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 email@example.com.
In addition, questions will be accepted through June 23, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. and should be directed to Robert O’Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com by June 10th.