the material within the community. The public is welcome to listen to the panel and contribute to the discussion to follow.
The mission of the Woodlands Partnership is to “both conserve our forests and enhance our region’s rural, land-based economy across the Northern Berkshire Mountains, hill towns, and riverside villages of northwestern Massachusetts.” Both webinars will address the complex issue of how best to achieve those goals. Recordings will be available to those who register, and time will be made for Q&A.
Please reach out to Sophie Argetsinger with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
At its October 11, 2022 meeting, the Board of the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership voted unanimously (19-0) to change its name from the “Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership” to the “Woodlands Partnership of Northwest Massachusetts,” for the purposes of regular business. This discussion can be viewed in the video above, beginning at around minute 11:30. The Board vote acknowledged that this change likely requires state legislative action in order to be established legally, and includes a request for the Commonwealth to endorse the new name.
The name change discussion recognized that while the use of the Mohawk Trail highway in the original Partnership name may have been chosen as a way to connect Berkshire and Franklin Counties, there are a number of reasons why the name change makes sense at this phase of the Partnership.
“There has been a bit of discomfort mentioned by several members of the Board about the appropriation of the name Mohawk Trail in the name of the public body,” said Board Chair Henry W. Art of Williamstown. “Upon reflection on the situation, I brought up to the August and September Executive Committee meetings the suggestion that we propose to the Board that we change our name to one more fitting to our mission and geography.”
Motivation for the name change includes the following reasons discussed by the Board:
1. The Partnership has received feedback from some local Indigenous Peoples representatives who would prefer the Partnership not use the appropriated name of an Indigenous group.
2. The Mohawk tribe – unlike the Mohican, Pocumtuck, Abenaki, and Nipmuc tribes – did not live for long periods in the Partnership’s geographic boundaries, although they moved through the region on a footpath. Thus, the former Partnership name may have contributed to masking or making more invisible the presence of Mohican, Pocumtuck, Abenaki, and Nipmuc Peoples who still live in the area.
3. The highway that uses the name Mohawk Trail (MA-Route 2) is situated in only a third of the municipalities in the current Partnership boundaries.
4. In the future, the Partnership may wish to extend its boundaries south and east to include more municipalities that are located even further away from the MA-Route 2 corridor.
5. A woodlands partnership devoted to forest conservation and sustainable natural resource-based economic development may want to distance itself from association with a State highway, with which it might be confused to have a relationship.
Below is the text of the Board resolution approved on October 11, 2022:
“The Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership,” a public body established by Massachusetts House Bill No. 4835 filed on 26 July 2018 and signed into law on 31 October 2018, will conduct its work known as "The Woodlands Partnership of Northwest Massachusetts," and change its bylaws to reflect said change in name …
We furthermore request that the legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the U.S Department of Agriculture - U.S. Forest Service officially establish and recognize the name of the public body formerly known as "The Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership" as being henceforth the “Woodlands Partnership of Northwest Massachusetts.”