BERKSHIRE ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION TEAM
Rating: 5 stars 32 reviews
Location: 29 Highland Ave Pittsfield MA 01201 USA
Results: BEAT publishes a free, weekly e-newsletter with environmental news, calendar, and public notices. Hundreds of volunteers actively working to protect the environment! Miles of river cleaned. Riverside conservation land protected from being turned into a parking lot. Riverside waste transfer station stopped. Stream crossings surveyed and evaluated to prioritize for replacement to help fish move upstream under roads.
Target demographics: the environment & wildlife
Geographic areas served: the Berkshires
Programs: Being an environmental watchdog - keeping the environmental community connected and informed - promoting environmental stewardship with river cleanups, monitoring wildlife habitat, and working to help wildlife cross roads where it is most critical.
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I will never forget the moment in time this past winter when I decided that "someone out there" knew what was going on with what was then called the Northeast Expansion Project (Tennessee Gas Co. pipeline). I was confused, angry and felt terribly diminished by the eventuality of my land being defiled once again. In the midst of my almost frantic research, I found Jane Winn and the Berkshire Environmental Action Team. I can not remember how the connection happened; I only know that the individual on the other end of the phone was empathic, calm in the midst of my storm, well informed about the subject matter, and very encouraging. Moreover, Jane picked up the phone on the first try and talked with me for nearly a half hour! Jane was able to demonstrate a high level of expertise about the pipeline and its various features and to explain the picture to me in a "user friendly" way. I learned from that first phone conversation that I was not alone in what has turned out to date, to be the biggest fight of my life. Since that day Jane and her husband have been my advisors and the "go to people" when I need clear and accurate information about updates. In an effort to provide the public with well researched information about the pipeline, Jane and Bruce have tirelessly served our communities both in Massachusetts and in neighboring New York State by conducting well structured speaking engagements tailored to the needs of the audience. Recently I had the opportunity to speak directly to our governor and certain members of his Office who had been assigned the task of periodically acquiring updates since the end of July. When I told the Governor and his staff that the Berkshire Environmental Action Team does "its homework" I meant it with 100% certainty. If we win this fight, it will largely be due to the consistent commitment and integrity of Jane and Bruce Winn. I thank them in advance.
I have always been interested in participating in the clean up of the Housatonic River. I saw how terrible it was with endless amounts of trash tossed into it over the years. I connected with Berkshire Environmental Action Team a few years ago and attended a river cleanup. I was impressed with the group and their strong devotion in not only helping to clear up our river but in trying to educate and inform the public on the importance of preserving our natural environment.
Thank you so much for helping with our river cleanups! Looking forward to getting wet and dirty with you again next summer. - Jane
The first time I was told about Berkshire Environmental Action Team was about seven years ago when my town, Cummington, became very active in matters of sustainability and community resilience. Friends who were involved in wildlife tracking and river watches, told me that BEAT had a projector they could lend out to like-minded groups, and I got to know Bruce and Jane in this capacity. Over several years of stopping by to borrow the projector and talking about our activities in town, Jane made me familiar with the many avenues of environmental work she and Bruce undertake, and let us know that BEAT could help our group find grants and other support.
This year, when I found out our whole region was under threat of a massive high pressure natural gas pipeline, I immediately turned to Berkshire Environmental Action Team as regional experts in environmental impact. Sure enough, they had already been researching and investigating the potential impacts of this enormous industrial development and had found that it had implications on many other levels as well; including economic, legal, regulatory and for the larger global climate. When they offered to make a presentation on the subject in Cummington, I jumped at the opportunity.
Fellow townsperson, Katy Eiseman and I had started a Facebook page for pipeline information that was quickly becoming unmanageable. Jane and Bruce offered us web space and a domain name to organize our budding anti-pipeline movement. No Fracked Gas in Mass was born just a couple of days after I found out about the pipeline, thanks to their help. Katy and I filled out the site, established a local resolution as well as a statewide petition against new pipeline expansion and scheduled BEAT's presentation for the Cummington Community House. The hall was packed with people from across the state and after the thoroughly researched and in-depth presentation by Bruce, we broke out the audience into county groups who talked, organized and took home "starter kit" information. Within days, we were hearing about local meetings against the pipeline springing up all across the state.
Since then Jane and Bruce have continued to research alongside us, and have travelled all along the affected towns making presentations with me and with Katy, who has moved on to form the state-wide coalition of anti-pipeline groups, MassPLAN. They also supplied webspace and domain name for MassPLAN's website and Jane is on the group's Executive Committee along with us and others. They were also instrumental in helping the Berkshire 350-MA group get established. That Pittsfield-based group has been key in anti-pipeline organizing in the Berkshires, among many other goals their group pursues. And Bruce and Jane done all this while continuing their usual work protecting and defending waterways, wetlands and the environment for all of Berkshire County.
I had heard high praise of BEAT's work for years, but had no idea the degree to which their dedication and hard work made a difference for our region. Without their high standards of research and dedication not only to anti-pipeline outreach, but help in getting our groups going and finding funding, none of the progress we've made at this point would have been possible.
BEAT has done a stellar job of informing and mobilizing the public about a proposed fracked gas pipeline, which threatens some of the region's most precious conservation lands, as well as private homeowners, everyone's safety and our democracy. I cannot say enough great things about Jane and Bruce Winn, a husband and wife dynamo that have done more for the Berkshires than most large, well-funded nationally known organizations. They deserve to be extremely well-supported in every way. They are people of the highest integrity, with enormous hearts, and unflagging energy and commitment to the well-being of our Berkshire environment. I have had the opportunity to volunteer with Ms. Winn for several months and have only the highest admiration for her work.
It has been wonderful to collaborate with BEAT this year in our efforts to oppose the Kinder Morgan pipeline. From logistical support to technical research to collaboration on advocacy strategy, BEAT has been an extremely valuable partner.
I have been volunteering with BEAT for over two years now and I am inspired by their knowledge and work ethic every day. If I need information on local environmental issues, I consult with BEAT; they are always helpful and supportive! I credit BEAT for my renewed commitment to environmentalism and conservation. Before I was introduced to their river and park cleanups, my activism was limited to signing online petitions and recycling. Now I am more involved than ever! They do excellent work for the Berkshires, the state, and the environment. I am so thankful that I work with BEAT.
I became involved with BEAT earlier this year when 350MA had an initial meeting for Berkshire-area residents who are concerned about the environment. I volunteered to become a member of the newly-formed 350MA Berkshire Node, and in that capacity I frequently find myself at meetings where we share concerns with BEAT. I'd have to say that they are amazingly dedicated, and always present and vocal at events where support for environmental causes is crucial. They're also highly knowledgeable and informed, which is extremely useful to me in my role as the webmaster for 350MA-Berkshires.org, where accurate information from expert sources is extremely important. I know I can count on BEAT to know what's going on, and to be at the forefront of environmental activism in the area!
I have been a supporter of BEAT for almost 10 years now. I donate to many other non-profits, but at BEAT I feel that every cent of my donation is going directly into conserving the environment. The intelligence, dedication, and energy of the BEAT team is "unBEATable"! They educate, inform, network, and make a presence felt at all levels of government. Whether we know it or not, we all owe BEAT a big thank you.
I have always appreciated and been concerned about our natural environment. I recycle, I conserve, I "carry in / carry out", but I became an "accidental activist" when Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co proposed adding a new natural gas pipeline to the existing 2 lines, which are less than 300 feet from my house! BEAT has been incredibly helpful and supportive in so many ways - getting the word out, educating about the dangers, exploring effective strategies, doing research, applying political pressure (just to name a few). I just can't express how valuable working with BEAT on this issue has been. THANK YOU!
Beat is one of, if not the only genuinely concerned organization in Western Massachusetts. Their concern for the environment is a comfort in knowing there are still organizations out there who are protecting the environment for our future and our children's future. I am proud of their efforts and dedication in educating the public on the impact of fracked gas. Their knowledge is disarming.